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Julius has not been seen in 10 Phish shows.
It was last played: 2024-02-21.
It was played at 11.65% of live shows.
It has been performed live 234 time(s).

Music/Lyrics: Anastasio/Marshall

Vocals: Trey (lead), Fish, Mike, Page (backing)

Debut: 1994-04-04

Historian: Charles Franz; Mockingbird Staff

While the lyrics of “Julius” – “Danger! I’ve been told to expect it” – are based on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Tom Marshall has admitted that the chorus is nonsensical. It was made up at the last minute on the way into a recording session simply to have something to sing, and has no relation to the play. The upbeat tempo and exultant chorus certainly belie the dark and foreboding tone of the play, and “Julius” has become a favorite of many fans. It is one of the few Phish tunes where many fans consider the album version to be as good as it is live.

The Hoist version features the backing vocals of The Rickey Grundy Chorale (with Rose Stone & Jean McClain) and the Tower of Power Horns. The now out-of-print Tracking video contains footage of this recording session. In The Phish Book, Tom relates the story of how members of The Rickey Grundy Chorale at first refused to sing "Julius" until they understood what was meant by the "'Cause if you lay it on a brother when he's sleeping / Wake up in the morning you'll be gone" lyric; apparently "they didn't mean anything" other than to work with the swinging nature of the song's ending, and all was well in the end.

Watch Julius on YouTube "Julius" – The Late Show with David Letterman7/13/95, New York, NY

“Julius” debuted on 4/4/94 at Burlington’s Flynn Theatre in the first show of the year, with the six-piece Giant Country Horns providing backup, and went on to appear frequently in the rotation throughout that year. It also was released as a single, and Phish performed the song on 7/13/95 on The Late Show with David Letterman, accompanied by a four-piece horn section, which included Dave “The Truth” Grippo on alto saxophone and two members of the Blues Brothers Band. 

While there are fans who say that there are no bad versions of “Julius,” one of the best performances came at the 12/31/96 New Year’s gig in Boston. Amid thousands of balloons, Phish was joined on stage by the Boston Community Choir for “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Band and choir then belted out a joyous “Julius” to end the set amid wild cheers from the assembled revelers. 

Watch Julius on YouTube "Julius" – 12/31/96, Boston, MA

“Julius” has often served as either a rousing set opener or closer and as an encore, and while its frequency has diminished in recent years, it has been a set list staple since its debut. Other notable versions include 12/3/94 (with the Cosmic Country Horns); 12/6/96 Las Vegas; 8/3/97 The Gorge (missing this version is considered a felony in seventeen states and the District of Gamehendge); 8/16/97 (The Great Went, with an a cappella, finger-snapping intro); 12/5/97 (almost 20 minutes and unfinished); 11/28/98 Worcester; or for a more modern version try the first-set closing offering from 12/31/09 Miami, or the encore from 10/31/10 Atlantic City with Giovanni Hidalgo on percussion and Aaron Johnson, Stuart Bogie, Ian Hendrickson, Michael Leonhart and Eric Biondo on horns. Finally, don’t miss the version offered by Merl Saunders and His Funky Friends on Mockingbird’s Sharin’ in the Groove CD. 

Watch Julius on YouTube "Julius" – 10/31/10, Atlantic City, NJ

Recommended Versions: 1997-07-23, 1997-08-03, 1997-12-05, 2010-10-31, 2011-09-14

Albums: Hoist, Vegas 96, Live Phish 13, Sharin' in the Groove, Still Phishin', The String Quartet Tribute to Phish, Coral Sky, IT, Hampton/Winston-Salem '97, Star Lake 98, Niagara Falls, Chicago '94


© Who Is She? Music, Inc (BMI)

I've been told to expect it
I begin my descent
Down the cold granite steps

And who could have turned among those I confide in?
I think that I know what I haven't known yet
'Cause a week is a month
and an hour a day
When your reaching just pushes it further away
With your past and your future precisely divided
Am I at that moment? I haven't decided

And stretching out into the sea... Aquitana
Is that what the prophet told me he saw?
You gave it to me but I really don't want it
I came out on top by the luck of the draw
'Cause a week is a month and an hour a day
When your reaching just pushes it further away
And what's the return on the faith I've provided?
I think that I know now but I haven't decided

Don't take another, don't take another, don't take another step
Don't blame it on yourself
Then you'll lay it on ya brotha when you're sleeping
You'll wake up in the morning and he'll be gone

Before you take another step
Don't blame it on yourself
'Cause if you lay it on a brother when he's sleeping
You'll wake up in the morning and he'll be gone

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