Phish Co-Founder Returns to the Stage With The Group After 17 Year Absence; Holdsworth Seeded Extended 12/1/84
Jeff Holdsworth, the guitarist who originally co-founded Phish while a University of Vermont student with Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman and Mike Gordon returned to the stage with the band last night at the Pepsi Arena in Albany during the group’s second set. Holdsworth appeared for much of the set contributing vocals and guitar to his original songs ‘Camel Walk’ and ‘Possum’ as well as a cover of the Hollies’ ‘Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress’ which Phish performed at its initial gig nearly 20 years earlier.
It many respects it is appropriate that he took to the stage with the band on December 1, as this is the date of a popular early Phish tape 12/1/84 that Holdsworth himself helped to circulate a number of years ago. For a long while a 45 minute version of this show made the rounds until Holdsworth himself seeded a 90 minute version that also includes the early version of ‘Makisupa Policeman,’ as well as the takes on ‘Don’t Want You No More’ and ‘Cities’ that appear on most versions traded today.
Holdsworth left the band after graduating from UVM in 1986 at which point ‘I was not playing any electric bands. I switched to acoustic music and was playing in small groups and a duo.’ Soon after Phish made its transition into arenas he explained, ‘I have not made any effort to follow the ‘Phish phenomena,’ other than information that comes freely my way. I feel there is a certain psycho-spiritual void in this generation making the transition from adolescence to adulthood which Phish has ‘hooked’ into.’
Lyricist Tom Marshall also appeared on stage during ‘Run Like An Antelope’ which closed the second set, delivering the lyrics that he credits as his first contribution to the band.
Phish’s 20th Anniversary run concludes tonight at the Fleet Center in Boston.