Yeah, yeah, I know, recycling a show already. Well, since I didn’t have time to do a full post, I figured I would post the glorious Harry Hood from Smith College. It’s always bugged me that I didn’t include it in the original post, and besides, this Hood is so monster, it is more than deserving of it’s own post. It’s just ridiculous…This Hood can go toe to toe with any Hood from any year and I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is the best Hood from ’91, even slightly besting Potsdam. If you have never heard this, I just don’t know what else to say…..enjoy:
Amy’s Farm. Hard to believe it was twenty years ago. It’s one of those ones that seems like yesterday in some respects, but in many other respects it seems like a lifetime (or two) ago. We first heard about Amy’s Farm at the Arrowhead Ranch shows in July. Trey made an announcement from the stage, but I don’t remember hearing it. I do remember walking through the parking lot and seeing a handbill attached to every car windshield, including mine (I also found another one waiting in my mailbox when I got back from the show) . It was a no-brainer. All we had to do was finish up the Horn Tour, take a little breather and head up to Maine. We headed up to the site the day before the show after spending most of the morning around the beaches of Portsmouth, NH. It was a beautiful NH/Maine summer afternoon as we headed up the Maine Pike to Amy’s horse farm. We pulled in around 4 or 5 and had a pick of places to set up camp, there were only a handful of cars there when we arrived. When you pulled in, the house and barn were just on your left as you entered. We immediately took a right into a large field and went down the slightly sloping field to where it ended at a flat spot ringed by trees. There were a ton of places to camp: along the trees like we were or on top of one of the many rolling hills that dotted the field . There were a bunch of these little hilltops that you had to walk across to get to the stage which was a few hundred yards from where we set up our tents. More of our friends arrived in the early evening and we had a pretty decent crew of about 5 or 6 tents and maybe 15-20 friends by morning. Hard to say how many total folks had arrived the night before, but by the morning of the show, cars were starting to pile in and set up camp. We were up pretty early as it was bright, sunny and hot by 10AM. My earliest memory of show day was Amy coming up to our campsite on horseback and collecting a few bucks from everyone to re-seed the fields. We gladly paid and told her how stoked and thankful we were and how awesome her land was. It was a beautiful, rolling hills horse farm in the middle of Maine, and the weather was absolutely perfect. We hung around the campsite until noon or so and made the 5 minute trek over the hills and through the woods to the venue. The venue consisted of the stage in another field, with trees ringing the whole area. There was a giant water truck spraying people (ala 8/27/72) and a few vendors including this couple who had this seitan booth where they were selling these insane seitan wraps. Wonder whatever happened to those guys. The whole vibe of this show was possibly the most laid back of any Phish show I have ever attended. People were just milling about, making friends, doing bong hits 3 feet from the stage, generally just soaking up the sun and atmosphere. There was no security, police or even real event staff- zero, zilch, nada. I am sure there was a first aid booth, but beyond that, this show seemed like a giant keg party with a stage. We were all sitting about 10 or 15 feet from the stage, with tons of room while Mike, Page and Fish are just walking around by the stage talking to people and getting ready to go on when Trey comes cruising in from the back of the field on his Harley (no helmet) and rides right up to the stage. It was bad ass. He hops off and after a few minutes they all amble up on the stage and they start of with that classic Wilson intro from Amy (which is partially cut off on some sources):
The show seemed to go on and on. We would go back and forth from the campground during the show or during the breaks…Went back with my girlfriend to knock boots in the tent during YEM, which was the first and only time I ever did that during the actual show. You could hear the band perfectly in the tent. I’ll also never forget standing next to the stage 3′ from Fishman and yelling out Harry Hood a half-second before they went into it for the 4th and last encore song. Shit was sick.
After the show we all walked back to the tents. I got punched square in the face by a biker guy, and strangely enough didn’t even feel a thing. That night these two twins with a Dead cover band called Double Dose played their set in the campground. I remember a pretty decent Lazy Lightning. The last thing I remember was trying to go sleep in my tent and the people next to us were BLASTING Terrapin Station (the studio album). It was kind of a drag, and I think I finally passed out during Sunrise, thank god. The next morning we woke up and it was a torrential downpour. Not just a little drizzle, but practically sheeting. Our tent was filled with a ton of water. We just threw all of the wet gear in the car and got out of there as fast as we could. It was quickly turning into a mud bath. We got onto the Maine Turnpike and we can barely see through all the rain, even with the wipers on high. Who pulls in front of me, but Trey on his Harley, braving the storm with a passenger (his girlfriend/wife?) on the back. All I could think about was that he was going to crash and I was going to run him over and Amy’s Farm was going to be the last show. Seriously. I pulled over to the next lane and slowly pulled ahead, all the time thinking I was going to hit him.
Amy’s Farm is not a show I really ever listen to, and my fond memories of it are primarily based on the friends, setting, scene and just the whole amazing experience of it, rather than the music. In listening to the show for the first time in years for this post, I realized there are some really solid musical moments. The Divided Sky is amazing, and a great sounding soundboard of that track was just released on here: http://www.livephish.com/music/0,638/Phish-mp3-flac-download-Live-Bait-Vol-05.html
The first set combo of Squirming Coil->Poor Heart->Sloth is also super worthy and gives a good feel for the tone of the show. Too bad there are not better sources around for this show….
