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Here’s to 25 more!

Taking a quick break from the Japan stuff to wish myself a happy 25th Phishiversary!  Also just learned today is the anny of this blog too.  Anyway, I already wrote  about my first show way back when ( but wanted to give it another shout out today.  I’ll be back today or tomorrow with the rest of the Japan 2000 stuff, but until then, peep the glorious Weekapaug from my maiden voyage:

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Day three in Tokyo and after two spectacular shows, we were anxious to see what was next.  This show was a daytime show, and I believe, a Sunday.  Hibiya Outdoor Theatre is an amazing amphitheater smack in the middle of downtown Tokyo, surrounded by skyscrapers. It was raining as we walked up to the show but it didn’t seem to damper spirits too much.  The venue was too unreal for anyone not to be stoked out.  There were food vendors set up at top and to this day this is the only show I have been to where you could by fried octopus balls.  It was a GA show and we entered at the top of the venue and headed down to secure a spot.  As you entered the venue they handed out Phish “Farmhouse” promo Japanese fans.  They were sweet, but not really needed due to the rain.  Also due to the rain, not a ton of these survived.  I have one in good shape and one that got sopped.

Big Frog opened the show and they were good.  We knew the Big Frog folks and all their peeps from the ’99 shows at Fuji Rock Fest and they are awesome people.  I’ve mentioned in the previous posts how good the music was on this tour, but really it was the Japanese heads that made it so great.  The locals made us feel so welcome and at home and the energy they gave off at the shows was incredible to be a part of.

I always thought this show was the weakest of the run musically.  In listening back for this post, I realized it’s still a very good show:

Set 1First Tube >  Punch You In the Eye,  Horn >  Ginseng Sullivan,  Stash,  DirtPossum >  It’s Ice,  Farmhouse

Set 2Birds of a Feather,  Free >  Beauty of My Dreams,  Bug >  David Bowie,  When the Circus Comes,  Back on the Train >  Harry Hood

EncoreCharacter Zero

It doesn’t have the huge 25 minute versions of the previous two shows but it’s all well played. The first set closes with particularly strong executions of Dirt, Possum, and It’s Ice.  The breakdown section of It’s Ice is money. They cap it off with a decent Farmhouse.  As Farmhouse was the new album, we were hearing it everywhere in Japan this week.  Heavy Things was the single and we heard in our hotel lobby, on the radio in the taxi and while shopping in stores.  It was like we couldn’t escape it.

The second set started off with a solid Birds, and picks up steam with a very good Bug>Bowie.  I love 2000 Bugs, and this one is no exception.  While this Bowie doesn’t reach the heights of the Japan ’99 Bowie, it has a similar feel and is a show highlight for sure.  The two biggest highlights for me though are the set 2 closing Hood and the Character Zero encore.  As the band came out for the encore, the rain finally let up, the skies cleared and a giant rainbow stretched from one end of the stage to the other.  You can hear the whole crowd going nuts during the beginning of the song.  It was unforgettable.  Well played version too.  While this isn’t typically the show I reach for when I want to hear Japan 2000, I’m glad I gave it another spin, it’s got some good stuff.  Thanks for reading, stay tuned for the next show, which is my favorite of the tour.

The Harry Hood is smoking and well worth a listen or three….so good:

And I never get tired of the crowd reaction when the rainbow appears over the stage after they start up Character Zero:

Parts of the show was also broadcast on Japanese TV and it’s up on YouTube:

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So I missed getting this post up yesterday because I was staying in a hotel with suck wifi.  If anyone is heading to the Bend shows next month, and you’re staying at the Shilo Inn, make sure you get your important computing done first.  I tried and tried to figure out a way but no dice.  As such, I’m a day behind, but what’s new?  Also swung by Les Schwab Amphitheater.  FYI, I didn’t see any of the rail riders in line yet, but I guess it’s little early.  You never know though.

