Whole Lotta Love

Originally Performed ByLed Zeppelin
Original Album Led Zeppelin II (1969)
Phish Debut1990-06-09
Last Played2010-10-30
Current Gap238
HistorianEllis Godard; Mockingbird Staff


When Phish was ready to take the stage at The Wetlands on 6/9/90, the DJ was still spinning Led Zeppelin. Not wanting to delay but ready to jump on that groove, Phish improvised a jam into the second set. Had they sung the lyrics (which Robert Plant took from Willie Dixon’s “You Need Love”), it might have been a message to the DJ: “You need coolin’, baby, I’m not foolin’. I'm gonna send you back to schoolin’.” 

Instead, it was a fun if quirky transition from the setbreak into the real set-opener, “Harry Hood.” That a DJ was spinning it was fitting: The original featured early electronica additions, including sound shifting, sirens, and Jimmy Page and Eddie Kramer on “random knob twisting.” It also featured a theremin in the middle, something Phish wouldn’t use for more than six years.

Phish has jammed on the song on several other occasions, including passages during Fish’s offering of “Love You” on 2/19/91, 2/22/91 and 3/1/91. Following that flurry of performances in the winter of '91, "Whole Lotta Love" disappeared from the Phish stage for nearly twenty years. Then, in the weeks leading up to the 2010 Halloween show, rumors swirled (as they always do) as to which album Phish would choose to don as their "musical costume." As is the case most years, Led Zeppelin figured prominently in many of those rumors. Rarely missing a chance to toy with their audience, on 10/30/10 "Whole Lotta Love" came storming out of "Chalk Dust Torture." Though they did not play the entire song, Trey did sing one verse of the lyrics. Phish would go on to tease "Whole Lotta Love" throughout the show and would also play snippets of four other Zeppelin songs during the second set "Tweezer" (they would also close the second set with "Good Times Bad Times"). Alas, Zeppelin would not be the costume that year, as they opted for Little Feat's Waiting for Columbus.

"Chalk Dust" -> "Whole Lotta Love" > "Torture" 10/30/10 Atlantic City, NJ

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