OK, so Matisyahu covered the Flaming Lips, Rose Hill Drive and Leslie West raged Mountain‘s Mississippi Queen, Sheryl Jones and Booker T did Born Under a Bad Sign (“and that’s fine”), that “smokeshow” Grace Potter got Warren Haynes to take her to the river, Big Head Todd and Squeeze‘s Glenn Tilbrook joined Tea Leaf Green for Pulling Mussles, Chevy Chase is buddies with jamclown Keller Williams, Joan Osborne belted Come Together, Stanton Moore dueled Doug E Fresh, and Page McConnell had the balls to lead jazz heavyweights Nicholas Payton, Christian McBride, James Carter, and Roy Hanes through two Phish songs.
Not too shabby, but that’s to be expected from the Jammys, Relix Magazine‘s annual Theater at Madison Square Garden get-together that combines surprise collaborations with pleasant scene fluffing. Also, awards.
The only award that really mattered on Wednesday night, though, was Phish‘s Lifetime Achievement Jammy (it’s fun to say!) because it was supposed to lure Trey, Mike, Jon, and Page out of rehab, seclusion, or wherever else they’ve been hiding since the 2004 breakup. The rumor mill had been churning hard, and it sort of worked: all four members showed up, sharing the stage for the first time since Coventry — but they didn’t play together.
Instead, Fishman made a joke, Page was sincere, Gordo wore purple pants, and Trey gave one of those heartfelt, halting speeches that have brought many a Phish show to a screeching stop — except this time he sounded more humble, and more final, than ever: “It was an honor to watch you all dance.”
Then they walked off, and it would have been terribly depressing if Trey hadn’t just finished playing with deliciously cheesy yet surprisingly tight Beatles cover band The Fab Faux. Phish or no Phish, sick or sober, Big Red can still — what’s the technical term? — melt faces. Here’s While My Guitar Gently Weeps.