It’s been a while since my last post, but I do have some good stuff coming up. I initially had a different show from ’93 in mind for this post, but this week being the 20th Anniversary of the Horn Tour, I decided to go for something with the brass. The Horn Tour was highly anticipated when they announced it in late May and it did not disappoint. I saw all of it except for 3 shows and every night was a treat to attend. Berkshire Performing Arts Center was the third show of the tour which started with a free afternoon show at Burlington’s Battery Park. The second night was at the Colonial Theatre in Keene, NH, and then this show, which was the night before the 3 set blowout in Townsend, VT. It was a great start to the tour, especially since all the shows were relatively easy drives through beautiful countryside. Also, the Horn Tour was the first tour where there were multiple groups of people doing the whole tour. Previously, people were doing strings of shows in 1990 and Spring 1991, but nobody was doing whole tours. The Horn Tour changed that, in part because it was in the summer, it was fairly short (14 shows), and it stayed on the east coast. It was also due in part to the fact that the band’s popularity was snowballing.
The BPAC is apparently gone now as I could not even find a single picture of it online. I guess it turned into the National Music Center in the mid-nineties, but it looks like it is now defunct, probably surpassed by the beautiful (and outdoor shed-type) Tanglewood which is only a mile or so away. I am pretty surprised because this was a great venue from what I remember. I don’t remember too much from this show however, because they had a closed concession stand in the hallway with a beer tap. Even though the tap handle did not have the thingy on top saying what kind of beer it was, we pulled it down and ice cold beer flowed out. It was some kind of crappy Bud Light or Miller or something, but we didn’t care, we drained that thing by intermission. Practically the only thing I remember of the show itself was the Curtain and If I Only Had a Brain (which I always love, they should bring it back). The rest is a little hazy! It was a cool little venue though, went out and up from an orchestra pit, no balcony. It would probably hold 1500-2000, but there was definitely less than 1000 at this show.
Musically, there is a lot to like about this show. Almost everything is solidly played (except for Trey’s botch in Divided Sky after which he jokingly calls it the “jazz version” ) and the show is certainly worth a download. The link to the MP3 of the entire show can be found here (the lossless on etree currently has no seeders):
The horns bring something to special to a lot of the tracks, I especially like the Avenu Malkenu and the Split, but I didn’t pick those to showcase here. From fairly early in the first set is a great Alumni Blues which we had heard as the soundcheck at Battery Park, but this was the official debut with the GCH. This song is made for the horns:
Speaking of made for the horns, this first set closing Frankenstein is tasty as hell and features a bad ass vocal jam taboot:
The Winter/Spring ’91 tour was a marathon tour that started in the beginning of February and went through mid-May. 63 shows in all. I was lucky enough to catch a bunch of them, the silver-lining in temporarily flunking out of college. By the time the band made it back to the east coast at the end of April they were a well-oiled machine. The gig at SUNY Potsdam was part of the school’s Earth Day Festival and the “Suggested Donation” to get into the show was $5. They also had free veggie dogs which was rad because I had just become vegetarian a month earlier when out at the Colorado shows (involving a bloody Whopper, but I’ll save that story for my 3/13/91 posting). We showed up early and helped the band unload their truck and then ate a bunch of fake hot dogs and hacky sacked. The Barrington Student Union was a pretty non-descript hall, big and square, almost like a gymnasium. It was actually pretty big and after all the frat boys and curious onlookers left after the first set the whole back half of the place was open. During Bowie we were running across the back of the floor as fast as we could and were seeing how far we could slide in our socks. Unfortunately, the show did not start off so well for me. We had stashed our stuff under the riser for the soundboard/lightboard and were waiting for the show to start. In all of my infinite wisdom, I decided to blaze one in the middle of the room, with all the lights on and only about 200 people in the show. I was sharing the bowl with an unnamed crew member who may or may not have been running the lights and was just about to pass it back when I felt a tap on my shoulder-
Busted! Ugh…They asked me for ID, but it was in my wallet under the soundboard riser. They sent an officer back to the venue and actually got my buddy DJ Bagel Boy (aka The Duck) to climb under the riser and get it for them. The other officer brought back my wallet and ID and they asked me why I was in Potsdam (“To see a band..”), where I was staying (“Not sure yet…”) and how much money I had with me (to make sure I wasn’t a vagrant). Then they let me go on $20 bail with a notice to appear in court. I made it back to the show during the blat-boom part of Wilson which I though was pretty good considering. There is a whole other story about going back for the court date, but that’ll be in my 5/2/91 post someday. Anyway, back to show. This show is hot from start to finish:
Pretty much every song has something to offer and first set gets hotter and hotter, peaking with a great Weekapaug before closing the set with a pretty Adeline. The second set has some great stuff and everyone was stoked to get a very rare (for the time) Gamehendge narration between Forbin’s and Mockingbird in honor of Earth Day. It was after this show that the Forbins->Mockingbird narration became fairly standard practice when the combo was played.
I couldn’t decide whether to pick the set 2 ending Harry Hood->Cavern or the I Didn’t Know->David Bowie encore for this post, so I am picking all four tracks. The Harry Hood is one for the ages and one of my top five versions. Cavern is not a song I usually care too much for, but if they played it like this every night, I probably would:
We were all highly stoked on the show to this point, and the I Didn’t Know->Bowie was just icing on the cake. I Didn’t Know features an always welcome trombone solo from Fish and the Bowie cranks: