|Originally Performed By||Phish|
|Also Known As||YEM|
|Recommended Versions||1989-05-26, 1991-11-16, 1993-05-05, 1994-06-18, 1995-11-18, 1995-12-09, 1995-12-31, 1996-12-29, 1997-11-28, 1998-11-29, 1999-10-10|
Written by Trey in the summer of 1985 while performing street music with Fish in Europe, “You Enjoy Myself” (commonly called “YEM”) is the most played and one of the most beloved songs in Phish’s catalog. The Phish phenomenon is exemplified by "YEM's" history and nature, which is as compositionally intricate as it is lyrically goofy. Indeed, Trey was quoted in the New York Post on January 1, 1999, as saying that "YEM" "sums up our first five years.”
Fans have speculated about "YEM's" mysterious lyrics since the song’s debut, hence the often-heard query, “What are they saying in 'You Enjoy Myself'?” (“WATSIYEM”) "YEM's" lyrics appear to be “Boy. Man. God. Shit. Wash Uffizi Drive Me to Firenze.” The latter lyric allegedly derived from an incident involving Trey, Fish, and a Firenze cab driver in the Summer of 1985, when Trey and Fish were vacationing in Florence, Italy. Jurgen, a German guy whom Trey and Fish had met on the street when they were in Italy, apparently remarked to them, “When I’m with you, you enjoy myself!” The 2/3/93 Portland and 3/2/93 New Orleans versions of "YEM," however, feature “Water your beehive in a team I’m a sent you” lyrics in place of “Wash Uffizi drive me to Firenze.” These hilarious lyrics were in the response that Mike gave to the “What are you saying in 'YEM'?” question in the Döniac Schvice published only a few months before these shows. These versions of "YEM" are the only versions to date that involve a substantial lyrical deviation, even though Mike, in Schvices during the 1990s, suggested that in “YEM” they sing: “Yes, I’ll play, but no I won’t raise”; “Washer/Dryer/Freezer/Fencing”; “Wanton in a key, I live, and me for horse rent”; “Won’t you please-e-curve me from valensi”; “Wash, you face, and drive me to Valencia”; “Washington fences, please, says me”; “Watchusett fiji is sun-hived to floor antsy”; and, of course, “Wasohbf woeh ejwro jeeef je ei Fndsbid.” Some fans swear, though, that they have heard “Wash Your Feet They Drive Me to A Frenzy” on many a night."You Enjoy Myself" – 5/20/87, Shelburne, VT (Part 1) "You Enjoy Myself" – 5/20/87, Shelburne, VT (Part 2)
“YEM” is usually comprised of five segments or sections: an opening, composed section; a section featuring the song’s only lyrics, before Page drives the jam while Trey and Mike bounce on trampolines; a jam segment; a bass and drums segment; and a vocal jam.
OPENING SEGMENT: The opening, pre-lyrics segment, before 6:11 on the 12/7/94 A Live One (“ALO”; all timings below refer to this "YEM") version, though composed, has nevertheless evolved over the years. The first few minutes are quite complex to play, and "YEM" has had to be re-started on several occasions, including at Hampton on both 1/3/03 and 3/6/09 (although the latter may have been intentional). The earliest versions of “YEM” (especially 2/3/86 Hunt’s, which features a violinist), and even the ALO version, lack the enchanting and spacey improvisation found within the first few minutes of many other versions of the song (e.g., compare 1:19-2:52 on the ALO version with the opening of the 4/22/93 Cleveland "YEM," which includes “The Vibration of Life”). Since 1988, "YEM’s" opening segment has also regularly contained a brief solo from Mike (see, for example, 3:35 on the ALO "YEM"). “Jerusalem City of Gold” has also, like “The Vibration of Life,” been featured in YEM’s opening segment, as in the 7/16/93 Philadelphia and 6/30/94 Richmond versions of "YEM." Remarkable opening segments include 12/28/92 Palace, 2/7/93 Lisner Auditorium, 3/28/93 Arcata (“The Pez Song”), 6/18/94 UIC Pavilion, 11/23/94 St. Louis, 6/19/95 Deer Creek, 2/26/97 Stuttgart, and 11/14/98 Cincinnati. The longest opening segment (over eleven minutes) of “YEM” was performed on 11/2/98. Other exceptionally long opening segments include 7/16/93 and 7/26/98, which were both over ten minutes long.
