Phish doesn’t often perform at festivals, though the group has been known to make an exception for specific occasions. Outside of their own Phish festivals, the group has headlined events like Austin City Limits and LOCKN’ Festival, though only two have hosted them on multiple occasions, Bonnaroo and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Interestingly, the two Jazz Fest performances came exactly 18 years apart, on April 26th, 1996, and again on April 26th, 2014. The shows celebrate their anniversaries today, with the first performance in 1996 offering a monstrous one-set showing from the Burlington band. The show featured a surprise sit-in in from Michael Ray, the trumpet player for Sun Ra, as well as an a cappella rendition of the first verses of “Wolfman’s Brother” that emerged from a “YEM” vocal jam.
Listen to that full show below and check out its setlist below.
Setlist: Phish | Jazz Fest | New Orleans, LA | 4/26/96
Set 1: Ya Mar, AC/DC Bag > Sparkle > Stash, Cars Trucks Buses, You Enjoy Myself -> Wolfman’s Brother > Scent of a Mule > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Harry Hood > Sample in a Jar, A Day in the Life > David Bowie
Encore: Hello My Baby, Cavern
 Michael Ray on trumpet. |  First two verses performed a cappella.
Notes: This single-set performance was part of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Ya Mar included a When the Saints Go Marching In tease. Cars Trucks Buses featured Michael Ray on trumpet. The first two verses of Wolfman’s Brother were performed a cappella as they came out of the YEM vocal jam. David Bowie included a strong Caravan jam. Trey teased The Rover in Cavern. This show was made available as an archival release on LivePhish.com with all proceeds going to Tipitina’s Foundation and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
18 years later, the band came back to the Fairgrounds on April 26th, 2014, returning with a triumphant two-set performance. Fans will recall the band’s potent showing, complete with a big-time “Down With Disease” jam and a NOLA-inspired “Party Time” that kept things rocking. Phish drew quite the crowd for their second-ever Jazz Fest show, and you can relive a good chunk of the show with this partial video.
We’ll close out this article with the song that closed out the band’s final Jazz Fest show, the encore of “Julius.” Dig it:
Setlist: Phish | Jazz Fest | New Orleans, LA | 4/26/2014
Set 1: Kill Devil Falls, The Moma Dance > Rift, Wolfman’s Brother, Lawn Boy, Party Time, Ocelot, Funky Bitch, 46 Days, The Line > Character Zero
Set 2: Down with Disease > Birds of a Feather > Twist > Sparkle > Free > Light, Sand, Harry Hood > Cavern, Grind
Notes: This show was part of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and took place at the Acura Stage. Disease was unfinished. Twist contained teases of Birds and Streets of Cairo.
[Originally published 4/26/2016]