Light Up Or Leave Me Alone

Originally Performed ByTraffic
Original AlbumThe Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys (1971)
Appears On
Music/LyricsJames Capaldi
VocalsPage (lead), Mike, Trey (backing)
Phish Debut1986-12-06
Last Played2012-07-06
Current Gap459
HistorianPhillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
Last Update2016-02-28


This groovy Traffic song was a cover in Phish’s early repertoire for a little over two years. After its first performance on 12/6/86, it continued to delight fans until its seemingly final performance on 3/1/89. Many thought it was gone for good, and with the funk renaissance of ‘97 and ‘98, it’s a wonder that the band didn’t revisit this song. Yet after an 1093 show absence, Phish lit up Big Cypress on 12/30/99 with an especially fiery version of the groove-rock classic.

Traffic, “Light Up or Leave Me Alone” – 1972, Santa Barbara, CA

“Light Up” then found a temporary home in the repertoire of Page’s side project, Vida Blue, including a prominent performance on 12/31/01 with Trey and Mike both sitting in on Languedoc guitars. Mike also sat in with Vida Blue for this tune on 7/13/02 in Hollywood, CA, again on guitar. Page also performed the classic on 1/26/08 in Denver at the "Big Easy Blowout," a Mardi Gras celebration to benefit the New Orleans Musicians' Clinic and the Tipitina's Foundation that also included Russell Batiste, Papa Mali, Reed Mathis and Big Chief Monk Boudreaux.

Big Easy Blowout, "Light Up or Leave Me Alone" – 1/26/08, Denver, CO

Jumping ahead a full decade from Big Cypress – including a hiatus, a break-up, and 181 shows – "Light Up" made a triumphant return on 7/1/10 in Raleigh, the last in a series of bust-outs that day that also included "Time Loves a Hero" and "Have Mercy." Instead of going back to mothballs for another decade, "Light Up" stuck around in light rotation with a handful of appearances including 8/9/10 in Telluride, 6/14/11 in Alpharetta, GA, and its last performance to date on 7/6/12 at SPAC.

Phish, "Light Up or Leave Me Alone" – 10/29/10, Atlantic City, NJ

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