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Performances Song History Lyrics Jamming Chart

Weekapaug Groove

Music/Lyrics: Anastasio/Fishman/McConnell/Gordon

Vocals: Mike, Page, Trey

Albums: Slip Stitch and Pass, Hampton Comes Alive, New Year's Eve 1995 - Live at Madison Square Garden, Live in Brooklyn, Colorado '88, Vegas 96, At the Roxy, Live Phish 06, Live Phish 07, Live Phish 10, Live Phish 12, Live Phish 16, Live Phish 19, Live in Vegas, Walnut Creek, Still Phishin', Hampton/Winston-Salem '97, Alpine Valley, Live in Brooklyn DVD, The Clifford Ball, Niagara Falls, Chicago '94, Live Phish Downloads 6-20-1995, Amsterdam

Debut: 1988-07-23

Historian: Charlie Dirksen

Last Update: 2015-10-02

"Weekapaug Groove" takes its name from the town of Weekapaug, located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in southwestern Rhode Island. According to Mike, the song’s lyrics (“Trying to make a woman that you move, sharing in a Weekapaug Groove”) are meaningless. As Mike said in a 9/9/97 interview with Parke Puterbaugh: 

“So we came back to Boston [from Weekapaug, after playing a gig there at a yacht club], and I guess we were in the van or the Voyager we used to drive in, and that song “Oh What a Night” came on the radio. You know that one? That awful Four Seasons song? We just constantly listened to songs and changed around the words as to what they might sound like. I always had a particularly hard time hearing lyrics anyway, so I always would sing a song on the radio, sing along with the wrong words. So the bridge of that song goes ‘Oh I-I-I trying to something,’ but I was singing it, ‘Oh I-I-I trying to make a woman that you move,’ which means nothing, 'sharing in a Weekapaug groove.’ So we all just started singing that, as complete nonsense: ‘trying to make a woman that you move.’ It never occurred to any of us that it had any meaning, ever. There was a period of time that we were singing it, and I used to just yell out the lyrics, between singing them I would just yell them out as if I was preaching them, just to sort of make it more ironic that they have no meaning.”

More recently, on stage on 8/10/04 at Great Woods after having played "Weekapaug Groove," Trey told a similar tale about the genesis of the song, providing more details in an effort to "demystify" it, as he put it. Trey explained that after having played at a beach party in Weekapaug at their friend Sean English's house "probably" in 1987, the four of them were driving home in Fish's Plymouth Voyager ("which he gave away"), and the song that goes "Oh I, had a funny when she walked in [the room]" came on the radio. (The song is Frankie Valli's "Oh What A Night." Trey says "into" instead of "the room.") Trey then said that they started singing "Oh I, trying to make a woman match your move." Trey then adds: "So that – Weekapaug Groove? We didn't actually write that. Frankie Valli did. [pause] So now you know." If you listen closely to the LivePhish soundboard, you can hear Fish say "I forgot about that" during the pause before Trey says "So now you know."

The main riff of "Weekapaug Groove" was born out of the first of three Oh Kee Pa Ceremonies, at which Phish jammed for 11 hours in Trey’s riverside bungalow in Plainfield, Vermont (from 2 p.m. until 1 a.m.). Apparently, even though a neighbor had made some Hungarian mushroom soup for them, they never showed up to eat it because of this 11-hour jam. At the time, the original kernel of the song was much slower than “Weekapaug” ended up being in performance. Of course today "Weekapaug" is sometimes – though not always – slower than it typically was during the 1990s. Compare, for example, 12/30/93 with 6/13/00 with 6/25/04 with 11/18/09 with 6/29/10. There is even a version after the first two minutes or so of which Trey stops playing, and gets Fish and the band to effectively start the song over, but much slower (11/24/09). 

