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I Didn't Know

I Didn't Know has not been seen in 35 Phish shows.
It was last played: 2023-07-23.
It was played at 13.06% of live shows.
It has been performed live 262 time(s).

Music/Lyrics: Richard Wright

Vocals: Mike, Page, Trey

Debut: 1987-11-18

Historian: Mockingbird Staff

"I Didn't Know" is typical Phish: arbitrarily quirky lyrics in an AABB rhyme scheme, delivered in three-part harmony accompanied by a thumping bass line, and altogether a bit about having “lost it.”

The song, written by band friend Richard “Nancy” Wright (who sang it with Phish 5/14/88), was first known to be performed on 11/18/87, and was included on the band’s first promotional tape circulated in 1988. "I Didn't Know" holds a definite connection with the Big Band Era, particularly to Mack Gordon's "Chattanooga Choo Choo", made popular by the Glen Miller Orchestra. “I Didn’t Know” was in heavy rotation from 1988 through 1995. Though its frequency has declined dramatically from those days, it still makes regular appearances and has never strayed far, with only two performance gaps of over 50 shows, during most of 1997, and spanning 2010-11.

Watch I Didn't Know on YouTube "I Didn't Know" – 3/24/92, Richmond, VA

Though almost entirely vocal, there are only two true a cappella renditions. The first was on 3/28/92, a microphone-less version due to authorities refusing to allow the band to plug in their instruments because of a theater flood, and the next on 4/1/93, an Ancient Forests Benefit in Portland, OregonMore typically, the lone bass is joined by an instrumental oddity, including washboard (Fishman, 3/31/93), cymbals (Mimi Fishman, 4/8/94), megaphone (Trey, 6/15/95), trombone (Fishman, 6/20/88, 9/27/95, and 12/28/95), bass drum pedal (Fishman, with his knee, 6/29/94), of course the vacuum (Fish mostly, but Mimi on 7/19/91), and, finally, the Bag Vac (Fishman, combining vacuum cleaner and bagpipes, 3/24/92).

Few modern versions stand out. Memorable were the transitions into an abbreviated “Dust in the Wind” on 7/18/03 and “Feel the Heat” on 12/31/03, a spirited "Let's Go, Flyers!" crowd chant on 6/24/10 during the vacuum solo, an appearance during the “Tuck” show on 6/19/12 in Portsmouth, VA, and a crowd sing-along on 12/31/15 at MSG.

Watch I Didn't Know on YouTube "I Didn't Know" – 8/16/11, Chicago, IL

Albums: Live Phish 20, Live in Vegas, Colorado '88, Live Phish Downloads 6-20-1995


© Who Is She? Music, Inc. (BMI)

I didn't know
(I didn't know)

Well I didn't like cheeseburger alleycats near me
A petrified Phish disease, I wish somebody'd hear me
I didn't like maple dew, honey melon watercress
I didn't like Phish shoes down by muddy watermelon
I didn't seem to miss you when you kiss'd my honey water
And even showed a picture, showed her down by honey's border
But who laid silver tooth and broke my sunny shoe shine
And all my plastic melodreams are waiting for their new shine

Pardon me, Doug (pardon me, Doug)
Is this a picture of Otis Redding?
Yes! Yes! Taken just before he died
Well you can give me his hide (well you can give me his hide)

(I didn't know)
I didn't know that I was that far gone (x8)

Well I woulda' liked to seen Bess Truman come see me
And hear all the revolutionaries come free me
'Cause if it all ends up running to sneeze me
I'll make it all here, black corners come seize me
And if you boom, back got troubles in your ear
And you can't seem to come back and make it all clear
When eye tails and toe nails and liquid all meet me
When mustard pies and carrot eyes and flounders come greet me

(I didn't know)
I didn't know that I was that far gone (Repeat x 8)

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