Once in a Lifetime
Once in a Lifetime has not been seen in 142 Phish shows.
It was last played: 2015-09-06.
It was played at 0.11% of live shows.
It has been performed live 2 time(s).
Original Artist: Talking Heads
Original Album: Remain in Light (1980)
Vocals: Trey (lead), Mike, Page (backing)
Historian: Mark Toscano
Though they handled it fine, the only mildly weak spot in Phishs fantastic 10/31/96 Remain in Light set is their performance of this song. Its a good performance, but frankly the song isnt as attuned to their powers as the rest of the albums tracks. Yes, Once in a Lifetime is a classic song, an anthem (if you will) of the post-punk generation or some damn thing. Yes, everybody remembers the video with David Byrne doing dances that to this day can only be characterized as... Byrne-ish. Yes, people who dont know anything about Talking Heads often know this song by heart. It is, however, probably the most conventional song on the disc, and, despite its genius, lies somewhere slightly outside of the electronic earth-scape inhabited by the rest of the album.
With this in mind, Phishs version naturally didnt quite gel like the rest of the songs. More accurately, its about as good a performance Phish could pull off of a song that no one could really do anything more with anyway. And since they stick relatively closely to the original version, fans definitely look to the rest of the performance for Phishs shining moments.
Amusingly, this song is a classic radio and concert sing-along, despite having little or no distinguishable tune or melody. David Byrnes singing on the album track is like the anxious ramblings of a man destroyed by (or at least seriously disillusioned with) the society he seeks to understand. Interestingly, Byrne has commented that he often wouldnt need to sing the lyrics to this one at Talking Heads shows because the crowd would be singing along so loudly.
All in all, though Phishs one-time version of this track was strong, one need only look to the tunes chorus for the most concise evaluation one could ask for.
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