Category: 1990

1/28/90 The Front, Burlington, VT.

This isn’t a show I attended, but it was one of the earliest tapes I had.  This was one of the very first shows that both sets circulated widely as a soundboard.  Usually we had one set or the other, so it was great when the soundboard of the complete show came around shortly after the show.  Unfortunately, the analog tapes we got back then sounded better than the multi-gen source that ended up getting digitized years later.  Since it is coming up on the 22 year anniversary, I wanted to do a short post to highlight a track I wish they would bring back.  I will do a complete review of the Front when I showcase a show that I attended there, but here is the setlist from this night:

Set 1Suzy GreenbergSplit Open and MeltTela > FluffheadLa GrangeCarolina,Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird > Communication Breakdown

Set 2Wilson[1]Run Like an AntelopeBouncing Around the RoomCaravanThe Squirming Coil > You Enjoy Myself > Bathtub GinMike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen >Weekapaug Groove

EncoreLawn Boy > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars[2]

Obviously a hot setlist and this show is worth seeking out.  It was one of my favorites back in the day and showcases a band in transition (tons of youthful energy, not too much polish). Some good olden times banter too. Of note is the first ever “heavy metal” Wilson to open the second set and a very early (3rd ever version) of Bouncing Around the Room.  It is the first set closer that got me to put this show up, Communication Breakdown.  Only played four times (three of them in a row from this week) they tear through it.  While it is definitely a little sloptastic, they make up for it with raw energy.  You know the pit at The Front was popping off when they dropped into this one.  Check it out:

MP3 of the whole show can be found here:

12/31/90- World Trade Center, Boston, MA

This show was kind  of a bust for a few reasons.  That said, it is a New Years show so it does have some historical significance.  That said, it kinda sucked.  The New Years run in ’90 consisted of the 12/28 show at the Marquee in NYC (which I saw), and a 12/29 show at the Campus Club in Providence (which I skipped).  Both shows are pretty hot by 1990 standards and I think each were longer than this one.  That is my main gripe with NYE 1990– it was disappointing to say the least that the ENTIRE show was 2 hours long.  Two sets, one hour each. Grrrrrr……I definitely blame Chucklehead, “the opening band that would not get off”.  A local Boston funk band, we knew them from the scene and they were known as a “decent” funk band, but their set went on and on and on.  And on.  It was almost comical.  I want to say they played for two hours, it was redic.  So that was strike number one.  The venue itself was a non-descript event hall (still is) and was just a big room, no seats, with some bars in the back.  I stayed at the bars for most of Chucklehead getting primed for teh Phishes.  The show itself was pretty crowded but it was barely sold out.  When we arrived an hour or so before doors, there were kids lined up waiting for the box office  to open so they could get “day of” tix…..I doubt that is happening this year (or has since).  This was also the site of the first “real” Phish NYE, the band having played here the year before on 12/31/89 (DJ Bagel Boy’s first show as a matter of fact.)  Also, the ticket called for “Creative Formal Wear Requested” but most people ignored that.  The band did get dressed up though and there are some good pics around of that, I think some are in The Phish Book.  So, non-descript venue, random crowd energy and an opening band that would not stop was not exactly setting the stage for a bomb drop. It’s kind of ironic that the actual poster for the gig is a picture of a trainwreck.  Still it was not all that bad.  At least there was a bar.  Still, I can’t fault the boys, they gave it their all (as usual).    The playing is actually pretty decent for the most part, it was the venue that blew.  Here’s the set:

Set 1: Suzy Greenberg, Divided Sky, I Didn’t Know, The Landlady, Bouncing Around the Room, My Sweet One, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove -> Auld Lang Syne, Buried Alive > Possum
Set 2: Golgi Apparatus, Stash, The Squirming Coil, Runaway Jim, Magilla, You Enjoy Myself, Rocky Top, Hold Your Head Up > If I Only Had a Brain > Hold Your Head Up > Run Like an Antelope

What’s that you say?  I forgot to add the encore?  Ummmm, actually, management turned the lights on during the middle of Antelope and ended the show.  Yes, that’s right.  A two set New Year’s show with no encore.  The flyer says 2AM.  2AM my ass.  The first set clocks in at a cool 55 minutes. The second set tries to break the 1 hour mark and does so by about 30 seconds.  You could tell the band was pretty disappointed. I know I was.  Still, the playing contained in those two hours was good with some inspired parts and some of that special New Years energy sprinkled throughout.  For instances, the Runaway Jim was the best one to date in my opinion.  I’ll also take If I Had a Brain any time I can get it, and believe it or not, Magilla was a highlight.  I have a feeling they will be bringing that back soon.  At least they should if they know what’s good for them.  The YEM is mucho bueno too….