Anyway, after a solid show the night before to open the tour, we were treated to another Tokyo show.  After the length of time it took to get to Japan in the first place, it was nice to stay put for a while.  We sat in the hotel the night after the first show and played the Tweezer and Japanese Meatstick over and over.  Zepp was located in a giant entertainment complex called Pallet Town located near the harbor in Tokyo.  Pretty far removed from anything.  Besides the venue, there was a giant mall, a huge ferris wheel with small amusement park and a killer arcade.  Before the show, we were all goofing around in the arcade.  Dance Dance Revolution was a huge thing in Japan at this time and the locals were killing it.  We tried it and it was laughable. They also had an arcade version of Guitar Hero and who steps up to play but our own guitar hero, Big Red.  We all got a big laugh when the rating at the end of his turn was the Japanese version of “novice.”  If we thought for one second that poor performance would translate to the actual show, Trey showed that game who was boss when it came to show time.  As for the venue, it was bigger than the previous night, with a huge wrap-around balcony.  If I was to compare it to anything, I would say it’s almost a dead ringer for Irving Plaza.  The venue photo above is not from the actual Phish show, but it gives you an idea of the space.  The show itself is a banger:

Set 1Down with Disease,  Sample in a Jar,  Piper,  Lawn Boy[1],  Guyute

Set 2Heavy Things,  Sand,  Sparkle >  My Soul,  Bathtub Gin >  Twist,  AlbuquerqueWading in the Velvet Sea >  Loving Cup

EncoreThe Inlaw Josie Wales,  Limb By Limb

The show started out with a huge Disease opener that is a tour highlight for sure.  Along with a 24 minute Piper that in itself is worth the admission price, the first set had people picking their jaws up off the floor.  Both the Disease and the Piper ensured I would continue to wear the same socks, again, through the next show.  The second set was equally solid with standout versions of Sand, Bathtub Gin and Twist.  As mentioned in my previous post though, it was never more apparent than during this tour that it just didn’t matter what they played.  It all sounded good and the band was clearly inspired by being in Japan.  The whole show is worth checking out, but here are a couple of must-hears:

The show opening Down with Disease is a great way to spend 25 minutes:

The Fukuoka Twist gets all the love, but the Tokyo Twist is certainly no slouch:

After the show, we all went next door to the amusement park to ride the roller coaster.  The theme of the roller coaster was New York Jail, complete with booking, finger printing and cell time.  Basically, instead of waiting in line, they had all these fake cops pushing you around and taking your mug shot.  Believe me, when you are in the head space we were coming out of the show, this was the wrong choice of post show activity.  The roller coaster was actually pretty fun, but I was bugging out during the “booking process” lol.  Japan is so weird.  The show the next day was a daytime show, so we all started the 45 minute journey back to central Tokyo, glad we weren’t actually in a weird New York/Tokyo jail.


While 2000 is not exactly olden times for Phish, which is (was) the primary focus of this blog, it is the 15 year anniversary of this tour and since it was so sick from start to finish, I’ve decided to do a little spotlight on it.  Maybe 15 years is the olden times threshold? I dunno.  Either way, this is what I feel like writing about so here goes….  I’m going to attempt to do a short post for each show on this tour and highlight one or two tracks that I feel are worth checking out in honor of the 15 anniversary.  Going to try for a new post for each respective date.  Based on my recent track record though, I’m not holding my breath.

I had attended the Japan shows in 1999 at the Fuji Rock Festival and the whole experience was mind blowing.  When the 2000 shows were announced, there was no question we would head back there again.  The Duck, Mrs. Caravan, and myself headed to STA Travel (student travel agency) next to Grand Central Station and told them we were college students looking for a flight to Japan. My wife told them she went to Bennington, I think I said I went to Yale.  We batted around a few itineraries and decided we would fly to Japan, see the Phish shows, then fly to Thailand for 10 days and back to USA and catch up with the Summer 2000 tour in Hartford.  $650 each, and we were booked.

