Shows #46 and 47: 4/22/88 and 5/14/88

Friday, 04/22/1988
University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

Set 1: I Didn’t Know, Golgi Apparatus, The Lizards, Fee, Shaggy Dog, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, You Enjoy Myself, Suzy Greenberg, Ya Mar, AC/DC Bag -> Possum,The Ballad of Curtis Loew, David Bowie

Set 2: Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird, Fire, Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues > Run Like an Antelope,

Hey I’m back! I went a little catatonic listening to 4/22/88 but I’m reloaded after hitting the first 6 shows of the current Summer tour and ready to get back on the Horse, despite it missing from the band’s rotation. These two shows are really more about banter than the music. 4/22/88 is anther UVM Earth Day gig. Highlights include a smoking “Antelope” to close the show, a great early “Forbin>Mockingbird”, and a “Fire” that just shreds. At the end of “Fire”, Trey introduces some songs “coming soon”, “The Tires” (now known as “Contact”), which Trey calls “hot”, “The 4-Track Song” (now known as “Poor Heart”), and “Marijuana Hot Chocolate” (now known as “Foam”). These songs clearly were not ready in time for the next gig either as they do not debut there. The reason I went crazy listening to this show is the Fluffhead through Harpua versions on PhishTracks are IDENTICAL to 3/11/88 and I thought I was losing my mind. Fortunately, seemed to agree even though they are still listed on the setlist. When you listen to hours of Phish and you find an identical track, it’s a little scary.

Saturday, 05/14/1988
Goddard College, Plainfield, VT

Set 1: Fire, I Didn’t Know[1], Halley’s Comet[2] > Light Up Or Leave Me Alone, You Enjoy Myself, The Lizards, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Jesus Just Left Chicago[3],Fluffhead > Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, Take the ‘A’ Train[4]

[1] Richard Wright on drums and additional vocals. Fishman on trombone.
[2] Richard Wright on additional vocals.
[3] Bobby Brown on harmonica.
[4] Carl Boyle on saxophone.

5/14/88 has more in common with 2014 Phish than you would think but listening to it along side the recent shows gives you the feeling that Phish is still the band we know and love all these years down the line. This show is more about being silly and banter than other shows. Much like the end of 7/27/14 from Merriweather Post, the band here has fun with the performance. Trey dedicates “Big Black Furry Creature from Mars” to Walter Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan. Trey sings “Who is She?” to Marley, a precursor to the band’s publishing company. He also asks “Who’s the Mar-Mar?”, a phrase that would find its way to the headstock of one of Trey’s Languedoc guitars. Playing bits of .38 Special’s “Rockin’ into the Night” and Argent’s “Hold Your Head Up” before playing the set closer. In an even more direct link, Trey introduces Fishman as “Moses Heaps, Moses Brown, and Moses Dewitt” again and at the 7/8/14 show at the Mann, Trey still called Fishman these nicknames. Who remembers that 26 years later? Obviously, friends with a deep connection and history. It’s these little quirks that reveal how tightly woven the band is and how integrated the history is. The music here is pretty weak. The main highlight is a smoking “Light Up or Leave Me Alone”, an interesting Page led section after the “Bundle of Joy” section of “Fluffhead”, and a honking sax guest spot on “Take The A-Train”. Just as today, sometimes Phish is serious business or sometimes it’s just 4 goofy guys having fun with each other and an audience. Here’s to more fun.

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