TRAMPS SEGMENT: The transition to "YEM’s" next segment features an often-hideous scream (at 6:08 on ALO). This section of “YEM” (6:11-9:49 on ALO) features the song’s only lyrics, and then a funky, usually Page-driven jam, while Trey and Mike bounce on trampolines. Page has been known to explore and rage (as well as tease Mission Impossible; see, e.g., 5/7/93) in this section, which is often referred to as the “tramps segment” because of the trampolines. The tramps have been featured in versions of “YEM” since the 5/20/89 Northfield show, and during the first set of 8/14/04 Coventry, they were given to an audience member (the show having been billed as among Phish’s final shows). The tramps are typically brought out onto the stage to the great amusement of the audience in the opening segment of “YEM” (listen for example at 4:03 on the ALO version). The were usually brought onto the stage by Brad Sands in the 1.0 and 2.0 eras, but others have brought them out in recent years. Page was particularly vigorous on organ in the tramps section in the August 1993 and November 1995 versions of “YEM,” as well as 10/28/91 Telluride, 5/12/92 Canton, 4/12/93 Iowa City, 5/23/94 Portland, 6/29/95 Jones Beach, and many other versions."You Enjoy Myself" – 12/30/94, New York, NY (Part 1) "You Enjoy Myself" – 12/30/94, New York, NY (Part 2)
JAM SEGMENT: Since the 1980s, the jam segment of “YEM” has featured a host of Phish’s various improvisational styles. Any given version from any particular tour will often reflect that tour’s improvisational themes (from jam-rock to porno-funk to spacey-groove), despite the fact that Trey’s soloing in “YEM” often hints at Carlos Santana’s soloing in “Oye Como Va.” For example, the jam segments of pre-1990 versions of “YEM” – like Phish’s music of that period in general – often contain riveting, powerful soloing from Trey, who used to routinely lead the jam segments (as might Jimmy Page or Jimi Hendrix). In recent years this has been less true, in that Trey is more likely to dance around the stage and just accompany the other band members rather than take a lead solo. But some versions of “YEM” over the years have featured Mike leading the jam (e.g., 7/7/99 Charlotte), or of course have involved a more collective improvisational approach, where the jam truly features all band members playing spectacularly well as a unit (e.g., 2/21/97 Florence, 11/9/98 Chicago, 10/10/99 Albany).
On 11/16/91 at the Bayou, Phish played the “Mrs. Pizza Shit” “YEM,” which was the first of what eventually became many unusually improvisational, and funky, versions of the song. Although Trey often leads the jam segment (for example, hear the amazing 6/11/94 Red Rocks “YEM”), there have been many full-band explorations in “YEM” over the decades. While there are too many of such versions to detail here, on 5/5/93 at the Palace in Albany, for example, Phish jammed ferociously with special guests Aquarium Rescue Unit and The Dude of Life. And throughout 1995, versions often exceeded 25 minutes in length, and contained gloriously beautiful improvisation, particularly the 10/24/95 Madison, 10/31/95 Chicago, 11/10/95 Atlanta, 11/18/95 North Charleston (“Brick House” jam), 12/9/95 Albany (inarguably the most beloved “YEM” among fans), and 12/31/95 MSG versions. There is also the version when the band members switched instruments, at the Spectrum on 12/29/96, and then seven months later on 7/9/97 in Lyon, France, Phish played a magnificent “YEM” with help from Béla Fleck and the Flecktones (Victor Wooten on bass, Jeff Coffin on sax, and Futureman on drumitar). Paradigms of Fall 1997 and 1998 funk include the 11/28/97 and 11/29/98 Worcester versions of “YEM,” of course. And do not miss the 10/10/99 Albany “YEM,” what with its two very different and excellent jam segments. More recently on 11/2/14 in Las Vegas, Phish mightily raged as a cohesive whole, not only on their customary instruments, but also as a group on Fish’s drumkit, before concluding the longest “YEM” since 2003 with a vocal jam."You Enjoy Myself" – 4/5/98, Providence, RI
BASS AND DRUMS: The “bass and drums” segment, where Mike and Fish funkengroove, regularly followed the jam segment in “YEM” between Summer 1988 and December 1996. It then appeared inconsistently from 1997 through 2004, but in 3.0, it has been common (but see the 6/20/09 Alpine Valley version, which featured an abrupt segue into "NICU" out of the (brief) jam segment of "YEM"). Mike and Fish have usually excelled during the "bass and drums" section, especially on 4/22/90 Colorado Springs; 5/2/92 Chicago; 6/29/95 Wantagh; 11/9/96 Auburn Hills (with Trey on the mini-drum-kit); and 12/6/96 Las Vegas (a must-hear “bass and drums”).