We were still (literally) riding high from the then-hometown shows at Radio City Music Hall and Roseland when we boarded the flights for Tokyo.  We landed, checked into our hotel, and arrived at the first venue, On Air East in what seemed like a giant blur of a day.   It was so surreal to see so many familiar faces already in line at a venue so far from home.  The crowd was a mix of Americans and Japanese heads, though it seemed like there were more Americans this time around than in ’99.  Still, the crowd was 85% locals.  This show was sold out in advance and some people were looking for tickets but all in all, the scene outside was very mellow.

We all filed into the venue, and I can’t remember it too much , mostly because it was pretty non-descript.  Just a rectangular-ish club, no balcony, bar in the hallway, basic black-walled club.  The stage and room were very small by Phish 2000 standards and I would guess the capacity of the venue to be 700-800. Maybe a little smaller even.  It started to fill up and we smoked out some Japanese heads that had never even had actual pot.  They were so stoked.  They just kept saying “skunk! skunk!” and bowing.  At this point in time (maybe it has since changed), there were zero nuggets in Japan so they were so happy.  But enough blabbing on my part.  The show was the real dope:

Set 1Axilla >  Taste,  Billy Breathes,  Poor Heart >  Golgi Apparatus >  Funky Bitch,  The Moma Dance >  First Tube >  Chalk Dust Torture

Set 2Tweezer,  Bouncing Around the Room,  The Mango Song,  The Squirming Coil > Gotta Jibboo >  Meatstick >  Tweezer Reprise

EncoreYou Enjoy Myself

This wasn’t my favorite show of the Japan 2000 tour, but that said, every second of every minute of every set played during this entire tour was an absolute treat.  Whether the playing was top shelf or not (most of it is), the experience of seeing shows in this environment put every moment over the top.  Easily the strongest, most consistently well played block of shows (consecutive) that I ever got to see with even the most common songs having that extra punch that made them impossible not to like. While not my fave of this tour,  any show that opens with Axilla and ends with YEM is a winner in my book.   The Tweezer is obviously the highlight.  It’s a monster 30 minute set opener that rivals just about any Tweeze out there.  It was so good it made me superstitious enough to not want to change my socks for the whole tour.  My traveling companions weren’t too stoked on it but the shows kept getting better and better so they put up with it. Somehow I had it in my mind that my socks were fueling the shows. Don’t eat the brown acid, kids.  Or do. Whatever.

While the Tweezer is the highlight and is essential listening for anyone who likes music, the rest of the show is super solid and is fun to listen to.

The first set is hot with a very high-energy version of Golgi (!) and great stretched out versions of Funky Bitch and Moma Dance, but it’s the First Tube that really deserves some focused listening in my opinion.  Check it:

One of the highlights for me from this show (and honestly from the tour) was the post-Tweeze Bouncing Around the Room.  This is a song that 9.93 times out of 10 has me heading to get some water or a bathroom break, but I am glad I stuck around for this one.  Possibly the result of a slight flub, this Bouncing actually contains a small jam.  Unlike hundreds of times before, instead of the standard outro lick, we are treated to 15 seconds of glorious improv.  It’s short, and it starts to lose steam at the end,  but for a brief moment, this Bouncing goes where none has gone before.  I flipping love it.   It’s such a short snippet, so it’s really no big deal, but regardless of how long it is, I will never forget that element of surprise, and that’s what always keeps me coming back.   I would love for them to take this song out for an actual walk some time.  I mean, they did it with Fee, right?  Anyway, here it is, it’s short but sweet:

The thing that sucks about the Phoenix airport is that the rental car facility is like 400 miles from the airport so unless you leave an extra 3 hours to return your car you will miss your flight.  If you leave your wallet in the rental car and have to take the shuttle twice, like I did, you might need 5 hours.  The good news about missing my flight is I finally have time to do a blog post.  The Front is one of the most storied venues in Phish’s history.  After graduating from Hunt’s and Nectar’s, The Front became the band’s home away from home in Burlington.  According to, the band played The Front a total of 53 times with Nectar’s and MSG coming in second and third with 43 and 31 times respectively.  I was only able to see the last two shows ever played at The Front, May 11 and 12, 1991, but very grateful that I at least saw those.