Since its beginning in July 1988, "Weekapaug" has almost always followed "Mike's Song" and "I Am Hydrogen" in a particular set. This trio of songs – known collectively as "Mike's Groove" – continues to be a fan favorite, particularly when "I Am Hydrogen" is dropped in favor of other, unique songs. See, for example, 8/1/98, where "Weekapaug" follows "Esther," or 10/31/98 (following "Frankie Says"), 6/2/09 (following "Wolfman's Brother") or 6/29/10 (following "I Am the Walrus"). Although there have been many times when "Weekapaug" has not immediately followed "Mike's Song" and "I Am Hydrogen," there are only two shows to date where "Weekapaug" was performed during a show without "Mike's Song" (2/22/03 and 12/2/03). In any event, when "Weekapaug" has appeared in a set or show with "Mike's Song," it has always followed the "Mike's Song" somewhere in the set or during the show. See, for example 12/31/95, when "Mike's Song" closed the second set, but "Weekapaug" opened the third set after "Auld Lang Syne."

“Weekapaug Groove,” akin to other remarkably improvisational Phish songs, has sandwiched or teased other songs on numerous occasions, or has otherwise deviated from the norm. For example, check out these versions: 11/16/90 (Andy Griffith theme); 7/23/91 (with the Giant Country Horns); 11/8/91 ("Slice of Pizza and a Bucket of Lard!"); 12/31/91 (“Lion Sleeps Tonight”); 4/21/92 (“Happy Birthday”); 11/19/92 (vocal jam); 11/23/92 (reggae and “Big Ball” jams); 2/20/93 (“Have Mercy” and “Rock and Roll All Nite”); 3/19/93 (vocal jam ending); 3/22/93 ("Sundown" tease from Mike); 3/25/93 (Beatles “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and Anastasio/Popper’s “Don’t Get Me Wrong”); 3/30/93 (“Psycho Killer”); 4/29/93 ("Makisupa Policeman" and Bonanza theme tease); 5/8/93 (“Amazing Grace” jam); 8/16/93 (Santana’s “Gypsy Queen,” Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall,” Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish,” and “Possum”); 7/2/94 (“Antelope” and “2001”); 12/28/94 (“Little Drummer Boy” jam); 10/29/96 (Karl Perazzo on percussion); 11/15/96 (John Popper on harp); 3/1/97 (Slip Stitch and Pass), 8/9/97 (“Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”); 12/13/97 (“Catapult”); 7/10/98 (“On Broadway”); 11/27/98 (“Wipe Out”); 12/31/98 (“1999”); 7/9/99 (“Macarena”); 9/22/99 (“2001”); 12/18/99 (“Buffalo Bill”); 7/21/03 ("Shock the Monkey"); 7/31/03 ("In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"); 12/31/03 ("Jungle Boogie" lyrics and "Auld Lang Syne" and "Divided Sky" teases from Trey).

It is also a tune in which individual band members’ performances have brilliantly shined. For example: 3/1/90 (Trey); 8/17/92 (Mike); 12/29/92 (Trey); 7/24/93 (Trey); 4/29/94 (Mike, Trey); 7/10/94 (Mike); 10/25/94 (Fish); 6/20/95 (Fish); 10/25/95 (Page); 11/25/95 (Page); 11/6/96 
(Trey); 12/28/96 (Page); 8/7/98 (Page); 8/12/98 (Page); 7/21/99 (Mike); 12/30/99 (Fish).

Although collective, transcendent improvisation is common in “Weekapaug Groove,” these are versions that will likely thrill you: 11/2/90 Boulder11/21/91 Somerville Theatre3/20/92 Binghampton4/19/92 Santa Cruz11/28/92 Port Chester12/31/92 Boston2/4/93 Providence3/27/93 The Warfield12/30/93 CCCC6/17/94 Milwaukuee (O.J. show); 10/21/94 Sunrise, FL11/4/94 Syracuse12/31/94 Boston Garden6/25/95 Philly6/30/95 Great Woods11/11/95 Atlanta12/1/95 Hershey12/7/95 Niagara Falls12/16/95 Lake Placid12/31/95 MSG8/13/968/16/96 Clifford Ball10/22/96 MSG12/6/96 Vegas8/9/97 Alpine Valley11/13/97 Vegas11/22/97 Hampton12/2/97 The Spectrum12/31/97 MSG4/3/98 Nassau Coliseum7/17/98 The Gorge10/31/98 Vegas11/27/98 Worcester7/21/03 Deer Creek6/25/04 Alpine Valley8/10/04 Great Woods.

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