You Enjoy Myself
Also Known As: YEM
Albums: The White Tape, Junta, A Live One, Stash, New Year's Eve 1995 - Live at Madison Square Garden, Colorado '88, Vegas 96, At the Roxy, Live Phish 07, Live Phish 09, Live Phish 11, Live Phish 14, Live Phish 15, Still Phishin', The String Quartet Tribute to Phish, Chicago '94, Lullaby Versions of Phish V2
Last Update: 2012-12-04
Written by Trey in the summer of 1985 while performing street music with Fish in Europe, “You Enjoy Myself” (also known as “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. Actually, it was Jurgen, a German guy Trey and Fish had met on the street when they were in Italy, who 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" feature “Water your beehive in a team I’m a sent you” lyrics in place of “Wash Uffizi drive me to Firenze.” These hysterical 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. And, as of this writing, these versions of "YEM" are the only versions featuring a substantial lyrical deviation, even though Mike, in Schvices over the years, has suggested that 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 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 comprised of several segments. 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 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, 11/14/98 Cincinnati. As of this writing, the longest opening segment (over eleven minutes) 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.
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 lyrics, as well as a funky, usually Page-driven jam. Page has been known to explore and rage (as well as tease Mission Impossible; see, for example, 5/7/93) in this section, as Trey and Mike bounce – giddy and pensive, respectively – on trampolines (“tramps”). This section of “YEM” is often referred to as the “tramps segment” because of the trampolines. The tramps were featured in versions of “YEM” from the 5/20/89 Northfield show until the first set of 8/14/04 Coventry, when they were given to an audience member. The tramps had been brought out onto the stage to the great amusement of the audience in the opening segment of “YEM” by Brad Sands (listen at 4:03 on the ALO version). 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)
Since the 1980s, the jam segment of “YEM” has featured a plethora 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 leads all of the jam segments (as might Jimmy Page or Jimi Hendrix). Though this trend continues to this day, nevertheless, some versions of “YEM” feature Mike leading the jam (7/7/99 Charlotte), or may involve a more collective improvisational approach – a jam seemingly led by all band members playing as one (2/21/97 Florence, 11/9/98 Chicago, 10/10/99 Albany). For paradigms of Fall 1997 and 1998 funk, check out the 11/28/97 and 11/29/98 Worcester versions of “YEM.”
On 11/16/91 at the Bayou, Phish played the “Mrs. Pizza Shit” “YEM,” which was the first of many funky, unusually improvisational versions. Although Trey still leads the jam segment most of the time (for example, hear the amazing 6/11/94 Red Rocks “YEM”), there have been many full-band explorations in “YEM” since 1991. On 5/5/93 at the Palace in Albany, Phish jammed ferociously with special guests Aquarium Rescue Unit and The Dude of Life. Throughout 1995, versions regularly 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, and 12/31/95 MSG versions. The band members switched instruments during an unusual version at the Spectrum on 12/29/96. And 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).
"You Enjoy Myself" – 4/5/98, Providence, RI
The “bass and drums” segment regularly followed the jam segment in “YEM” between Summer 1988 and December 1996. It then appeared inconsistently until 2009, when it was performed in every version of "YEM" except for 6/20/09 Alpine Valley, 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 of "YEM," particularly 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 spectacular version).
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 2009, 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 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.
There are far too many all-around excellent versions of "YEM" to detail 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.
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"You Enjoy Myself" – 7/2/10, Charlotte, NC