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Garden Party

Garden Party has not been seen in 408 Phish shows.
It was last played: 2012-12-31.
It was played at 0.05% of live shows.
It has been performed live 1 time(s).

Original Artist: Ricky Nelson

Original Album: Garden Party (1972)

Vocals: Mike

Debut: 2012-12-31

Historian: Tim Wade (TheEmu)

On October 15, 1971, Ricky Nelson joined the likes of Bo Diddly, Chuck Berry and Bobby Rydell for a concert at Madison Square Garden. Nelson, with long hair and wearing typical 70’s attire, began his set by playing some of his old hits. Then he broke into “Country Honk,” a country version of The Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman,” and when the crowd began booing, Nelson left the stage. Whatever the reason for the crowd’s reaction, Nelson thought it was because he looked different and played something unfamiliar to the fans, and he channeled his displeasure with the episode into a single released the following year. “Garden Party” recounts the events of the concert and Nelson’s ultimate conclusion that “You can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.”

Watch Garden Party on YouTube Ricky Nelson, “Garden Party”

It’s interesting to note that a song which laments not being able to play new material led off the final Phish concert in 2012, which was the first touring year since Phish’s 1983 formation in which no original songs were debuted. It’s hard to imagine that the band wasn’t aware of the irony when Mike crooned, “If memories were all I sang, I’d rather drive a truck.” But the choice to open their New Year’s Eve 2012 concert with “Garden Party” was also appropriate, hinting at that year’s gag, which included artificial turf covering the arena floor and stage; actors sunbathing and playing croquet, badminton, and golf; and a “runaway golf cart marathon.” The song also made its Phish debut, in the arena for which it is named, on the 27th anniversary of Nelson’s death.

Watch Garden Party on YouTube Phish, “Garden Party” – 12/31/12, New York, NY



I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends
A chance to share old memories and play our songs again.
When I got to the garden party they all knew my name.
No one recognized me, I didn’t look the same.

But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well,
You see you can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself.

People came from miles around, everyone was there
Yoko brought her walrus, there was magic in the air
And over in the corner, much to my surprise
Mr. Hughes had Dylan’s shoes, wearin’ his disguise


I played them all the old songs, I thought that’s why they came
No one heard the music, I didn’t look the same
I said hello to Mary Lou, she belongs to me
When I sang a song about a honky tonk, it was time to leave


Someone opened up the closet door, and out stepped Johnny B. Goode
Playing guitar like a-ringin’ a bell, and lookin’ like he should
Now if you gotta play at garden parties, I wish you a lot of luck
But if memories were all I sang, I’d rather drive a truck.


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