Music/Lyrics: Joe Walsh
Vocals: Page (lead), Trey (backing)
Original Artist: The James Gang
Original Album: Thirds (1970)
Historian: Eric Wyman (ericwyman)
Last Update: 2016-03-07
"Walk Away" – The James Gang
A classic Joe Walsh rocker from his time with The James Gang, “Walk Away” is one of a handful of songs that highlights everything that is great about Joe Walsh.
“Walk Away” was relatively prominent in Phish shows during 1988-1990. Rather than dropping out completely like some rarities, it then went halfway, receding into key improvisational moments, including several strong “Tweezer” jams (2/20/93, 4/30/93, and 7/22/93), while the version offered on 8/14/93 was notable for turn-on-a-dime segues from "Sparks" and into “Antelope.” The famed 5/7/94 Bomb Factory gig saw “Walk Away” stretched beyond recognition, emerging from a loose take on “Sweet Emotion,” dissolving into an extended Type-II jam led by Page, before resolving in an instrumental take on The Breeders’ “Cannonball.”
"Walk Away" – Phish, 4/29/90, Woodbury, CT
The song itself then walked away, gone for the 367 shows from 5/7/94 to 10/29/98. Upon its return it was only played sporadically up until Phish’s first hiatus, though when it did appear it made a splash in memorable shows including 7/25/99 Deer Creek (segue out of “Birds of a Feather”), 6/14/00 Fukuoka, Japan (officially released as LivePhish 04), and 6/29/00 Garden State Arts Center (segue out of “Cities”).
When “Walk Away” returned after Phish’s extended hiatus in 2009, the song quickly morphed a regular first set bell-ringer. Beginning on 6/17/10 Hartford, CT, Trey and Page began ramping up their solos, leaving several notable versions with a distinctive, albeit brief, jam segment. Instead of a simple second set closer, the new energy and drift from the norm left “Walk Away” as a show highlight. Other standout versions include 1/1/11 Madison Square Garden, and 8/5/11 The Gorge. Whether the improvisational promise of “Walk Away” is ever fulfilled remains an open question, though, as its final appearance to date was on 10/29/13 in Reading, PA.