Unfortunately, the source that widely circulates is a little sped up.  I have normal speed tapes on analog, but this one is a tad fast.  Still, worth a listen for sure and sort of representative of the tapes we would get in olden times.  Sometimes too fast and sometimes too slow but we were happy to get what we could:

Here is the NYE Countdown->Auld Lang Syne (recorded version, only time they did that)->Buried Alive->Possum.  I think there is a tape flip between the ALS and Buried Alive because it is super abrupt, but the Possum is a ripping 9 minute version:

Here is the Magilla, I am hoping they dust it off soon:

And here is the Jim which reaches some lofty heights by the end:

Gobble, Gobble motherfuckers…..Years before Worcester was the place to be on Thanksgiving, the Capitol Theatre in Portchester (or Port Chester) hosted  some great Turkey Day blowouts….This was perfect for me as my parents only lived 20 minutes from the theatre.  While we never got a 60 minute Runaway Jim or a Wipeout-laden slaughter fest like Worcester, the Thanksgiving shows at the Cap were always a killer time.  Following an opening stint for Blues Traveler on 10/6/90, Phish returned for their first headlining gig on 11/24/90.  This would be the first headlining show of 6 the band would play at this storied venue (plus the 10/6 opening slot show).  I was lucky enough to attend them all.  The Capitol Theatre was a historic venue, having hosted countless GD shows and others in the 60’s and early 70’s.  When I was growing up, it was mostly a movie theatre (I saw the AC/DC movie there.)  Situated right in the middle of downtown Portchester it was a snap to get to by car or train.  It bordered Connecticut so a lot of New England peeps would come, but it was also only a half hour train ride from NYC so there was a great mix of people.  I loved it because I could rock Las Brisas restaurant before the show, and still buy beer after the show (which was a no-go in Connecticut). There was always a pretty raging scene outside the venue and around the train station as well, which was pretty uncommon for the time.   It was fairly small and intimate by today’s standards, and the balcony and the lobby were both always rocking.

11/24/90 was pretty rad.  It was a huge place for Phish, the biggest I had seen them in up until that time, and I would be seeing them 2 days later on 11/26/90 in a venue a third of the size.  It was definitely a leap for them and signaled a change in venue size that would continue to grow for the next several years.  Listening back, the show itself is a bit uneven, but it still has some choice cuts:

Set 1Buried Alive > Possum[1]Foam > Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen >Weekapaug Groove[2]The Squirming Coil > The LizardsThe Oh Kee Pa CeremonySuzy Greenberg > David Bowie[3] Set 2LlamaBouncing Around the RoomStashEliza > The Landlady > Runaway JimYou Enjoy Myself > Hold Your Head Up > Love You > Hold Your Head UpGood Times Bad Times[4]Big Black Furry Creature from Mars[2] EncoreLawn BoyDivided Sky

Buried Alive->Possum (with major Manteca teases) is a great opener and a mid first set Mike’s had the place rocking.   The first set closing Bowie is probably the set highlight.  Divided Sky in the E2 slot, also caught everyone by surprise.  Check out these cuts from the show:

A  burning early version of  Llama opens the second set and features a Buried Alive tease:

The Good Times Bad Times is way more bad than good and it’s pretty funny to hear the band abandon it and head for the BBFCM….flubs aren’t just for 3.0, kids….:

MP3 of entire show is here:

After an awesome spring show at the Cap (4/27/91), the band headed back for what was now an annual Thanksgiving tradition and delivered this show on 11/30:

Set 1GlideLlamaFoamSparkleDivided SkyCavernThe Squirming Coil >BrotherPaul and Silas > Guelah PapyrusYou Enjoy Myself Set 2Chalk Dust TortureUncle PenHarry Hood[1]It’s Ice > Bouncing Around the RoomMy Sweet One > HornI Didn’t Know[2] > Run Like an AntelopeGolgi Apparatus EncoreContact > Rocky Top

Of all the shows at the Cap, this one might be my least favorite, but there is some very decent material including an almost 21 minute YEM to close the first set.

