Mountains in the Mist

Originally Performed ByTrey Anastasio
Appears On
Also Known AsBake and Boil, Mist
Music/LyricsAnastasio, Marshall
VocalsTrey (lead), All (backing)
Phish Debut1999-07-03
Last Played2024-04-20
Current Gap6
HistorianElayne Best (jugglerswithfire), Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
Last Update2024-06-24


This mellow ballad with strong harmonies and a guitar line similar to “Lifeboy” reminds some fans of the Grateful Dead, in particular a “slow Jerry tune.” Its most impressive facet is Tom Marshall’s lyrics, which concern in some way the tug-of-war between the conscious and the unconscious. “Mountains in the Mist” began life in the solo acoustic sets of Trey’s spring 1999 solo tour, making its debut on 5/3/99 in Ann Arbor, MI. Trey initially called it “Bake and Boil” but soon changed it to “Mountains in the Mist,” making it one of two “Mist” songs debuted on that tour, along with “Kissed by Mist.” 

"Mountains in the Mist" – 11/1/09, Indio, CA

“Mountains in the Mist” then migrated to the Phish repertoire, debuting in the second set of 7/3/99 in Atlanta as a breather between “The Moma Dance” and “Antelope.” Notable early versions include 7/10/99 (Live Phish 08), 1/4/03 Hampton when it unexpectedly occupied the coveted slot between “Mike’s Song” and “Weekapaug Groove,” and 8/3/03 IT, emerging from a segue born of “Ghost.” A unique version of the song was offered at Trey’s performance on 8/3/01 during the encore of TAB’s performance at Jones Beach, a duet with Trey on acoustic guitar and Mike on bass.

While it did not make the final cut of Farmhouse, it did show up as a bonus track on the Japanese edition of the album, with its title shortened to “Mist.” (On Live Phish 08, it is credited with the full title.) This version is, believe it or not, even slower than the concert versions, though the studio setting provides an intimacy that is well suited to the song. Oddly, the studio version is missing the song’s final verse, which sums up the whole consciousness theme: “Woven in the fairy tales / We fabricate each day / Are little golden strands of truth / That glimmer in the light / The colorful material / You hold a certain way / Can keep us from the cold / And help to get us through the night.”

On 7/6/08 at Rothbury, the lyric "till I'm released awaken beasts, I'm on the road again" seemed quite appropriate as Trey had bantered about his December 2006 arrest before launching into the song. Trey also played "Mountains in the Mist" at the 8/2/08 Newport Folk Festival.

"Mountains in the Mist" – 7/30/14, Portsmouth, VA

It seemed that the time could have been right for this song to reemerge at the 6/9/09 Asheville show as the Blue Ridge Mountains correlate nicely with the lyrics, but alas that was not in the master plan. Phish chose to perform this during the special daytime acoustic set at Festival 8 on 11/1/09. The version was played well, and although the audience had been reluctantly asked  to sit down and enjoy the music, many fans arose to their feet to feel the flow of this beautiful tune once again.

Phish certainly could not deny the mountain inspiration on 8/9/10. As a great version of "Piper" ended, the majestic mountains surrounding Telluride Town Park provided the perfect atmosphere to finally see "Mountains in the Mist" performed in an appropriate geographical setting. A rare treat in the modern Phish era, be sure to check out the offering of the song from 7/30/14 Portsmouth, VA, the first Phish performance in 141 shows. After the second performance in 2014 on 10/28/14 in San Francisco, CA, there would be another gap of 81 shows, before returning three years later on 7/18/17 in Dayton, OH, one of the five shows leading up to the Baker’s Dozen run. Phish have played it once in both 2018 on 10/19/18 in Hampton, VA and 2019 on 8/31/19 at Dick’s. Trey continues to play it as part of his solo acoustic tours just as he had in 1999 where it debuted.

"Mountains in the Mist" – 10/19/18, Hampton, VA Video by Phish


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