Phish has always been known to adopt covers into their live repertoire and make them their own. Songs like Talking Heads‘ “Crosseyed and Painless” and the Velvet Underground‘s “Rock and Roll”, and TV On The Radio‘s “Golden Age” are staples in the live Phish setting, frequently serving as a springboard for impressive improvisation.
Stevie Wonder‘s “Boogie On Reggae Woman” is one such cover that has also been adopted by the band. Phish played the tune a handful of times in the late ’80s while still cutting their teeth at small local venues, but “Boogie On” entered the rotation in earnest with a bang on 12/7/97. It has been played regularly since, often acting as a vehicle for some memorable jams (check out the 6/7/12 version for a personal favorite).
Today’s date is a significant one in the history of Phish “Boogies,” as the band has twice opened second sets with standout, improv-heavy versions of the song on September 18th. First, on 9/18/99 in Chula Vista, California, the band laid down a nearly 22-minute monster of a jam to kick off the night’s second frame, featuring excellent guitar work by Trey Anastasio as well as red-hot keyboard and bass breakdown solos.
Phish – “Boogie On Reggae Woman” [Stevie Wonder cover] – 9/18/99
Exactly one year later, on 9/18/00 at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, the band once again tore into “Boogie On” to kick off a rare four-song second set. While this version is more compact than its ’99 counterpart, it most definitely packs a punch. The jam moves through bluesy themes, funky grooves, and a spacey outro jam before bleeding into a fiery “Twist”. You can listen to the entire set here.
Phish – “Boogie On Reggae Woman” [Stevie Wonder cover] – 9/18/00
[Video: Joshua Timmermans]
[Originally published 9/18/17]