Have Mercy

Originally Performed ByThe Mighty Diamonds
Original AlbumWhen the Right Time Comes I Need a Roof (1976)
Appears On
VocalsMike, Page, Trey
Phish Debut1986-04-01
Last Played2020-02-22
Current Gap175
HistorianEllis Godard (Lemuria)
Last Update2019-06-22


“Have Mercy” bows to the writing of reggae trio The Mighty Diamonds, and Phish’s cover is a rare ritual. Four appearances in 1986 filled the space between omnipotent tunes like “David Bowie” and “Harry Hood.” After a seven-year absence, the prodigal song returned for appearances during several godly jams: the 2/20/93 “Weekapaug Groove,” the 5/8/93 “David Bowie,” the prelude to the 8/14/93 “Antelope,” and the 11/12/94 “Down with Disease.” All was well, and the song rested.

The Mighty Diamonds, “Have Mercy”

After five years and 335 shows in peace, “Have Mercy” emerged out of the depths of “Tweezer” on 7/17/99 at Oswego, and then part of a moment of band confusion and miscommunication on 12/10/99 in Philadelphia. Then after a ten+ year and 189 show absence, "Have Mercy" made an unexpected return on 7/1/10 in Raleigh, emerging out of "Fluffhead" and setting up the equally rare "Light Up Or Leave Me Alone." Another appearance later that year on 10/20/10 solidified from an epic “Split Open and Melt,” documented on the Live in Utica DVD. It was also performed as the meat in a “Hood” sandwich at Blossom Music Center on 6/4/11 and in Vegas on 10/30/16. "Have Mercy" opened a show for the first time in its history in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 6/21/19.

Although The Mighty Diamonds sported boyish harmonies, their attitude was otherwise young and brazen, a mix of choir boy and Kingston punk. They were rough reggae, not roots Rastafari, and their sound and appearance began a “rockers” era in reggae. And maybe that’s not such a bad direction to go. “Guide us, Jah man,” as the song say, “oh yeah.”

Phish, “Have Mercy” – 7/1/10, Raleigh, NC

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