The venue itself was fairly non descript.  It was right up the street from the Flynn (if I remember correctly).  Walking in, there was a small area where they would check IDs and take money (no advance tickets), and then you would go to the left and enter the actual performance space.  The room where the band played was a dark rectangular room, maybe 100′ long by 50′ wide?  When you entered from the front area, you entered the back of the room on the side, the stage was to your right.  Stage was only about 2 or 3 feet high (knee height) and the ceiling was fairly low too. Definitely one of the smaller rooms I have ever seen Phish in, but not quite as small as Nietzches or The Haunt.  If you went toward the stage there was an exit to a connected (and related?) place called (I think) the Outback, and it was a small bar that also had an outdoor patio.

The first show of the weekend, 5/11, was a 21 and over show so a lot of people couldn’t get in, including The Duck.   There were a bunch of people hanging out on the curb outside that couldn’t get in.   As a result, it’s the only Phish show I ever actually taped as Duck asked me to bring his equipment in since he was only 20 (even back then I was old).  It’s a good thing as I was the only taper in there that night, and in talking with Shaps a few years later, it appears there wasn’t a board tape in the archives either.

I got in there early to set up the gear in the back behind the soundboard and the place was empty.  It stayed empty for most of the first set.  I would guess there were maybe 50 people tops which surprised me as I figured the hometown folks would fill up the venue.  My first Burlington show a couple of weeks earlier (UVM 4/22/91) was jam packed.  I finally got the tape rig going and this is how it went:

Set 1The LandladyLlamaThe Squirming Coil > Cavern > Divided SkyGuelah PapyrusMy Sweet OneFoamTweezerGolgi Apparatus

Set 2Chalk Dust TortureYou Enjoy MyselfPoor Heart > Reba > The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg > Tweezer Reprise

EncoreTerrapinBig Black Furry Creature from Mars

A pretty standard Spring ’91 show, and nothing too much sticks out for me.  YEM features Tom Baggot on harmonica and the first set Tweezer is pretty good too.  The highlight for me was the encore, which I have featured below.  The show ended up getting more crowded  by the end, but I would still be surprised if 125 people were there.  I’m pretty sure this is the least attended Phish show I ever attended, even smaller than Sessions at West 54th, which isn’t even really a show so I’ll just shut up.

The encore was my favorite part of this show.  Check out the BBFCFM with “Eddie Van Anastasio”: 

After the show it seems like all 125 people ended up back at Fishman’s house that I think he was sharing with Kuroda.  It was a fun party and I got to sit down on the couch with Trey and make a fool of myself while we listened to the Ninja Custodian demo tape.  Later on when I was in the kitchen, somebody came up to Page and handed him a cheap ass Casio keyboard which he proceeded to goof around on and subsequently brought on stage the following night.  I also smoked hash in Fish’s bedroom which smelled really bad (the room, not the hash).  Good times.

The people I was traveling with were more psyched for the next night, because they could actually get in (this night was All Ages).  This proved to be a way more crowded  show even though it was a Sunday.

Set 1Chalk Dust TortureBouncing Around the RoomDinner and a Movie >StashThe LizardsThe Landlady > Destiny UnboundLlamaFee > Foam,Runaway Jim

Set 2David BowieBathtub GinPoor Heart > The Curtain > Golgi Apparatus,MagillaMike’s Song > I Am HydrogenWeekapaug GrooveThe Squirming Coil > The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > AC/DC Bag > Rocky Top

EncoreRun Like an Antelope

I really like this show.  For one, it features Dave Grippo throughout and it’s well played with some funny moments. Landlady>Destiny is  one of my favorite combos and every time the played Landlady in ’91 I was pulling for the Destiny.  Add a horn to Destiny and I’m a happy boy.  Llama also featured the Truth and it too is a barn burner. I’ve featured both of those below.  Second set also had some great stuff.  The Dude of Life came out during Mike’s Song to sing some alternate lyrics which just served to confuse me, but I was super psyched to see Page bust out the Casio from the previous night’s party.  Good stuff for sure.  This would be one of the last shows I would see before the just announced Horn Tour so I made sure to live it up during the final 5 tracks (saw The Marquee and Salisbury the next weekend).  Probably why I don’t remember too much from this show.  I do remember we had to drive back to NYC right after the show to get the Duck to work on Monday morning.  That part kind of sucked but I am pretty sure Duck did all the driving.

