[UPDATE 7/17/24]: After creating a stir among fans when photos of the session surfaced online last week, the first-ever NPR Tiny Desk Concert by Phish has now arrived on YouTube.

The video begins with a stripped-down, clean-tone “Sigma Oasis” as an advisory title screen warns viewers, “This video contains explicit language” (lol). “Thank you so much for having us, everybody, this is so fun,” guitarist/vocalist Trey Anastasio says with a smile following the opening number. “We’re the Phish… from Vermont.”

“Or just ‘The’ for short,” bassist Mike Gordon adds before the band dives into “Evolve”, the title track from its newly released 16th studio album.

“It’s funny,” Trey reflects when the song is finished. “When we started the band, we used to practice in a room exactly this size.” After keyboardist Page McConnell corrects Trey’s estimate (“This size,” he interjects, referencing the even tinier space behind the desk), Jon Fishman adds, “Except we were in a circle, so you guys should probably turn your back to the audience.”

“What we did not have at our tiny rehearsal space,” Anastasio continues as he and Gordon reach below the desk to retrieve a pair of miniature versions of the band’s famed “You Enjoy Myself” trampoline stage props, “was these, which we’re so happy to bring out today. We dug into our closets and we broke out our tiny trampolines from [the 1980s]. We couldn’t afford real trampolines, or even medium trampolines, for that matter.

“Also, it’s very hot outside right now,” he adds while pulling a pair of purple sweat bands onto his fingers. “but inside the air conditioner’s going, so I brought my tiny leg warmers. So we’re gonna warm up a little bit and then we’ll do one more song for you.” The giddy grin Trey wears as he proceeds to “warm up” his fingers on the tiny trampoline—to the McConnell provided soundtrack of the NPR All Things Considered theme—is worth your time on its own. “We’ll just put these down on the ground now,” Anastasio says when he’s finished.

With “one song” left, plenty of time left on the clock, a (tiny) trampoline warmup completed, and an “explicit language” warning issued, Anastasio counts the band into the song at which they had been hinting, quintessential Phish composition “You Enjoy Myself”. When the extended piece reaches its customary Trey-and-Mike-on-trampolines section, the guitarist and bassist appear to jump onto the tiny trampolines they previously stashed below the desk, but it turns out that the regular, full-sized trampolines are stashed there, too.

Rather than subjecting the NPR offices and online viewing audience to the full-blown absurdity of a “YEM” vocal jam, the members of the band grab maracas and other (tiny) percussion instruments and turn the vocal jam into a crowd participation segment as they strut their way out from behind the desk way through the small crowd of lucky fans in attendance.

Related: Phish Heralds New ‘Evolve’ LP, Sings Elevator A Cappella With The Roots On ‘The Tonight Show’ [Watch/Listen]

While most NPR Tiny Desk Concerts don’t include an encore, Trey, Mike, Page, and Fish return to their spots behind the desk after the video’s closing titles for a couple more. “I mean, you know, a tiny encore?” Trey smiles as he dives into “Sample In A Jar” while the band gets situated once again. It almost seems like the rest of the band thinks they’re done after the Hoist staple, but Anastasio is keen for one more, launching into an energetic “Chalk Dust Torture” to bring the first-ever Phish Tiny Desk Concert to a close. Watch the full Phish NPR Tiny Desk Concert below and scroll down for images of the taping and background on the band members’ previous Tiny Desk experience.

Following last Friday’s album release, Phish is set to begin its summer tour this weekend with a three-night run in Mansfield, MA. For a full list of upcoming Phish tour dates, head here.

Phish – NPR Tiny Desk Concert – Full Set

 

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[7/9/24]: Per reports and photos beginning to flood social media, Phish is in Washington, D.C. today to record its first-ever NPR Tiny Desk Concert. The appearance on the renowned live performance video series aligns with the jam quartet’s recent media push surrounding its latest album, Evolve, due out on Friday.

While this marks the first time Phish has performed a Tiny Desk Concert, multiple members of the band have taken part in the series in the past. Trey Anastasio delivered a solo performance for the series from behind Bob Boilen‘s desk at NPR’s Washington, D.C. office back in early 2015 while Mike Gordon and his frequent non-Phish collaborator, Leo Kottke, recruited Phish drummer Jon Fishman for their remote, pandemic-era Tiny Desk (Home) Concert in 2020.

Anastasio has also served as a judge for NPR’s adjacent Tiny Desk Contest, which invites independent artists to record themselves performing an original song from behind a desk for a chance to mount their own official Tiny Desk Concert. The Phish guitarist was among the team of judges who elected Tank and the Bangas as the winners of the competition in 2017.

Related: Phish Gives Listeners A Percussion Rinse With Final ‘Evolve’ Single, “Life Saving Gun” [Listen]

According to a post from NBC News/MSNBC journalist and noted Phish fan Jake Sherman, who was in attendance at the taping, Phish performed “Sigma Oasis”, “Evolve”, and “You Enjoy Myself” (trampolines included) before encoring with “Sample in a Jar” and “Chalk Dust Torture”. View some snaps from the Phish Tiny Desk Concert taping below.

 

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