Twenty-nine years ago today, Phish played its first of two shows as part of the 1994 edition of Laguna Seca Daze festival in Monterey, CA. Unlike the band’s previous appearance at the inaugural edition of the Bill Graham-produced event in 1993, Phish’s 1994 booking allowed the quartet a full, two-set performance on two days of the festival, which also included scheduled sets from Sausage (the short-lived Primus offshoot), Gin Blossoms, Freddy Jones Band, and more. Single-day tickets went for a measly $30 a head–different times, amirite?
While the musical high point of Phish’s performance on the event’s second day (May 28th) was an incredible mid-second set rendition of “Reba”, the most significant highlight of the weekend came at the end of the second set when the band welcomed bassist Les Claypool of Primus/Sausage to help augment a set-closing rendition of signature composition, “You Enjoy Myself”.
Rather than closing out the 23-minute “YEM” with the customary vocal jam, the band opted to let Mike Gordon and Les Claypool loose for a dueling bass jam featuring some added Electrolux texture by vacuum virtuoso and Phish drummer Jon Fishman. The collaboration ended with “a country ho-down goodbye,” as Trey Anastasio referred to it, featuring call-and-response licks and some “Dueling Banjos” teases. With the added bass power of Claypool, Phish pushed this”YEM” into raucous, uncharted territory, making for an unusual and memorable rendition.
Of note, this was also the first known collaboration between Claypool and guitarist Trey Anastasio. Claypool would go on to join Phish on stage on various occasions in the ensuing years. Eventually, he’d go on to link up with Trey and drummer Stewart Copeland (The Police) to form Oysterhead in 2000.
Listen to a full audio recording of Phish’s 5/24/94 performance at Laguna Seca Daze festival as well as single-song videos of “Reba” and “You Enjoy Myself” with Les Claypool below.
Phish – 5/24/94 – Full Audio
Phish w/ Les Claypool – “You Enjoy Myself” – 5/28/94
[Uploaded by mkcool18]
Phish – “Reba” – 5/28/94
[Uploaded by mkcool18]
Setlist: Phish | Laguna Seca Raceway | Monterey, CA | 5/28/94
Set One: Rift > Sample in a Jar, Foam, Bouncing Around the Room, Stash, The Horse > Silent in the Morning > The Sloth, Maze, Cavern
Set Two: Axilla (Part II) > It’s Ice > Tweezer > Lifeboy > Reba, Fee > Llama, You Enjoy Myself
Encore: Poor Heart
 No whistling.
 Trey sang verses through megaphone.
 Les Claypool on bass and Fish on vacuum; no vocal jam.
This performance was part of the Laguna Seca Daze Festival that also included Sausage, Gin Blossoms and Freddy Jones Band. Trey teased Sailor’s Hornpipe in Tweezer. Reba did not have the whistling ending. Trey sang the verses of Fee through a megaphone. YEM featured Les Claypool playing on a second bass guitar and Fish on vacuum, and included a band-accompanied bass duel between Mike and Les and a Gimme Some Lovin’ tease from Page, Dueling Banjos teases in the jam segment, and a Yankee Doodle tease. YEM ended without a vocal jam. Dueling Banjos was also teased before and during Poor Heart.
[Originally published 4/28/19]