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Stairway to Heaven

Stairway to Heaven has not been seen in 489 Phish shows.
It was last played: 2010-10-30.
It was played at 0.05% of live shows.
It has been performed live 1 time(s).

Music/Lyrics: Page, Plant

Original Artist: Led Zeppelin

Original Album: Led Zeppelin IV (1971)

Vocals: Trey, Page

Debut: 2010-10-30

Historian: Martian Acaster (Doctor_Smarty)

Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” is the quintessential rock anthem.  It is the song that perfectly captures the essence of what many feel is the greatest rock and roll band of the 20th century.  “Stairway” is an artfully crafted work composed of several movements that gradually build in pace and intensity to a fiery crescendo and what may be the finest guitar solo ever laid down on vinyl.  The lyrics, reportedly composed in a stream of consciousness at Bron-Yr-Aur while listening to Jimmy Page work out the guitar lines, represent the pinnacle of Robert Plant’s songwriting career.  Yet it, like many other Zeppelin classics have been indicted as nothing more than acts of plagiarism.  Imitation it has been said, is the sincerest form of flattery, if so, Led Zeppelin could at least be considered the most reverent band ever in their homages to peers and predecessors.  They are the musical equivalent of a group of sculptors; artisans who have released finely honed rock monuments from the crude lumps of primitive stone they had dug up from the musical past.

Acknowledging the similarity of “Stairway’s”  opening guitar passage to Spirit’s instrumental “Taurus,” what transpires in the rest of the song is undeniable greatness.  Conceived while on a 1970 retreat to Bron-Yr-Aur, first recorded at Basing Street Studios in December of that year, and finished at Headley Grange in 1971, the centerpiece of Led Zeppelin IV is an epic journey that stands apart from the rest of Zeppelin’s own catalog and is arguably without peer in the annals of rock history.  Despite or perhaps because of this, the man who wrote the lyrics, can’t stand to perform the song.  Except for a few special occasions, Robert Plant has yet to reach the point in his life where he would “give his left nut” to perform it regularly with his old bandmates.

Watch Stairway to Heaven on YouTube Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” The Song Remains the Same

Phish performed the transcendent finale of “Stairway to Heaven” to conclude their second set “TweeZeppelin” medley on the second night (10/30/10) of Halloween weekend festivities at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.  The medley, in addition to “Stairway,” contained a tease of “Whole Lotta Love,” a brief roll in the hay with “Heartbreaker,” most of “Ramble On,” and the opening verse of “Thank You.”  Although Trey did not nail the solo, the squealing vocals were atrocious, and the lyrical flubs were numerous, the glory of this moment of “Tribute” to the greatest song in the world still raises the hairs on the back of my neck when I listen to it.  

If as suggested by the song selection in the rest of the medley, Phish had played Led Zeppelin II for their Halloween costume set; they may have elected to play “Stairway to Heaven” from Led Zeppelin IV as an encore.  Trey hints at this parallel universe reality at the conclusion of “Stairway” by thanking the crowd for a wonderful Halloween doubt freaking out those faithful psychonauts in the crowd that had ascended to that particular level of “Heaven” when all are one...and one is all.

Watch Stairway to Heaven on YouTube ”Stairway to Heaven” 10/30/10 Atlantic City, NJ


(Page, Plant)
© Warner Chappell Music, Inc. (ASCAP)

There's a lady who's sure
All that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven

When she gets there she knows
If the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
And she's buying a stairway to heaven

There's a sign on the wall
But she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings

In a tree by the brook
There's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven

Ooh, it makes me wonder
Ooh, it makes me wonder

There's a feeling I get
When I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving

In my thoughts I have seen
Rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who stand looking

Ooh, it makes me wonder
Ooh, it really makes me wonder

And it's whispered that soon
If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason

And a new day will dawn
For those who stand long
And the forests will echo with laughter

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
Don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean for the May queen

Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run
There's still time to change the road you're on

And it makes me wonder...

Your head is humming and it won't go
In case you don't know
The piper's calling you to join him

Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow?
And did you know?
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?

And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold
And if you listen very hard
The truth will come to you at last
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll

And she's buying a stairway
To heaven...

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