Originally Performed ByPhish
Appears On
Phish Debut2015-07-21
Last Played2023-08-01
Current Gap17
HistorianPhillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
Last Update2019-07-01


Taken at face value, “Shade” is one the most transparent odes to love ever to originate from the songwriting combo of Anastasio/Marshall, one that reflects on the darkness of absence, and light of reuniting love. “Shade” emerged from one of Trey and Tom’s famous marathon writing sessions – this one on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in February, 2015 – that also produced “Blaze On,” “No Men In No Man’s Land” and “Mercury.”

The opening chords of “Shade” are eerily reminiscent of the Garcia/Hunter masterpiece “Standing on the Moon,” though the resemblance to that or any other great song ends there. The first half of “Shade” sees Trey singing against a soft cushion of guitar, piano and bass, with Fishman sitting out. Summer 2015 saw Trey often struggling with vocals; with “Shade” this manifested in something of a whiney delivery that either made the song’s hopeful yearning more authentic, or, less tolerable, depending on one’s perspective.

“Shade” first cast a shadow on the summer 2015 tour opener in Bend, OR on 7/21/15, rising from the ashes of “Fuego.” “Shade” was a precious commodity during Phish’s stop on 7/28/15 in sweltering Austin, widely considered the low-point of that tour. “Shade” blocked the “Light” jam on 8/4/15 in Nashville, but that blockage was quickly forgotten, as it was followed by “Mike’s Song” that featured the first “Mike’s” second jam in over fifteen years. 

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