Originally Performed ByPhish
Appears On
Phish Debut1996-08-05
Last Played2023-10-13
Current Gap20
HistorianMartin Acaster


The fine art of communication comes in many forms. The one which sets humans apart from the other passengers aboard Noah’s Ark is the ability to “Talk.” Certainly many other species have audible communication. Some even appear to be able to send messages telepathically or through color changes. But no other form of communication can carry the depth of thought and emotion that we feel for each other, as well as a good conversation. The song “Talk” is one of frustration. Imagine a father trying to share his thoughts with a newborn child, or perhaps a sober individual trying to speak with a pseudo-extra-terrestrial being whose thoughts are surrounded by a cloud of mind altering chemicals. Sometimes our words just can’t get through the filter that surrounds the consciousness of a listener. “Talk” at times like these can feel cheap and meaningless.

“Talk” was one of several tunes (along with “Waste” and “Train Song”) from Billy Breathes that debuted in an acoustic mini-set format. The first performance of “Talk” was on 8/5/96 at Red Rocks. The acoustic mini-set made subsequent appearances at Deer Creek on 8/12/96 (without “Talk”) and the Clifford Ball on 8/16/96 (with “Talk”). Performances which followed in fall 1996 and both the spring and summer European tours in 1997 were stand-alone breathers performed in a sparse, predominantly percussion-free (perhaps a few cymbal taps) acoustic guitar, bass, and piano arrangement. “Talk” was played only once in 1998 (8/6/98 Atlanta), once in 1999 (Trey's solo performance at the Murat Theater on 5/4/99) and was left speechless until reappearing on 2/25/03 in Philadelphia. Trey also performed the song three times during solo shows in 2005 (4/26/05, 4/29/05, and 8/7/05). "Talk" was most recently performed in the encore to the Festival 8 acoustic set (11/1/09), in this instance with the delicate Fishman cymbal work confirmed.

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