The Antelope from the second set kicks some major ass and contains a very early Simpsons tease:

MP3 of entire show here:

I don’t have any ticket stubs from 11/24/90 or 11/30/91 because the Capitol Theatre was always a great place to pull the “I ordered my tickets from Ticketmaster and they never showed up in the mail…” deal….You would give them your order number or show them your credit card receipt and the nice little old lady would take out some blank Ticketmaster ticket stock and hand write the date and show for you and give you new “tickets”.  Then we’d go sell the real tickets or give them to our friends.  For some reason I didn’t end up with any of the handwritten ones in the long run, which is too bad because they were cool.  TM wised up after that, but I remember doing it for 6 tickets on 2/6/93 Roseland and that was the last time.  Anyway, I do have stubs for the next year’s two show Turkey Day blow out which were probably my two favorite shows at The Cap:

There is so much to like about both of these shows.  Almost everything is well played and both of these shows are definitely worth seeking out in their entirety.  The 27th was Jimi Hendrix’ 50th birthday and it was a hot show:

Set 1Rift > Wilson > Divided Sky > Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird > Split Open and MeltLawn BoyRebaLlama > MoundMemories,Runaway Jim Set 2AxillaPoor Heart > PossumGlide > It’s Ice > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > I Walk the Line > David BowieThe Horse > Silent in the Morning,FahtTake the ‘A’ Train > Cavern EncoreBold As Love

The first set starts out hot builds until a little rest with Lawn Boy.  Best ever Forbin’s>Mockingbird narration?  You be the judge:

Second set starts of with a new track Axilla and features semi-rarities I Walk The Line and Faht.  The Bowie is killer and has some McGrupp and Ring of Fire teases.

The Bold As Love encore was sick as hell.  In honor of Jimi’s birthday, Trey proceeded  to play between his legs, behind his back, behind his head and with his TEETH.  It was insane and unforgettable.   Check it out and imagine Trey playing this with his teeth:

The 28th brought the heat as well:

Set 1My Sweet OneFoamStashEstherChalk Dust TortureSparkleFast Enough for You > All Things ReconsideredMike’s SongI Am Hydrogen >Weekapaug Groove Set 2Suzy Greenberg > Paul and Silas > Tweezer > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu MalkenuMazeThe Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday Bouncing Around the RoomThe Squirming CoilLove You > Hold Your Head UpHarpua,Golgi Apparatus EncoreContact > Tweezer Reprise

My Sweet One starts things off but is interrupted quickly by equipment issues.  Fast Enough For You, in it’s fourth appearance, is well played as is All Things Reconsidered.  I love Mike’s Groove’s as a first set closer and this one is no exception.  Great way to wrap up the set and set the tone for Set 2.  The set two  Tweezer is awesome and the Harpua brings us back into Fish’s brain. My first Harpua since 5/9/92 and I was fired up.  Trey brought his Grandmother out on stage and danced with her during Contact, it was cool.  All in all, this was an amazing weekend at the Cap and the last time the band would play here.

Check out the Tweezer:

and this dope Harpua:

mp3 of the 27th here:

mp3 of the 28th here:


There is a soundboard that circulates of both the 27th and the 28th, but for the 27th, the Neumann FOB is the one to grab:

There is a U87 pull from the 28th that rocks, but Elliot Byron’s Nak 30o source is also worth grabbing:

10/6/90, Capitol Theatre, Portchester, NY

Tomorrow being 10/6, I figured I would throw up a quick one from the first time Phish played the Capitol Theatre.  I’ll get more into the significance of the Capitol Theatre when I showcase a full, headlining show from this venue in the future.  I first went to the Capitol in 1982 or 1983 when I went to see the AC/DC Let There Be Rock concert film, which did indeed rock.  This was a somewhat “hometown” show for me as my parents lived right over the border in Connecticut.  My friend Jeannie worked at Utopia (local head shop) where they had a Ticketmaster outlet.  She got me the first ticket out of the computer (check it out above), front row center.  Stoked!  Unfortunately, this was not a headlining gig and Teh Phish was opening up for Blues Traveler.  It’s interesting to look back at the paths each band has taken, but at this time, BT was the hottest thing going on the jam band scene (to most people) with Phish and Spin Doctors battling it out for second.  Funny how things change…..Anyway, this was pretty hot for a one set show and they closed with the debut of the Popper/Anastasio tune “Don’t Get Me Wrong”.  A pretty straight-ahead rock tune, they only did this one three times…

Check it out:

A pretty cool rocker, but nothing insane….gets kind of funky halfway through and ends with a pretty slick vocal jam and a trombone squawk from Fish.  Not a bad start to a venue they would be headlining (and destroying) only 5 weeks later on 11/24.  The Blues Traveler set was pretty decent too as crowd energy was high and they hadn’t burned everyone out on their set yet….

MP3 of the whole set can be found here:

Not sure if that is the soundboard or the AUD, both circulate….By the way, $16 for a ticket was insane for this time period but BT had to pay for their fancy bus….

