Music/Lyrics: Anastasio, Marshall
Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)
Original Artist: Trey Anastasio
Albums: TAB at the TAB
Historian: Erik Swain
This loose reggae song with three-part singing and inscrutable lyrics (“Is it a wind? Or a bug? It’s a Windora Bug!”) debuted on Trey’s May 1999 solo tour and immediately enticed fans with its quirkiness. After over a year of requests and a few soundcheck appearances, Phish broke it out on 9/8/00 in Albany, NY. Until then, only the lucky few who on 6/24/99 attended “The Fifth Ball” (a.k.a. “Carreystock,” a private party at Trey’s barn) had ever seen Phish perform this song.
Unlike the rendition by the guitar-bass-drums trio on the 1999 Trey tours, Phish’s version departs from two-chord reggae, thanks mainly to Page. On 9/15/00 in Hershey, PA, for example, Page provided clavinet and synthesizer fills to give the song extra texture, and led a brief spacey jam toward the song’s end. In addition, Fishman produced some drum flourishes not heard in the 1999 Trey tour versions.
Page’s singing also differentiates Phish’s version from the one performed by Trey’s band. With Trey’s side band, “Windora Bug” features bassist Tony Markellis chanting the main “Is it a wind?” lines while Trey attempts some form of reggae toasting (“We’ve got the rules down now...”) and drummer Russ Lawton sings something barely intelligible behind Trey’s part. For the Phish performances, Mike took Tony’s part, which is perfect for a low voice, and Page took Russ’s part, but his singing was clear and prominent, producing a call-and-response effect with Trey. Unfortunately, after the two above-mentioned outings, Phish shelved “Windora Bug” and to date has not performed it again, although it still played on occasion by Trey’s solo band (try 10/19/08 or 2/27/10).
TAB, "Windora Bug" – 2/27/10, Atlanta, GA
As Trey explained on 5/8/99, this is one of two “Bug” songs written around the same time. The other, just plain “Bug,” also entered rotation on his 1999 solo tour. That more conventional song made it into the Phish rotation immediately, and eventually on to Farmhouse. “Windora Bug,” by contrast, can only be heard in studio form on the Trey-Tom demo album Trampled by Lambs and Pecked by the Dove.