Originally Performed ByPhish
Appears On
Phish Debut2018-12-30
Last Played2021-09-05
Current Gap123
HistorianHerschel Gelman (hershel), Isaac Cate (ImStillUpsideDown)
Last Update2023-11-03


A mysterious track from Billy Breathes, “Bliss” consists of a lush, 12-string-sounding, arpeggiated build, lasting just a few minutes, used as a kind of introduction to the title track on the album. 

Phish ”Bliss” – Video by Phish

Phish fans first heard of “Bliss” when Trey sent a tape of the song to fan Kevin Cecil. Kevin was walking a friend home one night in the summer of 1995 when someone shot him in the neck, leaving him quadriplegic. When Trey found out, he sent him an advance copy of the song, and invited Kevin to be a guest of the band at the December 1995 Hershey Park show.

As a result, fans on the internet knew that there was a new instrumental called “Bliss,” which led to some confusion when a new instrumental appeared on the fall 1995 tour: some early setlists confused “Bliss” with what was actually “Cars Trucks Buses.”

Pianist Holly Bowling (formerly of Ghost Light), known for transcribing and performing Phish and Grateful Dead songs for solo piano, regularly played “Bliss” starting 12/30/2016 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Billy Breathes. Trey would follow her lead and finally debut “Bliss” at his solo acoustic show on 12/10/18.

A few weeks later, a fan named Meggie Price posted a video of her son, Zach, playing the song “Billy Breathes” to his Aunt in her hospital room to the “Phish Chicks” Facebook group. Meggie went on to say in that post how she would love to see Phish play “Billy Breathes” during the upcoming Holiday Run. Among the replies of support she received, one stood out, and all it said was “Consider it done.” Whether or not her request made it to the band, on 12/30/18 Phish would play “Billy Breathes” and, with a nod to its placement on the album of the same name, preceded it with the first ever Phish performance of “Bliss,” notably featuring Trey on acoustic guitar.

Phish ”Bliss~Billy Breathes” – 12/30/18, New York, NY. Video by LazyLightning55a  

Sadly, this is not the end of Meggie’s role in the “Bliss” story. Amidst the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zach passed away in December 2020 to a fentanyl overdose. For the first time since they had gone to Dick’s together in 2014, Meggie found herself going alone to the 2021 Dick’s Sporting Goods run without her son.

In a letter to Trey, among her expressions of appreciation for Trey and Phish’s music helping her to get through such an awful experience, she requested “Billy Breathes” again in Zach’s memory. Meggie was almost unable to send her letter in time but finally sent it out on the Friday the Dick’s run began. On the last night, 9/5/21, Phish once again performed “Bliss” before “Billy Breathes.” 

Last significant update: 11/1/23

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