11/26/90 The Haunt, Ithaca, NY

Yikes…Been a really long time since the last post….Just when I thought I was recovered from the Gorge Rock and Roll, I got walloped by the Denver run….Anyway, I’m almost back to normal and I have a ton of good stuff on deck….Where to start with The Haunt?  A classic venue if ever there was one.  Along with Keene, NH and Northampton, MA., Ithaca was becoming a home away from home for the band around this time.  Phish played The Haunt no less than five times in 1990.  While I was lucky enough to live 5 blocks away during this time, I only caught the last two, 10/1 and this one, which ended up being the last time Phish would be able to play such a small place in Ithaca.  I’m calling capacity of the old (it has since moved to a larger room) Haunt at 250-300 max.  When Phish came back in February for the State Theater show, there was at least 3 times as many people in attendance.  Admission for the Haunt shows was always $5, no advanced sales, just line up and hope you make it in.  By the time they had come back for the fifth time, the secret was out and people were being turned away.  I tried to find some  pictures of the old venue (as is customary with this blog), but could not find any anywhere on the net, only pics of the new one (which looks way wack in comparison).  The original Haunt was just a little kind of house located right downtown at the back of a wide alley, which made for a good hangout before and during the show.  This is what it looks like now:

As you can see from the size of the building, the place is/was freaking teeny.  It is probably the smallest place I have ever seen Phish except maybe Nietzches in Buffalo or Club Quattro in Japan.  I would be really surprised if 300 people could fit in there.  You would walk in and be immediately facing the bar.  There was a small back area to the left and if you went right, it was about 100 feet to the stage and only about 50′ wide.  When Phish played there, the place was jam packed.  It was just a hot, hot, sweatbox and the kids in Ithaca around this time were going insane for Phish, as you can hear on the tapes.  It kind of reminded me a little bit of the Front but was a good deal smaller.  The best part about the Haunt was that they hosted some national acts ( a lot of reggae) and because of that, they had an amazing sound system.  It was so loud in there, just in your face with nowhere to run, kind of like CB’s because you were just packed in so tight.  In fact, I think CBGB was very close to size of the Haunt, so if you ever went there, you get the picture.  The stage was about 3′ tall, if that.  You could just stand there with Trey’s guitar two feet from your face and blow huge weed hits in his face.  It rocked.

Set 1: Landlady > Runaway Jim, Sloth, Reba, Buried Alive, You Enjoy Myself, Paul and Silas, David Bowie -> Mo’ Better Blues -> David Bowie

Set 2: The Divided Sky, Makisupa Policeman, Llama, Uncle Pen, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird, Wilson, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen >Weekapaug Groove, HYHU > Whipping Post > Hold Your Head Up, Fire

Encore: Contact, Highway to Hell

There is a lot to like about this show, I mean look at that fucking setlist…..Highlights include an early Manteca during the great YEM vocal jam (the original YEMteca?) and possibly my favorite Bowie intro ever.  It’s short, but I could listen to the Mo’ Better Blues section of that intro on a loop for-flippin-ever.  The shows at the Haunt were always about the energy, so hopefully some of it comes through on tape.  There is a great Schoeps source taped by Dan O’Neil, but copies of it that circulate widely are a fairly high gen.  Still, the sound is pretty good, just not as good as the copies we got the week after this show.

Check out this HYHU->Whipping Post->HYHU which features some great drumming from Trey and some shitty (but uber-rare) guitar playing from “Bob Seeger” (who’s original vacuum was on it’s last legs):

The first encore of Contact is pretty worthy too:

MP3 of the whole show is here:

Could not find the lossless on etree, but it should be coming up soon for Project ’90….

6/17/90 Wendell Studios

When I started this blog yesterday, I thought 1) I probably wouldn’t post every day. 2) I probably won’t post shows in chronological order and 3) I’d try not to post tracks from shows I did not attend.  That said, I also figured I better get some more tracks up here quickly or it was going to be a pretty boring blog.  So, in chronological order from the show I posted about yesterday, here’s a show I did not attend.  Not only did I not attend it, but it’s not even a show.  The day after the Townshend show, the band headed down to Beantown for a recording session at Wendell Studios.

From that session, here’s an early version of Rift:

and great version of A-Train:

You can find a lossless version of the entire session at:  There is a bunch of other great stuff on there….

6/16/90 Townshend Family Park

Might as well kick off this blog with a track from 21 years ago today, which also happens to be my first show.  Townshend Park was a great place to see a concert.  Surrounded by green mountains with a river running through it, the place was simply beautiful.  People were tubing down the river the whole show, and if you didn’t have the $9 to get in, all you had to do was wade across the river and you were in.  On site camping and mini golf added to the awesome factor.  Weather was great and so was the show- 3 sets starting around 2PM and ending before sundown (no lights).  I think there were probably about 600 or 700 people there, which was a big show for the time.  The band played up on this weird little porch thing that I thought was going to collapse during Good Times Bad Times.  A highlight of the show is this set two closing Antelope.  Check it out:

Download the whole show here:

Handbill from the show....