WATCH: Pianist Bob Thompson covers PHISH

Oct 17, 2014

Mountain Stage pianist since 1991, Bob Thompson chose a Phish song to perform on a recent Mountain Stage show.
Credit Josh Saul / mountain stage

We posted this video of our own Bob Thompson covering jam-band legends Phish, and it got over 1,000 views virtually overnight.

It was recorded July 27, 2014 in an episode that featured an hour-long set from modern prog-rockers Umphrey’s McGee. The idea that BT should put his touch on a Phish song during his regular featured segment came from Jeff Shirley, Mountain Stage Associate Producer, Merchandise Manager, Dean of Deposits, Shaman of Shirt Counts, and resident expert on all things Jam. He explains here:

“I figured that UM would bring some young fans, and probably some that had not been to a Mountain Stage before. This also means they might be seeing our house pianist Bob Thompson for the first time. I would never be so bold as to suggest a song to any of the Mountain Stage Band, just as they don’t tell me how much to charge for t-shirts. However, in this case, I thought Bob might have a good time playing something that these first-timers might recognize, and Phish was the first thing that came to mind. I sent Bob a few suggestions, “Waste,” being the one he thought he could have some fun with. With Joel Cummins' keyboards stacked to his right, I stood at stage left and watched Bob for the entire song. His arrangement and playing did not disappoint. I’m hoping for “Fluffhead” next time.”

As you can hear, the audience loved it, and we’re proud to present his arrangement into the vast world of Phish videos on YouTube. The entire episode, featuring Umphrey’s McGee, Yarn, Cris Jacobs and Jim Oblon can be heard in its entirety on iTunes and in our Archives. There's come killer Umphrey's tunes on our YouTube page and you can hear the whole set at NPR Music.  

You can see Bob live and in person this December at his annual holiday celebration “Joy to the World,” featuring vocalist Mollie O’Brien. The original version of “Waste,” is from Phish’s 1996 release “Billy Breathes”.

Credit Josh Saul / mountain stage