Phish doesn’t often perform at festivals, though the group has been known to make an exception for specific occasions. Outside of its own Phish festivals, the group has headlined events like Austin City Limits and LOCKN’ Festival, though only two have hosted Phish on multiple occasions, Bonnaroo and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
Interestingly, the two Jazz Fest performances came exactly 18 years apart, on April 26th, 1996, and again on April 26th, 2014. The shows celebrate their anniversaries today, with the first performance in 1996 offering a monstrous one-set showing from the Burlington band. The show featured a surprise sit-in from Michael Ray, the trumpet player for Sun Ra, as well as an a cappella rendition of the first verses of “Wolfman’s Brother” that emerged from a “You Enjoy Myself” vocal jam.
Listen to that full show below and check out its setlist below.
Phish – New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – New Orleans, LA – 4/26/96
Setlist: Phish | Jazz Fest | New Orleans, LA | 4/26/96
Set 1: Ya Mar, AC/DC Bag > Sparkle > Stash, Cars Trucks Buses, You Enjoy Myself -> Wolfman’s Brother > Scent of a Mule > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Harry Hood > Sample in a Jar, A Day in the Life > David Bowie
Encore: Hello My Baby, Cavern Michael Ray on trumpet. |  First two verses performed a cappella.
Notes: This single-set performance was part of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Ya Mar included a When the Saints Go Marching In tease. Cars Trucks Buses featured Michael Ray on trumpet. The first two verses of Wolfman’s Brother were performed a cappella as they came out of the YEM vocal jam. David Bowie included a strong Caravan jam. Trey teased The Rover in Cavern. This show was made available as an archival release on LivePhish.com with all proceeds going to Tipitina’s Foundation and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Eighteen years later, the band came back to the Fairgrounds on April 26th, 2014, returning with a triumphant two-set performance. Fans will recall the band’s potent showing, complete with a big-time “Down With Disease” jam and a NOLA-inspired “Party Time” that kept things rocking. Phish drew quite the crowd for its second-ever Jazz Fest show, and you can relive the show with full audio as well as a few fan-shot clips.
Phish – New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – New Orleans, LA – 4/26/14
Phish – “Down With Disease” – New Orleans, LA – 4/26/14
Phish – “Kill Devil Falls” – New Orleans, LA – 4/26/14
We’ll finish up this article with the song that closed out the band’s most recent Jazz Fest show, the encore of “Julius.” Dig it:
Phish – “Julius” – New Orleans, LA – 4/26/14
Setlist: Phish | Jazz Fest | New Orleans, LA | 4/26/2014
Set 1: Kill Devil Falls, The Moma Dance > Rift, Wolfman’s Brother, Lawn Boy, Party Time, Ocelot, Funky Bitch, 46 Days, The Line > Character Zero
Set 2: Down with Disease > Birds of a Feather > Twist > Sparkle > Free > Light, Sand, Harry Hood > Cavern, Grind
Encore: Julius Unfinished.
Notes: This show was part of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and took place at the Acura Stage. Disease was unfinished. Twist contained teases of Birds and Streets of Cairo.[Originally published 4/26/2016]