Destiny Unbound is one of my favorite tracks.  Add Dave Grippo and you’ve got one of my all-time favorite versions.  

Llama with the brass is great too: 

Lastly,  here is the Mike’s Groove with DOL on vocals and Page on the aformentioned Casio during H2.  Grippo kills it on the Mike’s too: 

As mentioned earlier in this blog, the summer of ’92 was a little bit of an exercise in patience as the majority of shows played that summer were short (45 minute) sets opening up for Santana (besides HORDE and 3 or 4 headlining shows).  While I saw just a handful of these Santana shows, there were only a few standout moments for me as the short Phish sets didn’t allow for a lot of improv or stretching out beyond an 8-10 minute Tweezer or YEM set closer.  Stowe is obviously a highlight with Carlos sitting in and there is that cool Oye Como Va with Fish on vacuum (Hoffman Estates?), but I didn’t attend either of those.  There might be other cool stuff but since most of the Santana sets don’t circulate (they were strictly anti-taping), I’m not familiar with everything that went down on the tour.  So for me, easily the two highlights of the 7 or 8 Santana shows I saw were my first birthday show (8/15/92, Greek LA) and the Finger Lakes show which was a hometown show for me.

I don’t remember a lot about the Finger Lakes show, probably because I drank two 40’s of Crazy Horse malt liquor before the show (remember that stuff?!)  In fact, I remember almost nothing of the Phish set besides the idiot rednecks sitting behind us who kept telling me to “make my ‘girlfriend’ sit down and stop dancing” in reference to my friend Dave (The Duck) who had a pony tail.  Anyway, what I do remember was an unforgettable sequence of the Santana set where Trey, Fish and Page came out for a killer sequence of “Exodus”>”Elmore’s Boogie”(Elmore James)>”The Healer” (John Lee Hooker).  By that point we had moved up 10 rows from the ass hats and were now dead center on the floor.  The whole place came alive during Exodus and both the crowd and the band(s) on stage were just feeling it.  I looked and looked for a copy of this show for over 20 years without luck until about 6 months ago I found a source (two actually!) on dimeadozen.  I was almost in shock when I came across it as I had given up searching so long ago.  Does the tape live up to my memory?  Well, it’s obviously not as sick as watching Trey and Carlos trade licks on a Bob Marley track right in front of you (on Crazy Horse), but it is still super solid and worth a listen in my opinion.  Check it out:

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I couldn’t let the the 20th Anniversary of the first Red Rocks show go by without a quick post.  Spring of ’93 had some great shows,  but when we saw Red Rocks on the docket for the summer, we were overjoyed.  As most are aware, Summer ’93 was a breakthrough tour and the Red Rocks show is one of many highlights from what still proves to be one of the high marks of the band’s career.  I was able to catch the first three shows of the tour, plus Stowe, Jones Beach, Darien Lake, Wolf Trap, Chicago and my birthday show (Kentucky) but due to moving out to California at the exact same time, I wasn’t able to see as many of the shows as I would have liked.  In hindsight, missing the Murat is the one I regret most.  Every show from this tour has something killer to offer, but everyone was looking forward to Red Rocks as the show of the summer, and it didn’t disappoint.

