“We practiced it and had it ready, and we walked to the edge of the stage, then I was like, Naaaaaah.” Trey Anastasio reveals the Taylor Swift song that Phish wanted to play at Madison Square Garden last year

 Trey Anastasio, Taylor Swift
(Image credit: Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images | Gareth Cattermole/TAS24/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management)

Taylor Swift is undeniably the biggest pop star in the world right now, her globe-conquering status most recently emphasised by the fact that she's playing eight sold-out shows at London's 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium this summer on her record-breaking The Eras Tour. Such a cultural behemoth is Swift, that the Pennsylvania-born singer/songwriter's omnipotence is filtering into unexpected places, such as into the consciousness of the world's biggest cult band, Phish.

In a new interview with Vulture, vocalist/guitarist Trey Anastasio is asked to nominate the 'Best Taylor Swift song for Phish to cover', and fans of the Vermont jam band might be surprised to learn that this is a question that the band themselves have already considered, to the point of getting one particular song gig-ready last year.

“When we did seven nights at Madison Square Garden in 2023, we got so close,”  Anastasio reveals. “The Eras Tour was just starting, and everyone was like, You have to do a Taylor Swift song. It kept coming up. So we learned Welcome to New York [from Swift's 2014 album 1989].

“Now, that’s not my favorite of hers - I love a lot of her other stuff much better - but it was pretty good! We practiced it and had it ready, and we walked to the edge of the stage… then I was like, Naaaaaah. Mike [Gordon, Phish bassist] was sad that we bailed. He was really into it.”

While Phish might not be able to replicate the scale of Swift's success worldwide, their recent residency at the Sphere in Las Vegas has been making headlines in its own right. US game show presenter and comedian Drew Carey stated that the Vermont band's show in Sin City made U2 “look like a bar band” by comparison.

“It blew my mind how great it was,” he said on SiriusXM’s Phish Radio show. “I told all my friends and The Price Is Right audience how great it was… I went the next two weekends in a row. Then, three songs into Thursday night with Phish at the Sphere, I honestly was kinda mad. I wanted to call U2 and get my money back. It made them look like a bar band.”

“It was like being edged for four days straight,” Carey said on the TV show After Midnight. “And then right before the face-melting climax at the end of the fourth day, an angel comes down from heaven, Gabriel, and he shoots fucking heroin in your arm, and he says, ‘Good luck now!’ And he leaves. And then you have an orgasm for 15 minutes while your eyeballs fall out of your head.”

Beat that Taylor!

Drew Carey REALLY Loved Phish at the Sphere (Full Cut) - YouTube Drew Carey REALLY Loved Phish at the Sphere (Full Cut) - YouTube
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Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.