VOCAL JAM: Vocal jams featuring spontaneous vocal improvisation, from the merely strange to the auricularly traumatic, began to close “YEM” on a regular basis in 1989. The idea for this vocal improvisation came from a former voice teacher of the band, who suggested that they infuse their singing with some of the energy created by the playing of their instruments. Certain harmonization-themes have appeared in vocal jams over the years. For example, the “Go” or “Guuhm” theme (12/7/92 Minneapolis, 12/30/92 Springfield, 2/19/93 Atlanta, and 11/23/94 St. Louis); “Hom-Nee” (4/17/92 San Francisco and 10/15/94 Pelham); and guttural, animal noises, reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s “Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict” (5/20/89 North-field, 10/20/89 Burlington, 6/2/90 Greenstreets, 10/6/90 Port Chester, 10/28/91 Telluride, 10/23/94 Gainesville, 11/10/95 Atlanta, etc.). Chris Kuroda has “directed” vocal jams with his brilliant light show in the past, particularly in 1995. You may want to keep a watchful eye on his work as you enjoy the vocal jams you hear at shows in the future.
Teases and quotes of all sorts of famous melodies and jokes have appeared in vocal jams since 1989: 5/21/89 (Godzilla); 5/28/89 (Poop); 3/9/90 (“Sunshine of Your Love”); 4/22/90 (“Another One Bites the Dust”); 8/3/91 (Don’t Put No Gerbils in Your Bottom); 9/27/91 (D’OH!); 10/11/91 (Miss Piggy); 3/25/92 (White Boys Attack); 4/7/92 (Roger, “My Girl”); 4/12/92 ("Blister in the Sun"); 4/25/92 (Sprockets; “Chariots of Fire”); 4/30/92 (“Welcome Christmas” from How the Grinch Stole Christmas); 12/12/92 (Davey Crockett); 3/14/93 (“We Will Rock You”; “Welcome to the Machine”); 8/6/93 (“Cocaine”); 8/9/93 and 5/23/94 (“Psycho Killer”); 8/17/93 (“Ob-La -Di, Ob-La-Da”); 4/11/94 (“My Soul”); 4/23/94 (“Who By Fire”); 5/20/94 (“Low Rider”); 6/18/94 (SPAM); 6/30/94 (Redrum Redrum); 6/16/95 (with Boyd Tinsley on fiddle); 10/31/95 (“fuck you up the ass”); 12/6/96 (“Donuts, I love donuts”); 3/2/97 (Amy Skelton, first fan); 8/12/98 (“Who’s Your Daddy” and “Oooh Chicago”); 12/8/99 (“Tweezer”); etc. Some spectacularly psychotic and crazy vocal jams include 11/4/90, 5/3/91, 6/2/90, 11/30/91, every spring 1992 version, 8/25/93, and 10/15/94."You Enjoy Myself" – 5/23/00, New York, NY (Part 1) "You Enjoy Myself" – 5/23/00, New York, NY (Part 2)
Over the years, “YEM” evolved into one of Phish’s greatest improvisational songs. It's no surprise that it continues to be one of Phish's most popular songs today. Fortunately, it is popular with the band as well. In an interview with Rolling Stone in May 2008, Trey apparently said:
"When Phish broke up, I made some comment about how I’m not gonna go around playing ‘You Enjoy Myself’ for the rest of my life, and it’s so funny because Fish and Mike and Page and I have been talking to each other a lot lately and now — it’s not that I can’t believe that I said that, but it's symbolic of how much I lost my mind or how much I lost my bearings or something. Because at this point in time I would give my left nut to play that song five times in a row every day until I die. I certainly thought about that while I was in jail.”
