To celebrate the release of Fuego, Phish's new studio album, we recently asked self-identifying Phans to dig into the hundreds upon hundreds of songs in the Vermont jam band's playbook and tell us their favorites. We learned that this group aligns themselves with Phish's greatest live epics, their one stab at Top 40 radio and surprisingly, one song that hasn't been heard in nearly 30 years. Click through to see 10 most popular tunes.
Easily the most radio friendly track in the Phish catalog, "Farmhouse" is to the Vermont band what "Touch of Grey" once was to the Grateful Dead: that accessible cut that's universally loved by both diehard and the casual fans. Written and recorded in – what else – a barn, the track's melody borrows so heavily from Bob Marley's "No Woman, No Cry" that frontman Trey Anastasio alludes to the reggae classic with the line "in the farmhouse, things will be all right."
This Lawn Boy epic starts quietly before kicking into cacophonous high gear. There's a reason fans crave this song: "Run Like an Antelope" often finds Phish at their most playful and theatrical, and the "happen to have any spliff, man?" line still gets roars from audiences that surely do. The song's tension-and-release is unrelenting but eventually arrives at the titular mantra, "Set the gearshift for the high gear of your soul. You’ve got to run like an antelope, out of control."
One of only two songs in this poll that wasn't featured on either a studio album or major label live LP, "The Lizards" is also the lone representative from Anastasio's concept album, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday. Although much of Phish's catalog and live identity is informed by the Grateful Dead, "The Lizards" is one of those tracks where the prog-rock influence of King Crimson and early Genesis successfully seeped into the band's music, right down to its extraordinary outro.
Another epic from Phish's Junta early years, the "Bohemian Rhapsody"-esque "Fluffhead" is comprised of six, tightly executed parts: "Fluff's Travels," "The Chase," "Who Do? We Do," "Clod," "Bundle of Joy" and "Arrival." While jamming is Phish's expertise, the difficult arrangements on "Fluffhead" don't allow much room to maneuver, so performances of this track are usually pretty uniform. "Fluffhead" is so challenging that the band actually avoided it for a stretch. Thankfully, it has remained a concert regular for the past decade.
A fan favorite sing-along and the highlight of any concert where it's played, this reggae-flavored track finds Phish building and building in waves that slowly ascend over the course of its usual 15-minute runtime. Eventually, it climaxes with a "You could feel good about Hood" chant, referring to a cartoon spokesperson for the Hood Dairy Company. "Harry Hood" is also often the canvas in which Chris Kuroda, the band's longtime light board operator and so-called fifth member, does his best work, using the song's crescendos to deliver a full-on visual assault.
In his list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, Fricke wrote that Trey Anastasio's playing style features "Frank Zappa's impish inclination toward noise." "Reba," then, is Phish at their most Zappa. It's easy to imagine the Mothers of Invention singing the comical, tongue-in-cheek lyrics that open the song, which then transforms into Phish's version of Zappa's "RDNZL," a bouncy composition followed by what is routinely one of the most mind-blowing guitar solos in the Anastasio arsenal. After the solo peaks, phans are treated to some cool-down whistling before "Reba" returns to its addictive chorus.
Even though the lyrics are absolutely ridiculous ("Won't you step into the freezer, tease her with a tweezer"), audiences love this cut because each performance is a journey into the unknown: "Tweezer" can last 10 minutes or it can consume an entire set (see 5/7/94, dubbed "Tweezerfest"); it can be a standalone song or it can segue into just about anything. "Tweezer" has always been unpredictable and that's why it remains the centerpiece and highlight of any Phish show it invades. Added bonus: A performance of "Tweezer Reprise" is always waiting in the wings.
Often deemed Phish's masterpiece, this is another track that dates back to Trey Anastasio's days as a music student at Goddard College. Light on lyrics – an a caPpella "Divided sky, the wind blows high" is all the vocal work necessary for this 15-minute track – "Divided Sky" boasts some of the most intricate and melodic sections in the entire Phishography. While a studio version appears on 1989's Junta, it's in the live setting that "Divided Sky" really flourishes, with Anastasio taking his guitar solo to skyscraping levels.
The most played Phish song ever – Phish.net counts 563 shows – "You Enjoy Myself" is a favorite for both phans and Phish themselves. Again, the lyrics are simple and ridiculous – "Boy! Man! God! Shit! Wash Uffizi drive me to Firenze" – but they're countered by the complexity of the arrangements. While "Y.E.M." was recorded in the studio for 1989's Junta, the A Live One rendition has become the iconic and perhaps definitive version of this track. "You Enjoy Myself" was also the lone Phish song to land on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs.
We think this is Phish phans phucking with us. In Phish's nearly three-decade history, "Lushington" has only been played eight times, and it's been shelved since 1987. While elements of the song ended up in "Fluffhead," "Lushington" is the great white whale of Phish cuts, and given the fact it won this poll thanks to some major league ballot stuffing, it’s the track fans are most clamoring to hear live. With any luck, Trey and the boys see the results of the Readers' Poll, see how in demand the song is and bust it out on their coming tour. We wouldn't hold our breaths, though.