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Sweet Jane

Sweet Jane has not been seen in 140 Phish shows.
It was last played: 2020-02-22.
It was played at 0.25% of live shows.
It has been performed live 5 time(s).

Music/Lyrics: Lou Reed

Original Artist: The Velvet Underground

Original Album: Loaded (1970)

Vocals: Page (lead), Trey (backing)

Debut: 1998-08-08

Historian: Mark Toscano, Elayne Best

Whether or not you like The Velvet Underground, this song is a classic. It’s easily one of the Velvets’ most recognizable tunes, and on 10/31/98 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, it got Phish its biggest cheer of recognition for the entire second set.

Watch Sweet Jane on YouTube Phish, "Sweet Jane" – 10/31/98, Las Vegas, NV

Phish had already covered “Sweet Jane” once to close out the first set on 8/8/98 at Merriweather, delivering the tune in an enjoyable fashion, but not nearly as inspired version as the one that took place on Halloween. The latter was thrilling, and drove the crowd wild with its energized shipping and handling. Page’s vocals were sturdy and engaging, and even when Trey just chorded, it electrified the whole room.

Watch Sweet Jane on YouTube Lou Reed, "Sweet Jane" – 1974, Paris, France

Many signs and multiple requests have been made for the return of “Sweet Jane” since the Halloween treat in 1998. Fourteen years and 352 shows would pass before the wish was granted. You could hear the cheers of the jubilant fans in the crowd when the opening notes of “Sweet Jane” began on 6/29/12 at Deer Creek. Fans were just as elated at home at the return of this cover, though many continue to chase a live version. We can only hope Phish will play “Sweet Jane” more frequently in the rotation as “some people like to go out dancing, other folks, we got to work”.

Would Lou Reed have enjoyed Phish's reading of his song? Well, possibly not, but for a specific reason. When the Velvets originally cut the tune for Loaded, the song’s bridge ended up getting completely excised to save time (a similar thing happened to “New Age” on the same album). As a result, the Velvets – especially Lou Reed – were always displeased with the truncated version of their song that did not include the so-called “wine and roses” segment. Until the mid-’90s, the bridgeless version of the tune predominated on the radio and on disc, and this was the version Phish has covered each time played.

Watch Sweet Jane on YouTube Lou Reed, "Sweet Jane" – 10/31/98 (yes, also on 10/31/98) Sessions at West 54th, New York, NY

Albums: Live Phish 16


© Oakfield Avenue Music Ltd. (BMI)

Standing on the corner
Suitcase in my hand
Jack is in his corset and Jane is her vest,
And me I'm in a rock'n'roll band!
Ridin' in a Stutz Bearcat, Jim
You know, those were different times!
Oh, all the poets they studied rules of verse
And those ladies, they rolled their eyes

Sweet Jane! Whoa!
Sweet Jane, Whoa!
Sweet Jane!

I'll tell you something
Jack, he is a banker
And Jane, she is a clerk
Both of them save their monies, ha
And when they come home from work
Oh, sittin' down by the fire, oh!
The radio does play
The classical music there, Jim
"The March of the Wooden Soldiers"
All you protest kids
You can hear Jack say, get ready, ah

Sweet Jane! Come on baby!
Sweet Jane! Oh-oh-a!
Sweet Jane!

Some people, they like to go out dancing
And other peoples, they have to work
Just watch me now!
And there's even some evil mothers
Well they're gonna tell you that everything is just dirt
Y'know that, women, never really faint
And that villains always blink their eyes, woo!
And that, y'know, children are the only ones who blush!
And that, life is just to die!

And, everyone who ever had a heart
They wouldn't turn around and break it
And anyone who ever played a part
Oh wouldn't turn around and hate it!

Sweet Jane! Whoa-oh-oh! Sweet Jane! Sweet Jane!

La lala lala la, la lala lala la
Sweet Jane
Sweet Jane
Sweet Jane

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