Two years ago, Peter Gabriel told Rolling Stone that Phish had contacted him about joining them onstage for a complete performance of a classic Genesis album. “They do these projects where they take an old record and do it,” said Gabriel. “I had a conversation about The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway with them at one point. They were thinking about it. That didn’t go anywhere.”
Trey Anastasio, who inducted Genesis into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010, now tells Rolling Stone that he was the one who contacted the former Genesis frontman. “I’m such a big fan of Peter Gabriel, I can’t even begin to tell you,” he says. “I’ve been one my whole lifetime, so just hearing his voice on the phone was kind of exciting. If he wanted to [perform The Lamb] with us, I would do it… That album had a huge effect on me, and [Phish drummer] Jon Fishman as well. I spent most of my high school years in a dark closet with headphones on listening to The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.”
Phish are playing a classic album at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall this Halloween, and Anastasio says they are open to playing The Lamb at that show. “That would be great,” he says. “I can play that album in my sleep, but we’ll only do it if [Gabriel] does it with us. Peter Gabriel, if you want to do The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway with us this Halloween, we’re your band. You heard it here first.”
Peter Gabriel hasn’t performed a single Genesis song onstage in 30 years. He did meet with the band in 2005 to discuss the possibility of a reunion tour where they’d play The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, but he bailed when it seemed like too big a commitment. The Phil Collins-led lineup of the band toured instead, and since then, Collins has suffered nerve damage that makes it virtually impossible for him to play drums. Any sort of complete reunion seems extremely unlikely.
Genesis and Phish fans shouldn’t get their hopes up for a performance of The Lamb this Halloween. Gabriel is spending the month of October on tour in Europe playing his 1986 LP So straight through. The tour does end on October 25th, but Gabriel is a notorious perfectionist and he’d almost certainly demand more than few days’ rehearsal. There’s always next year, though…
The biggest takeaway anyone should have from this news is that it seems incredibly likely that Phish plans on playing an album this Halloween, squashing the rumor that there would be a new album or “jukebox set” in lieu of the traditional musical costume.
If Gabriel is a deal breaker in covering Genesis, logic would suggest that Phish will be covering another album. Kudos to Trey for subtly revealing that a musical costume is forthcoming. What will it be? Who knows, but if it is in line with past costumes, particularly the last two, it’s safe to say that the artist/band will be one that has had a large impact on the band. David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix still have to be the leading contenders this year.