Tag Archive: Ithaca

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:  http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=e64969679d601a07ab1eab3e9fa335ca0ec1e67c75b556f4

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

11/22/92 Bailey Hall, Ithaca, NY

Of the 35 or so shows I saw in 1992, this one ranks near the top. People were fired up for the Fall ’92 shows because the whole summer tour was 45 minute sets opening for Santana with only a handful of headlining shows. This was a hometown (at the time) show for me and the venue was a 15 minute walk up the hill. It was snowing a little bit that night and there was a pretty good crowd outside on the steps and surrounding area. I had an extra ticket and traded it for a sweet batik that I still have. The venue was also sweet and we were in the middle of the floor for the first set. The crowd was pretty pumped the whole way through except for Ben Weinstein who screamed “Put Suzy on the backburner” in between songs when the crowd got quiet. Even back then, kids were hating on repeats. Incidentally, Ben also happens to be the guy that directed the 2/14/91 State Theatre video for public access TV. This show is pretty well known for the Tweezer and the Eleanor Rigby YEM but there is plenty of other good stuff too:

Set 1: Buried Alive, The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, Fee -> Maze, Reba, Sparkle, Horn, All Things Reconsidered, Bathtub Gin, Sweet Adeline, Run Like an Antelope
Set 2: Axilla, My Friend, My Friend, My Sweet One, Tweezer -> Big Ball Jam -> Tweezer, Tela, You Enjoy Myself, Faht, Golgi Apparatus
Encore: Bold As Love, Carolina, Tweezer Reprise

For the second set we moved back a little bit and then I went into the hallways for the Tweezer through YEM until the debut of Faht, which was cool.   The hallway at Bailey Hall was great, there was a ton of room and you could hear perfectly. The encore was great, especially for my friend Tracy who really was leaving for South Carolina in the morning, and because Bold As Love made another appearance after being played earlier in the week for the first time in forever.  We were always calling for it in ’90 and ’91 but never getting it so everyone was stoked when they brought it back after a 300+ show gap or something crazy like that.

So anyway, Fee->Maze is  a classic combo that the band played often, especially in ’92. The versions from this show are both winners and the transition between the two is seamless. The megaphone reappeared in the tour opener earlier in the week after a 2 year layoff, and they brought it out again at this show. The first time (and last time before this tour) it had appeared was at the 10/1/90 show in Ithaca which I’ll be posting about in the future. The Maze is just freaking blazing.  Give it a listen:

MP3 Link for the whole show is here: http://www.mediafire.com/?sharekey=e64969679d601a07ab1eab3e9fa335cae79030095f9a8df0

Also, even though the ticket clearly states “And Special Guest…” there was only one band that night.