We got to Denver a day or two before and set up camp at my friend Randy’s house in Boulder.  This house had been our home base for all the Colorado shows since ’91.  I had never been to Red Rocks before and so we went mountain  biking around there the day before the show.  Riding around the surrounding area got us even more stoked!  We woke up on show day and it was pouring.  Ugh.  We kept listening to the radio as the show was rumored to be moved over to McNichols Arena due to the rain.  Fuck.  Still, with no word from the radio or otherwise, we made our way over to the venue around 2PM.  It was still gray skies and off and on rain.  We pulled in and parked and even though this was the show of the summer, there was a little ticket shack in the parking lot still selling tickets 3 hours before showtime.  That’s probably the last time there were tickets available at Red Rocks on the day of.  We walked all around meeting up with folks and trying to stay dry and got to hear the soundcheck which was cool.  I don’t remember any songs being played but I remember Page trying out all these really cool synth sounds, some that I still have not heard again to this day.

Finally it was time to head in.  We had a group of about 10 of us and we walked in with a giant tarp.  We were in pretty early (there was no “mad dash” back then) and we walked to just behind the soundboard and claimed our space.  At this point it was POURING and windy so we made a shelter with the tarp and we all sat underneath it and hot boxed for like an hour.  It was all we could do.  Finally we got word that the show was indeed going on as planned:

 Set 1: Divided Sky, Harpua, Poor Heart > Maze, Bouncing Around the Room > It’s Ice > The Wedge, Ginseng Sullivan, Rift, Run Like an Antelope

Set 2: Also Sprach Zarathustra > Slave to the Traffic Light > Split Open and Melt, The Squirming Coil, My Friend, My Friend > Chalk Dust Torture, You Enjoy Myself > Purple Rain > Hold Your Head Up, Cavern

Encore: The Mango Song, Free Bird

As the opening notes of Divided Sky rang out, the skies parted and there was not single drop of rain for the rest of the show.  It’s an amazing version and everyone was in a state disbelief at the beauty of the venue.  The always welcome Harpua was trotted out in a rare second song slot and when they got to the “Look!  The storms gone!” line, the crowd gave a collective cheer.  This show was full of energy from start to finish.  I am not sure how much of it translates to tape but the place was just going off.  I felt like I was hanging on to the back of a rocket ship for the whole show.  There is great playing throughout.  The Wedge is one of my all time favorite versions and was fairly rare at the time having not been played at all on this tour (and not again for another 2 years).  The 4th ever version of Ginseng Sullivan was also great, once Trey got his guitar in tune!  The Rift and Antelope (listen below) was a solid way to close the set to say the least.  The band was obviously loving the venue as much as we were.

The mood during set break was festive and everyone was soaking up the atmosphere and tripping out on the lightning storms we could see over Denver– still, the weather was holding out for us.  The band came back on to open the set with 2001 which had debuted earlier in the tour and was already a crowd favorite.  This is a short and funky version that leads into my personal highlight of the show, the Slave.  An all-time version, this track had eluded almost everyone and was recently brought back the previous week at the Cincinnati Zoo.  I had seen almost 125 shows up to this point and had only seen one Slave so I was DYING for it.  When they dropped into it from the 2001, I was as happy as I have ever been at any show.  It was  true moment of bliss.  They nail the version too.  The rest of the show is great and has some amazing moments but the Slave was really where it peaked for me personally.  The YEM>Purple Rain is very, very good and I even liked Cavern on this night.  It was one of those shows that they could have come out and played only Cavern and it still would have been amazing (in my opinion).  Free Bird sent everyone into the night, giggling down the stairs in amazement of what we had all just experience.  This first visit to Red Rocks is a true highlight of all the Phish shows I have seen and I would easily put it anywhere in my Top 10.

Not too long after the shows, maybe in the Fall, a very low gen soundboard popped up.  The board is a little sterile in my opinion and does not convey spaciousness of the venue but it was still pretty crisp and we were happy to have it.  An MP3 download of that can be found here:  Lossless here:

For years and years I tried to track down an audience version of this show without success and I always attributed it to all the rain and wind and figure nobody got a good pull.  Well, one B&K source did finally pop up in the last few years and it is surprisingly good.  I think a matrix of the two sources might be a winner if someone took the time to do it.  The audience source is my personal choice, and it can be found here, in lossless:  Sorry, no MP3 link for that one.

