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When the Circus Comes

When the Circus Comes has not been seen in 41 Phish shows.
It was last played: 2018-10-23.
It was played at 3.72% of live shows.
It has been performed live 66 time(s).

Music/Lyrics: Hidalgo, Perez

Original Artist: Los Lobos

Original Album: Kiko (1992)

Vocals: Trey

Debut: 1997-02-13

Historian: Ellis Godard (lemuria)

Like Phish, Los Lobos is a great band that sometimes suffers a disservice by comparisons to the Grateful Dead. Trey’s reported fondness for their “Circus” led to rumors that it would be included on the studio release Story of the Ghost. And that might have been appropriate, given the song’s prolific history on Phish’s stage during the first few years after its debut.



Although the original is gorgeous in lyric and chord, the 2/13/97 debut is as forgettable as the other four debuts from that show. Delivery was not much stronger its next three appearances. But Phish breathed warmth into "Circus" on 6/14/97, opening the encore for an underrated show which included strong jamming in unexpected spots including “Waste” and “Cavern.” Of its next ten appearances, six were encore openers, including strong shows on the sumer European tour (see 6/20/97 and 7/1/97), and 7/22/97, the fabulous lightning show immortalized on the Walnut Creek DVD. It appeared at Shoreline on 7/31/97 as one of several nods to Jerry Garcia, then again just prior to The Great Went art bonfire on 8/17/97



Watch When the Circus Comes on YouTube Phish, "When the Circus Comes" – 2/16/97, Cologne, Germany



Its only appearance with Phish between the hiatus and the breakup was on 7/29/03, between “Timber” and “McGrupp.” The handful of post-breakup performances to date included prominent placement in the third set of the Halloween performance at Festival 8 and on 8/14/10, appearing on the Alpine Valley 2010 DVD. Fans of "Circus" will also want to seek out any of Trey's four solo acoustic performances from his spring 1999 tour.



Watch When the Circus Comes on YouTube Phish, "When the Circus Comes" – 6/17/10, Hartford, CT


Albums: Live Phish 06, Live Phish 08, Live Phish 11, Walnut Creek, Star Lake 98, Alpine Valley, Amsterdam

Lyrics:

(Hidalgo, Perez)
© Davince Music / No Ko Music (BMI)

Could have had a chance to get out of this wreck
The time that you came and the day that you left
Could have had a chance
Could have had a chance
Never thought I could make it this far
With a pain in my soul and a hole in my heart
Never thought I could
Never thought I could

But when the lights are turning 'round
And wheels are rolling on the ground
That day I'll burn this whole place down
When the circus comes to town

You left your name carved on that tree
You scratched mine out right in front of me
Didn't mean that much
Didn't mean that much

But when the lights are turning 'round
And wheels are rolling on the ground
That day I'll burn this whole place down
When the circus comes to town

I'll scratch your name out on that tree
I'll chase your heart right out of me
Doesn't mean that much
Doesn't mean that much

But when the lights are turning 'round
And wheels are rolling on the ground
That day I'll burn this whole place down
When the circus comes to town

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