Show #48: 5/15/88

“We’re gonna have a 5 minute pause while we re-gas the generator.” So says Mike here.Those odd remote gigs in the Vermont wilderness. Should have taken my break after reviewing this show for the laugh factor. Anyway, a recent post on Phantasy Tour seemed to fit nicely with the thoughts for today’s show. The post was that new material is the key to good Phish. The recent influx of Fuego songs seems to have put more fuel on the fire and the band is playing one their best tours in years. Taking this walk through Phish history I can definitely say I agree. I’ve been getting similar setlist after similar setlist for a while now. They’re all tunes I adore but some new blood would be helpful. But Trey says new songs are on the horizon so they must be coming!

This show was part of an event called the Vermont Farm Festival in Hinesburg, VT. A Google search for that term only shows this performance, so it’s unclear what type of event it was. Phish.com says that Ian McLean threw the party. Hinesburg is not really known for anything. It’s not a ski town. It’s only about 20-30 minutes south of Burlington. My memories of Hinesburg is I had a camp friend from there when I was a kid and we used to drive through it on the back way to Burlington, sometimes stopping at Papa Nick’s for lunch. Not exactly riveting memories. This show is rely if you want to know what seeing Phish play a friend’s house or a wedding the 80s was like. Not having a real soundcheck so all adjustments have to be made on the fly as shown by all the breaks to do so. 

This show is more about banter highlights than musical highlights. The mics are open and live and catches some great moments, such as the generator comment mentioned earlier. It catches Trey asking someone to make a beer run after “Peaches en Regalia”. It catches Trey talking about his glasses falling off during “Fluffhead”. It catches Fish saying they always open with “Golgi” and Trey defending it. It catches a great bit about a lost dog. A great gag where Page is getting off and has forgotten everything about the show so far. If you love to hear the band having fun with an audience, this is the show for you. 

Not that there isn’t any great music here. We get a hot “Good Times, Bad Times”. A gorgeous early “Lizards”. The “AC/DC Bag>Possum” is no slouch. A really fun “McGrupp” with Fishman on trombone for the outro. A great “The Curtain With”. “Wilson” is getting closer to resembling its now world-famous form, still does not have the E chord intro though. A wild, dissonant version of “Take the A Train”. My favorite track of the show is “Harpua”. Unlike the late, rambling Harpuas fans have come to know and love, this is a very straightforward telling of the story. The other interesting part is Poster Nutbag is described as just as mean and ugly as Harpua. So instead of innocent Poster Nutbag, they are two evil creatures destined to face off. The outcome remains the same. This is a very solid 1988 show and I would recommend it to get a feel for the band at this time but not a must-listen. I would probably put it just below the Colorado ’88 shows.

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