Even the flatness of the soundboard can’t tame this Antelope: 

And the Slave deserves a listen any time this show is discussed: 

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OK…contrary to popular belief, I have not been abducted by aliens. While I thought I was for a second during 11/24/90 and I def was during 12/31/95,   this time I don’t have that good of an excuse for my lack of posts (unless kids and a job are what constitutes alien abduction these days).  Also contrary to popular belief, I have not run out of olden times shows to write about- in fact, I have been having a hard time deciding what show to feature next.  I figured I would ease back into it with a short post about the first show of  1995, Lowell Memorial Auditorium.  While I like to generally focus on earlier shows than ’95, this show was attended by so few people (compared to other ’95 shows) that I think it qualifies.

This was kind of unique show for a couple of reasons .  Number one, it was a Pro-Choice benefit and number two, it included some opening acts which is/was pretty rare.  Due to the fact that this was a pro-choice benefit, there was pretty major security.  It is the only show I have ever been to with a picket line and metal detectors.  Because of all of the nutty pro-lifers, you had to show up with ID and your ticket and get a bracelet at the box office.  There were no ticket transfers so you could not get a ticket outside the show, even if you wanted to.  Luckily, we went to the super secret NYC Ticketmaster (Rite-Aid on Delancey) and scored first row tickets (peep the stub above) when they went on sale.  The drive up to Lowell from NYC seemed to take forever. The Duck and I got there and met up with our friend Brooke (RIP) to all go in together.  The scene outside was crazy with the picket line, but we got our bracelets and made it through the metal detectors and into the show. We made it down to our seats on the right hand aisle of the first row in time for EBN (Emergency Broadcast Network).  EBN was actually kind of cool.  They were from Rhode Island and came put with a whole multimedia thing, big screen behind them and stuff.  I remember thinking it was pretty cool and interesting.  Kind of political if I recall.  Jennifer Trynin, I don’t remember too much of.  I think she came out and did a pretty benign acoustic set, but I could be wrong.  After that, it was time for the Phish, and in line with the day up until then, the set unfolded unpredictably:

Soundcheck: Tweezer -> I’ll Come Running -> Tweezer Reprise

Set 1Don’t You Want To Go?Ha Ha Ha > Spock’s BrainStrange Design,RebaTheme From the BottomHold Your Head Up > Lonesome Cowboy BillHold Your Head UpFreeGlide IIYou Enjoy MyselfSweet AdelineSample in a Jar

EncoreI’ll Come Running -> Gloria

It was kinda weird in the first row and nobody was dancing at first, plus we didn’t know any of the songs.  I might be remembering it incorrectly, but the security guards might have been asking us to sit.  Still, Ha Ha Ha was cool and it was great to help pick the name for Spock’s Brain. When they started Reba, people finally got up and started moving.  Recognized as one of the top Rebas ever played, this version is note perfect.  You can listen to it over and over and still be amazed by it.  The first ever Theme From the Bottom kept it going, and it’s a great version.  Lonesome Cowboy Bill was a welcome surprise in the Fish slot and more debuts followed in the form of Free (which I loved instantly) and Glide II (so killer).  A sweet trifecta of  YEM, Adeline and Sample brought the show to a neat close.  I wish I could say that I knew I’ll Come Running when they started it, but it was my two friends, Vinnie and the Duck that went nuts.  They were/are huge Eno fans and they called it in about 3 or 4 seconds.  I’ve really like it and wonder why they only played it this one time.   And Gloria Steinem came out on stage and they played Gloria for her which was obv sick too. People were digging it. All in all a very fun and memorable show.  This show was the launching pad for the next month’s Summer Tour and it got everyone primed for that and the monstrous Fall tour to follow. Back with some more posts soon!

Glide II might be my favorite track from this show: 

I love this debut version of Theme:  

And here is the encore, worth a listen if only for the rarity of these tracks:

MP3 Link to the whole show here:

10/7/89 Bates College, Lewiston, ME.

