Shows #53,54, and 55: 6/19-21/88

Sunday, 06/19/1988
Nectar’s, Burlington, VT

Set 1: The Curtain With,  Funky Bitch,  Possum,  Golgi Apparatus,  La Grange,  Suzy Greenberg,  Big Leg Emma,  You Enjoy Myself[1]

Set 2: Good Times Bad Times,  Cities,  Alumni Blues >  Letter to Jimmy Page >  Alumni Blues,  Big Black Furry Creature from Mars,  Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,  Contact,  Run Like an Antelope

Set 3: I Know a Little >  Mike’s Song,  Corinna,  Rocky Top,  McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters

Encore: Jesus Just Left Chicago

[1] Vocal jam based on the word “down.”

Teases:
· When the Levee Breaks tease in You Enjoy Myself
· Theme from The Flintstones and London Bridge Is Falling Down teases in Big Black Furry Creature from Mars
· Iron Man tease

Hello and welcome back,

I have been on a bit of hiatus. My wife and I moved coast to almost coast from Boston, MA to Ellensburg, WA, which has pretty much turned my life upside down. Combine that with some very boring shows and it makes this a little difficult. But here I am ready to lay it down. The summer of 1988 appears to be an odd time for Phish. You can feel how important is to the band but they just haven’t had the right move yet. They haven’t had the burst of new material that will come in the next two years and also they haven’t moved past being Burlington’s best bar band. Out of 66 known shows with setlists, 62 of them came in the state of Vermont with 3 in New York and 1 in Massachusetts. The average amount of times each song has been played at this point is 7.68. Meaning that, I’ve heard each song about 8 times by now if not more since some are more in rotation than others.(Stats from ihoz.com)No wonder I have a bit of fatigue from hearing 1980s Phish. We must plow on however. 6/19 is forgettable. There are no necessary highlights here. It’s just an average night.

Monday, 06/20/1988
Nectar’s, Burlington, VT

Set 1: Slave to the Traffic Light,  Peaches en Regalia,  You Enjoy Myself,  Fluffhead[1], AC/DC Bag >  The Lizards

Set 2: Halley’s Comet ->  Wilson,  Ya Mar ->  Jam[2],  I Didn’t Know[3]

Set 3: Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley,  Tela,  Fee,  Golgi Apparatus,  Satin Doll[4] >  Take the ‘A’ Train >  Possum,  The Ballad of Curtis Loew,  David Bowie

[1] Lyrics changed to “sure got some Betty Davis eyes.”
[2] Jah Roy on vocals.
[3] Fish on trombone.
[4] First known Phish performance.

Teases:
· One Love, Three Little Birds, and Stir It Up quotes in Jam
· Theme from The Flintstones tease in Take the ‘A’ Train

6/20 is a little bit better. The first set is stacked with heavy hitters, Slave, YEM, and Fluffhead all in one set would make anyone crazy but even though the beginning is cut, the AC/DC Bag into The Lizards is excellent. Set 2 is for the reggae fans as we get another Jah Roy guest spot. It might have been a fun party at the time but musically and on tape it’s stale. Set 3 is very good though, especially the “Jazz” sequence. The band’s jazz standards are the most overlooked influence the band has. Everyone knows Pink Floyd, The Dead, Frank Zappa but their willingness to bring jazz to the table and play it well gies them a skill set many other bands lack. These early shows are fantastic for putting those chops on display and you can really hear how it makes the band much better. Try the “Take the A Train” here which is almost 8 minutes long and has a killer bass solo from Mike. The extended “Tela” also makes an appearance and the fugue in the middle which would be dropped is sublime. Really you should just check out all of Set 3.

Tuesday, 06/21/1988
Nectar’s, Burlington, VT

Set 1: Fluffhead,  Rocky Top,  Mustang Sally,  Suzy Greenberg >  The Curtain >  The Lizards, Fly Famous Mockingbird[1],  Fire

Set 2: AC/DC Bag,  Flat Fee,  Alumni Blues >  Letter to Jimmy Page >  Alumni Blues,  Jesus Just Left Chicago,  Good Times Bad Times,  Contact,  Peaches en Regalia,  Golgi Apparatus

Set 3: Harpua,  I Didn’t Know[2] >  Whipping Post

[1] Aborted and had to be restarted.
[2] False start, “Daubs” and “Seth” lyrics, Fish on trombone.

Teases:
· Dave’s Energy Guide tease in Fire

A few highlights here but for the most part, a standard show. My favorite segment was “The Curtain” going into “Lizards”. Exactly where the “With” segment would begin, it just hits all the right notes as it flows. “Mustang Sally” rips again in its unique Phish arrangement. Some people ripped Trey for flubbing “Fly Famous Mockingbird” at NYE last year but you can see it’s been going on for 25 years as he botches it well enough to have to start over. “Fire” also is played intensely and has an interesting “Dave’s Energy Guide” breakdown to close Set 1. “Flat Fee” makes a nice appearance here. A fan yells loudly for “Peaches” and Fish gives it to him, ripping to the drum intro and the band joins right in. A rare request granted. That’s about all of my highlights. Some might like the “Jesus Just Left Chicago” but I think it’s not a top version. Fans might also like the 25-minute “Whipping Post” but it really goes nowhere. It’s all tension and no release. It just fuels why anyone would want the band to cover Eat A Peach for Halloween. The band did it’s Allmans/Dead era here in the 1980s and clearly it’s time to move on.

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