Although since giving that interview Trey probably has not played "YEM" five times in a row on a single day, he nevertheless performed a wonderful, orchestral arrangement of "YEM" with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall on September 12, 2009. This version is "must hear" if only for the trombones and other brass in the jam segment. This concert was a benefit in memory of Trey's sister, Kristine Anastasio Manning, who had died on April 29, 2009, from neuroendocrine cancer. Trey has also performed “YEM” (and many other Phish songs) with other symphonies in recent years, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra.
There are far too many all-around excellent versions of "YEM" to discuss here. Nevertheless, in addition to those already noted above (especially those from Fall 1995) and, in general, any version that closes a set (for example, 7/31/97 Mountain View), check out these other special versions of “YEM”: 5/26/89 Rutland (Trey goes wild); 7/25/92 Stowe (with Carlos Santana, Karl Perazzo, and Raul Rekow); 12/7/92 Minneapolis; 2/3/93 Portland; 3/14/93 Gunnison (Teasefest); 4/14/93 St. Louis; 5/2/93 Philadelphia; 8/25/93 Seattle; 8/28/93 Greek Theater (several measures of Santana’s “Oye Como Va”); 4/20/94 Lexington (with members of the Dave Matthews Band); 4/23/94 Atlanta (with Colonel Bruce Hampton); 5/4/94 (with the Cosmic Country Horns); 5/28/94 (with Les Claypool); 6/14/94 Des Moines; 6/18/94 Chicago; 7/14/94 Canandaigua; 11/23/94 St. Louis; 6/26/95 Saratoga; 6/29/95 Wantagh; 10/14/95 (with MMW); 11/19/96 Kansas City (“Groove is in the Heart”); 11/28/97 Worcester; 11/29/98 Worcester; 7/15/99 Holmdel; 10/10/99 Albany; 12/2/99 Auburn Hills; 6/09/00 Tokyo; and 7/19/03 Alpine Valley.
For more information on “YEM,” including ratings and reviews of numerous Phish songs, please visit the Phish.Net legacy reviews and FAQ sites, and the “YEM” jam chart. Note also that in discussing versions of “YEM,” some fans use the following terms (initially used by Charlie Dirksen in reviews of “YEM” on Rec.Music.Phish in the 1990s) (the start-times are timings from A Live One):
00:00 - 01:18: Opening instrumental section, with "The Twang" by Fish on the hi-hat at 00:12;
01:19 - 02:51: "Pre-Nirvana" segment, which is sometimes very lengthy (e.g., 2/7/93, 4/22/93, 7/16/93);
02:52 - 03:34: "Nirvana" section (named for the feeling of enlightment, not the band);
03:35 - 04:53: "Mike's little solo-section" and the lead up to the first “Note;’
04:54 - 05:37: the first “Note” that Trey hits, followed by the lead-up to the…
05:38 - 05:54: second “Note” that Trey sustains, and then the lead up to...
05:55 - 06:10: the “Charge,” followed soon by the pre-”Boy” screaming;
06:11 - 08:17: “BOY!” and the Boy-Man-God-Shit-Wash-Uffizi-Drive-Me-To-Firenze (BMGS-WUDMTF) segment, before the…
08:18 - 09:48: “Tramps jam” segment, when Mike and Trey are typically on trampolines and Page solos;
09:49 - 13:32: the Jam segment (Trey typically leads it);
13:33 - 15:09: “Bass and Drums” segment (Mike and Fish rock out; this version contains Trey’s effects blending into its intro); and
15:10 - 20:32: Closing vocal jam segment."You Enjoy Myself" – 7/2/10, Charlotte, NC
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