Happy New Year everyone!  Hope everybody had a great one.  I did for sure (and was paying the price for it the last few days…).  Had a blast at MSG and just landed back home after a 6 hour cross country flight (ugh).  Anyhoo, this was not a show I went to so I don’t have a lot (anything) to say about it but I have been wanting to throw this track up on the blog since the second Phish dropped this bomb on NYE.  Without further ado, have a listen to the Fly Like An Eagle Bowie.  Not as earth shattering as the 2012 full version, but still pretty cool.


5/10/91 Colby College, Waterville, Maine


This was a really fun show.  We got to the venue super early in the afternoon and it was a beautiful sunny day on campus. We got there and met up with the promoter of the show who was a student and lived in a teepee back up behind the venue in the woods.  It was a sweet teepee and we hung out there for a good part of the afternoon.  I always thought it was cool of Colby to let a student live in his own teepee on campus.   Earlier in the day, on the way to the show we were listening to a tape we had called “Private Party ’87”.  It was also labeled by some people at the time as 1/1/87. It turned out later to actually be the widely circulated and classic Ian McLean’s Farm show from 8/21/87.  We were listening to this on the way to show, blazed I’m sure, and the McGrupp comes on.  At about the 5:30 mark in McGrupp the song changes to what I was positive was a 1987 Chalkdust Torture jam.  Listening back now it is a little bit of a stretch but not entirely.  An hour or so after we get to Colby I find myself standing next to Trey at the urinals.  Being the loudmouth I am (and the noob that I was) I tell Trey all about the “Chalkdust” jam in the middle of McGrupp.  He just kind of looks over and says, “Huh? Chalkdust and McGrupp…” and walks off.  That night, what do we get during the middle of the second set but a McGrupp>Chalkdust!  The Duck and I bugged out!

Check it:

Set 1David BowieCavern > Ya MarDinner and a Movie > The SlothThe LandladyBathtub GinBuried Alive > The LizardsPossum

Set 2Golgi ApparatusHarry HoodWilson > Poor HeartFoamMcGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Chalk Dust TortureHold Your Head Up > Love You >Hold Your Head UpMike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

EncoreTake the ‘A’ Train > Highway to Hell

Pretty much a dream setlist in my opinion, I mean it’s almost irresponsible of the band to play that many sick songs back to back!   The venue itself was very cool.  Super small with a wrap-around balcony off the floor and a higher one that Duck attached his mics to.  Bowie is one of my favorite openers and this one has a long drawn out intro.  At the time it seemed like the longest intro ever.  By the time Golgi started the second set we were out of our heads and needed some fresh air.  The Duck and I headed outside and laid on the ground outside of the venue listening to the music and watching the stars spin.  It was during Harry Hood that one of two girls walked past us as they were leaving the show and uttered the uber-classic line “I wish they would play some music you could dance to.”  We majorly cracked up for a good five minutes and headed back in for the rest of the show.  It was shortly thereafter that they dropped the McGrupp>Chalkdust and of course I made sure to take full credit for it.  The rest of the second set was awesome and I remember the Weekapaug bass intro being particularly nasty.  Back then an A-Train>Highway to Hell encore was just another day at the office for the Phish but we still soaked it up for all it was worth.  A great night and worth a listen for sure.  That night we all camped out before driving to Burlington for the last ever shows at The Front.  Sleeping in a field under the stars (which were still spinning) was an amazing way to finish the night even though we woke up with soaked sleeping bags and freezing.

Check out the “bucket of lard” Mike’s Groove: 

Also check out the McGrupp from 8/21/87 with the purported/imagined “Chalkdust” jam.  Even if it is not a Chalkdust jam, it’s bitchin’: 

The Duck had borrowed our friends DAT deck and Schoeps and got amazing pulls of this night and the following two.  Of course, his mom threw them away by mistake (my mom only ever threw away my 10th  row Halloween ’96 tickets).  I still have the analogs and should transfer them but at this point there are not a lot of great AUD sources for this show (that I know of).  The soundboard is OK, but a little sterile in my opinion.

MP3 (sbd) can be found here: