|Originally Performed By
|Mark Toscano, lumpblockclod
Trey knew that sending an actual letter to the Led Zeppelin guitarist wouldn’t be the best way to pay homage to one of his rock heroes. Instead, the precocious then-21-year-old composed a little metal ditty designed to evoke the living spirit of Jimmy Page himself, who was at the time recording music of questionable worth with The Firm. Perhaps Trey’s song was intended to wake Page out of his crap-rock stupor, and perhaps Page heard him, for the guitarist soon realized the error of his ways and left The Firm, and (soon after) David Coverdale in the dust.
As it appears on The White Tape, “Letter to Jimmy Page” is a standalone track. In Phish’s early live set, however, it usually appeared as a bridge about two-thirds of the way through concert favorite “Alumni Blues.” After Phish lost Jeff Holdsworth as its second guitarist, a few years passed until “Alumni” went in its own direction, losing “Letter” in the process. The ephemeral nature of the tune seemed to condemn it from Phish setlists until a sudden, luminous re-appearance on 7/5/94 in Ottawa, the first in 357 shows. Word has it that the tune was performed that night due to news of the upcoming release of the Page and Plant reunion album No Quarter, but “Letter to Jimmy Page” had been gone from the stage for so long, that most fans didn’t even recognize the song or make the connection. After a second reemergence on 7/15/94, “Letter to Jimmy Page” fans would have to wait nearly sixteen years for "LTJP" to return. But return it did on 6/25/10 in the loving arms of its old companion, "Alumni" (the first time the songs had been paired since 7/18/91).
See Also: “Alumni Blues”
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