Original Artist: The Rolling Stones
Original Album: Emotional Rescue (1980)
Historian: Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
Last Update: 2011-11-02
At the time of its release, the 1980 album Emotional Rescue represented to many critics either a turning point, or an identity crisis for The Rolling Stones. Mixing their more traditional rock and blues styles with more up-tempo dance numbers bordering on a disco sound, many hard core Stones fans were left shaking their heads, as it represented such a significant departure from their modus operandi. Ironic, given that two decades later this album is viewed by many as a Stones “classic.” Shortly after the release of the album, regarding the title track Mick Jagger noted: “It was ad-libbed. You would never really write a song like that in real life.”
Phish debuted “Emotional Rescue” to open the legendary Hampton run on 11/21/97, immortalized in 2011 on the Hampton/Winston-Salem ‘97 7-disc box set. This tune provided Mike the opportunity to display a wide range of his vocal skills, alternating between extremes with some lines delivered in a deep, soulful voice (“I will be your knight in shining armor; Riding across the desert on a fine Arab charger”) and other lines falsetto (“I'll be your savior, steadfast and true; I'll come to your emotional rescue”); the latter had Trey visibly cracking up during the debut. “Emotional Rescue” opened shows on 12/31/97 (a 17+ minute funk-a-thon) and 7/28/98, then disappeared until the infamous 9/30/00 encore version.
Phish, “Emotional Rescue” – 11/21/97, Hampton, VA
The 9/30/00 Vegas rendition may confuse fans that only hear the audio recordings, as it features a drawn-out noisy tail end that offers no intuitive answers. Thankfully this gig is immortalized on the Live in Vegas DVD, an offering worth picking up if only to see the encore. Tacked on to the end of this “Emotional Rescue” is a bizarre, choreographed interpretive dance performed by Trey and Mike, who pirouetted about the stage, placed strange hats on their band mates with their guitars, and engaged in an indescribable duel of expressionist... “something.” Words hardly do justice to the moment, check it out for yourself.
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