Show #39: 2/20/88

The Alpha Tau Omega house at St. Lawrence University.

Saturday, 02/20/1988
St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY

Soundcheck: Golgi Apparatus

Set 1: Funky Bitch, Golgi Apparatus, Peaches en Regalia, Take the ‘A’ Train > Possum,Phase Dance, Good Times Bad Times, Skin It Back, David Bowie

Set 2: Wilson, I Didn’t Know, Fluffhead, Fire, Fee, You Enjoy Myself > Divided Sky, AC/DC Bag > Whipping Post, Slave to the Traffic Light

Encore: Big Black Furry Creature from Mars

One of the major perks of being a college band is that if you get popular enough at your own school, people visiting will want you to play their school as well. So, Phish’s traveling college gigs began here, playing a frat party at St. Lawrence University, deep in the Adirondacks in Canton, New York. Only 120 miles away but with no direct route, the journey takes just over 3 hours. But a gig is a gig, and you never know if it will lead to more. So off they went to play this pledge party. A little different than Otis Day and the Knights, eh? With Phish being in new territory, we don’t get too much new stuff. “A Train” has a very nice transition into “Possum”. The “Possum” is super tight here. “Skin It Back” is the set 1 highlight with an excellent building jam. “Skin It Back” ends oddly enough with “We’re gonna take a short break.” but is followed by “David Bowie” and listed as Set 1. I believe this is an error. “Bowie” has an awesome dissonant jam at about the 5:40 mark. The ending is also very clean.

Set 2 opener “Wilson” has some interesting effects at the 4-minute mark. I think they’re from Mike but it is unclear. “I Didn’t Know” is sans trombone. “Fluffhead” is extremely well-played with some fun banter from Trey, including him asking people to clap along. “YEM” is shown going into “Divided Sky” but it’s just more of an awkward transition on tape. The rest of the set is fun but nothing exciting. “Slave” cuts off before the peak. A third set was played but does not circulate, except a locked down video of “Big Black Furry Creature from Mars” that no one has seen. A solid show on new ground but no must-listens here. Much like the recent Jazz Fest set, a solid show if nothing else. It just goes that a standard Phish show is still better than most bands’ best nights.

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