Show #25: 8/9/87

Sunday, 08/09/1987
Nectar’s, Burlington, VT

Set 1: Golgi Apparatus > Slave to the Traffic Light, La Grange[1], Lushington[2] ->Possum, Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley, Timber (Jerry), Good Times Bad Times, AC/DC Bag, Shaggy Dog, Funky Bitch

Set 2: The Curtain With[3], Halley’s Comet > The Sloth[3], Light Up Or Leave Me Alone ->Skin It Back, Peaches en Regalia, Fluffhead, Fee[3], Harry Hood, Harpua[3], Suzy Greenberg

Set 3: David Bowie, You Enjoy Myself, Ya Mar, Divided Sky[3], Flat Fee[3], McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Corinna

[1] First known Phish performance.
[2] No lyrics.
[3] First known performance.

I can’t believe this is my 25th review already. So crazy and yet so much more to go. To give you the actually feel of where we are, it’s late summer 1987. Phish has actually played 69 known shows at this point, of which only 25 tapes survive or have been made public. So where does that leave us? Back at Nectar’s on a Sunday night. Unfortunately, we don’t have all of this show, leaving out many important debuts. However, we do have some solid tracks. Let’s go to the audio tape!

The show opens with the growing crowd favorite “Golgi Apparatus”. I’m not sure if that was true or not but they played so much, some folks most of liked it, right? It’s a well played version. “Slave to the Traffic Light” follows and it’s gorgeous but they still haven’t nailed the peak yet right. I’m stating to wonder how long that takes. Trey gets to be a rock star next as Phish slams through ZZ Top’s “La Grange”. Full on rock and roll mode here. A really tight “The Chase” comes next. The band is getting really good at this small instrumental and it rolls effortlessly into “Possum”. The “Possum” doesn’t hit great heights but is a rollicking version. “Sneakin’ Sally” follows and is pretty standard with a good vocal jam. “Timber (Jerry)” has a great fast tempo in this version, outstanding playing by Mike, and a great groove. “Good Times Bad Times” has more rock star Trey but more impressive is the rest of the group maintaining the rhythm underneath the deluge of notes. “Shaggy Dog” provides a much needed breather. The harmonies just keep getting better. “Funky Bitch” closes the set with a raging dance number. Perfect placement.

Set 2 unfortunately is cut short but we get some interesting debuts. First up is “The Curtain With”. Interesting enough is the song is presented in the exact same style as it is played today. No changes at all were made except for Page’s keyboard parts which are a little smoother going forward. The band pulls it off and it’s amazing. What a set opener! The mood lightens as “Nancy” comes to sing “Halley’s Comet”. “Halley’s” is fun but it does a really nice transition into the show’s other debut that we have on record. “The Sloth” is the penultimate song in The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday but here it’s a interesting short tune with intricate guitar and keys. Not the most epic version but a good start. Jam of the night goes to “Light Up or Leave Me Alone”. The last 5 minutes of the tune are a fun speed blues jam with the band ratcheting up the tempo and letting loose. An awkward transition reveals “Skin It Back”. The only problem is as soon as the song gets rolling. It fades out. We also miss several key debuts including “Divided Sky”, “Fee”, “Flat Fee”, and “Harpua”. The notes from Phish.com say the information comes from Amy Skelton’s tapes. Maybe it’s in the vault and Kevin Shapiro will surprise us with these treats. Another night Nectar’s tomorrow with the first two shows in a row!

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