Rift - Phish 1993


Today I will be doing a song-by-song review of the 1993 album Rift by Phish. It is my favorite Phish album, and a great album anyway. Fun fact: the album cover (front and back) has representations of almost all songs on the album. Here is the track list and timings, before we start:

  1. Rift - 6:13
  2. Fast Enough for You - 4:52
  3. Lengthwise [1] - 1:18
  4. Maze - 8:13
  5. Sparkle - 3:56
  6. Horn - 3:38
  7. The Wedge - 4:06
  8. My Friend, My Friend - 6:10
  9. Weigh - 5:08
  10. All Things Reconsidered - 2:35
  11. Mound - 6:01
  12. It’s Ice - 8:14
  13. Lengthwise [2] - 0:34
  14. The Horse - 1:24
  15. Silent in the Morning - 5:28

Now here is the review, describing all 15 tracks individually.


The opening track is a very fast, complicated song, which has a very interesting backstory. In 1987, Phish debuted a song titled “The Curtain”, with a huge composed section very typical of 80’s Phish. Then, in 1988, they did just the first half of the song, without the winding, “Reba”-esque jam. For a few months, the versions were both in the rotation. Then, by the end of ‘88, just the short version was played. The long version has become known as “The Curtain, with”, and the short version simply “The Curtain”, which gets confusing. The point is, around the same time that Phish made “The Curtain, without” the norm, they debuted a short, slow, song titled Rift. Keep in mind, this is before Lawn Boycame out, in early ‘90. After a few performances, Rift was retired. Then, in ‘92, they debuted a completely different song with the same lyrics and title as Rift. Only the last line in the song was cut from the new, fast version, but it still appears in the liner notes. Midway through the song, it moves into a sped-up, higher-key rendition of the guitar melody from “The Curtain, with”. This version of Rift has remained in the rotation, and since 2000 the with and without versions of “The Curtain” go back and forth in the repertoire. The whole song Rift is very fast, very (typically) complicated, and doesn’t change tempo in the middle. The key changes a lot, though. At the end of the song, a big Machine Gun Trey line culminates and the whole band does a little throat-warbled “Ah”ing over the final C. Then the silence fades into…

Fast Enough for You

…a slowly amplifying ride cymbal, which leads into a gentle guitar-led riff, with some sweet pedal steel played by Gordon Stone, and some amazing, soft drumming. This song is one of the many relationship-themed ballads on this album. It is a live rarity, but is one of my favorite songs on this album. The piano slowly grows more prominent throughout the verses, and after the chorus, which amps up the drums, comes a great Page solo on the verse progression, another chorus, then a guitar solo on the chorus progression, which adds back the backing vocals, which adds on more and more reverb before fading into…

Lengthwise [1]

…some menacing alarm clock noises, accompanied by snoring and Fish singing a simple refrain, which gets louder, then ends super creepily and abruptly. The snoring stops at the same time, and the alarm clock gets louder and crossfades slowly with…


…Fish’s drumbeat which signals the beginning of Maze. For some reason, people confuse this intro live with the “David Bowie” intro, which is completely different. The drum intro completely overtakes the alarm clock from the last song, and a little bass thumping comes. Then some little faded creepy guitar voicings fit in the spaces, then the full song starts, with a little Heavy Things-esque harmonic beeping by Trey, and some haunting organ by Page. The song cycles through to a big jam, being the second-longest song on the album, trailing It’s Ice by a literal second. The evil refrain returns and has a random, sprightly outro, which jumps almost directly into…


…a nice little bright strum thing, with some cool drum rolls, which has some cool organ buildup, which goes through some verses, then it goes to a maniacal outro which slowly gets faster and more bluegrass. Another relationship song, but a little more upbeat. The lyrics slowly get more sinister too, ending with “The skin that drips down off the tree or peels back slowly from your knee erupts into your lung and heart. You laugh, and laughing, fall apart.” The last sentence is repeated over the outro. This is the most played live song from Rift, at well over 300 times. The big ending takes a precious moment of silence to crossfade into the…


…blaring guitar riff meant to represent the car horn in this song. The verse cycles through in a normal soft kind of rock, then a beautiful, winding guitar solo comes with infinite key changes and just some amazing chord changes. Yet another relationship ballad. Probably my favorite song on this album. The intro theme comes back, with some lush harmonies, ending with a little drum stomp, which segues perfectly into the…

The Wedge

…pounding tom rhythms of The Wedge. Soon some acoustic guitar and organ joins in. This is one of the few Phish songs many people consider the studio version better than live versions, which I usually agree with. The song is very, very Phish. The outro repetitions of the chorus are key. When it hits a D chord, it quickly crossfades with…

My Friend, My Friend

…the acoustic guitar beginning of this song. The backstory of this song is also interesting. In ‘91 or so, Trey wrote a piece of music. Soon after, he took part of it and added another section with lyrics. This would be My Friend, My Friend, which debuted in ‘92. Then, in ‘93, Trey took the rest of the composition and gave it a poppy beginning and end. This would become Guyute, which debuted the following year. The original composition, with chunks of both songs, is on Seis de Mayo, titled Guyute (Orchestral). On to the song. It starts off peacefully but segues super creepily into the other section, which is unsettling, with the lyrics “My friend, my friend, he’s got a knife” and more along those lines. The end has a fascinating, feedback-laden jam, then goes into a typically silly cheer of the lyric above, then segues into…


…the creepy, yet bouncy funk of Weigh. The lyrics are disturbing; “I’d like to cut your head off so I can weigh it, what do you say? Five pounds? Six pounds? Seven pounds?” and more. It is very fun though, with a great piano solo, and ends nicely, with some cymbal touches gliding into…

All Things Reconsidered

…some fast drumming, which leads to variations on the theme from All Things Considered, super fast. The song is short, lyricless, but fun and typically diverse in key changes. The song has not been played live since 1997. The ending jumps right into…


…the complicated rhythmic stomping intro of Mound. Then the band joins in and it’s a little blues progression. Then the guitar starts playing another, faster, different key line, while the backing keeps playing the blues, then a drum fill signals the abandon of the blues part for the whole band to go along with Trey on the faster part. The song cycles through at this tempo. I love the chorus and organ solo. At the end, it briefly returns to the stomping, then segues right into…

It’s Ice

…the weird yet happy guitar line of this song, then one of my all-time favorite Fish drum fills signals the entire band jumping in, in a very weird time signature. If you listen closely, the bass line is just Yakety Sax (The Benny Hill Show theme). After the verses, a huge composed section comes, then it goes back, with the chorus adding a round on the vocals. RiftMazeMound, and Silent in the Morning (yet to come) also have rounds on the vocals. The song seems to be about a split personality. The ending chord sustains, and…


…alarm clock sounds signal another, shorter version of Lengthwise from earlier. This version is just the alarm clock, vocals, and some compressed snippets of other songs on the album. I can only identify Rift and Fast Enough for You, the rest are too short and modified to recognize. This is only just over 30 seconds, and since the melody is in A…

The Horse

…the repeating intro low A acoustic guitar notes of The Horse crossfade nicely. The song eventually takes up a strumming pattern, and Trey sings some lyrics over the solitary acoustic guitar. The ending chord G sustains and…

Silent in the Morning

…an organ fades in on the G and an electric guitar starts to play a staccato pattern. Page’s (relationship, again) lyrics come in and the instruments build up. The chorus is repeated for a while, with more and more instrument and vocal parts added in. The song is surprisingly anthemic. It ends peacefully on a G.

So there. Overall, this is a great album, and has some outtakes. They are: Sleeping MonkeyBrotherMy Mind’s Got a Mind of its OwnNICU

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