Phish‘s touring rig has always been a living, breathing entity that changes and evolves over time. From changing effects pedals and amplifiers to incorporating household items like Jon Fishman‘s Electrolux vacuum cleaner and Mike Gordon‘s power drill, maintaining a fun and fresh equipment setup is part of the Phish from Vermont’s playful character.
Five years ago today, at Merriweather Post Pavillion in Columbia, MD, Fishman broke out a new toy during “Scent of a Mule” that would go on to become a staple of their live performances to this day—the Marimba Lumina. You can watch pro-shot video of the song below (Marimba Lumina solo starts around 6:00):
Created by synthesizer pioneer Don Buchla, the Marimba Lumina is a MIDI controller that lets musicians play electronically produced sounds on a control surface based on the layout of a marimba. The addition of the instrument to Fish’s rig has allowed him to add melody and texture to the band’s performances, and it has been featured prominently in virtually every “Scent of a Mule” since, as well as in various Type II improvisations.
Trey Anastasio has also taken a liking to the instrument. No strangers to switching instruments during their live shows, Phish has incorporated the Marimba Lumina heavily into their “rotation” jams, particularly on their current summer tour–the guitarist has excitedly grabbed the marimba mallets in roughly half of the band’s 2016 shows, including each of the last three. Check out a clip of the band’s instrument-switching jam during “You Enjoy Myself” a 2016 show in Hartford below, featuring Mike on keys, Page on bass, and Trey rocking out on the Marimba Lumina:
[Video: Andrew O’Brien]