Phifteen Years of Bluegrass : Phish – 1994 Bluegrass Documentary [WATCH]


[Scroll to bottom for MP3 Download of 11/19/94 “Parking Lot show”]

Years ago, when I lived in Olympia, Washington, something odd happened.  I couldn’t receive any television stations, so I attached a set of bunny ears to achieve a  few of them.  One day I decided to move my furniture around, which included plugging my TV into the outlet on the other side of the room.  When I did that, I lost all of my channels that I did get but, when I disconnected the bunny ears, a whole bunch of extra ones came through for the first time.  One of the benefits from this was that I wound up with two different PBS stations and PHISH was scheduled to be featured on Austin City Limits.  I was excited to watch the program, but I had a birthday party to attend, so I set my VCR to record it and blasted out to the soirée/BBQ.  When I returned home to check the video, I was treated to an unexpected surprise.  Although I had successfully recorded an episode of Austin City Limits, it wasn’t the episode with PHISH on it.  Apparently, at the exact same time, the WILCO/Bela Fleck Bluegrass Sessions episode was airing on the other PBS station and I had recorded that one.  Bela Fleck was performing with Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Vasser Clements, etc and the error turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Over the next year or so, I watched that footage excessively and it became one of my favorite things to space out to in awe.

Tonight, while my sister was visiting, something equally as fortunate took place in reverse.  She has recently become increasingly interested in Bluegrass music and, after her ringtone of a bluegrass breakdown went off, I decided to search out the version of “Salty Dog” that Fleck and his crew had performed on ACL all those years back.  To my surprise, after typing “Bluegrass Sessions” into a YouTube search, I found a PHISH video instead and this whole scenario came full circle.  Many of us are aware of the Vermont 4-piece‘s remarkable ability to transition through various genres and their penchant for busting out favorites like “Uncle Pen” and “Old Home Place” but, although they had demonstrated those influences in the past, this video displays a time when the quartet truly began to focus and venture seriously into such Bluegrass territory.  Posted by Youtube user jlaughli, the clip is from 1994 and was the first part of a 9 part “documentary”.  Fans of the group should really enjoy viewing this home footage, which features Mike on banjo, Page on upright bass, and even drummer, Jon Fishman playing the mandolin.  The youtube poster did not create the documentary, it was filmed by Rev. Jeff Mosier, but we’d like to give him huge props because, it is really nice to finally see it all in one place and so easily accessible.  To make it even easier to locate and view in it’s entirety, we have provided all 9 parts of the full documentary footage below.  Seeing as yesterday marks the 15 year anniversary of when the recording of this footage originally began, I feel that there is no better time for us to put this up, than now.  Enjoy!

The following is description posted by jlaughli via his youtube account:

“This has already been called the “Holy Grail” of Phish Videos.

This is a FREELY TRADED, NEVER SOLD home movie of Phish Backstage. Total running time 1 hour 20 minutes.

The Rev. Jeff Mosier (Blueground Undergrass) was contracted by Phish in the Fall of 1994, to help them learn Bluegrass. They flew him to Michigan and Gordon picked him up in a limo, and they had their first lesson on 11-14-94, same night as Grand Rapids.

With his Blessing, the footage he shot of this whole experience, backstage and onstage, was remastered and is now being shared.”

1994 Bluegrass Sessions Documentary


[PART 1]

[PART 2]

[PART 3]

[PART 4]

[PART 5]

[PART 6]

[PART 7]

[PART 8]

[PART 9]

Bloomington Parking Lot Show (11/19/94)

Noticeably, and curiously, missing from the video footage, is PHISH‘s infamous parking lot bluegrass jam in Bloomington, IN.  The impromptu performance took place after the 1994 Indiana University Auditorium show.  You’ll notice that, when you view PART 6 (@ 9:02) of the documentary, there is an abrupt cut in the film where they completely bypass the parking lot performance and jump straight to Nov. 20th.  Prior to this jump in film, Mosier was performing on stage with the boys and somebody else was filming him.  Perhaps he didn’t have his camera on hand, when the bluegrass jam was busted out, and that was the reason for the lack of footage.  Whatever the reason, it’s a shame, because this is the one completely bluegrass performance that PHISH has done and it is a valuable piece of video to have missing from these bluegrass-centric video recordings.  Fortunately, the audio from this bonus show does exist and, thanks to, we’ve been able to provide you with a direct download link here on the site.

The following show notes are taken from page 419 of The Phish Companion (2nd Edition):

Show Notes: The lineup for this bluegrass jam included Mike on banjo and electric bass, Page on bass, Trey on guitar and fiddle, Fishman on mandolin,”Reverend” Jeff Mosier on banjo, Eric Merrill on fiddle, a fan named Abe Stevens on jaw harp and a fan named Jeremy on banjo, and an unidentified player on the jaw harp.

The circulating recordings are attributed to “an alert taper that spotted the jam in progress near the tour bus

Bluegrass PHISH


PHISH 11/14/94

Indian University Parking Lot

Bloomington Indiana

  1. Blackberry Blossom (1:36)
  2. Tennessee Waltz (3:30)
  3. The Old Home Place (4:43)
  4. Dooley (3:11)
  5. Mountain Jam (2:56)
  6. John Hardy (5:47)
  7. Sweet Baby’s Arms (4:11)
  8. Long Journey Home (4:27)
  9. Little Tiny Butter Biscuits (5:59)
  10. I’m Blue I’m Lonesome (3:33)
  11. Midnight Moonlight (5:44)
  12. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (3:28)

*I’ve seen minor discrepancies listed for the set list, but this is the list provided when downloaded

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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