Show #71: 9/8/88

Thursday, 09/08/1988
The Front, Burlington, VT

Set 1: Peaches en Regalia >  Walk Away,  Slave to the Traffic Light,  Wild Child,  AC/DC Bag, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent >  Fly Famous Mockingbird,  Bold As Love

Set 2: Possum,  You Enjoy Myself,  Cities ->  Dave’s Energy Guide >  Cities,  Good Times Bad Times,  On Your Way Down >  Whipping Post

Another week, another gig at the Front. As it’s still the top played venue in Phish history, we’re gonna have a lot of these. Not a lot to talk about with this show. It’s solidly played top to bottom. Phish t-shirts had clearly been around before this gig as they’re seen in photos from the Colorado road trip and there’s the legend that at the March 12, 1988 Frank Zappa show at Burlington’s Memorial Auditorium, he hung one on the clothesline on stage after a fan handed it to him. Much in the grand tradition of Phish Dry Goods, Trey doesn’t hesitate to tell the crowd they have new t-shirts available at the soundboard after a hot “Slave to the Traffic Light”. More things change, the more they stay the same. I wonder if it was just logo shirts or some unique design. Unless someone out there has one sitting in mothballs, we’ll never know. After this announcement, we get the last every played “Wild Child”. This Lou Reed tune was last played in 1985, making it a very early “bustout”. You can really hear the band on the verge of breaking in “Bold as Love”. It’s just fantastic and on par with any other version, clearly its band had the chops for something. After “Bold”, Trey announces home movies coming up.

Set 2 kicks off with a raging “Possum” and then it’s movie time. Trey, about to tell Paul a suggestion, decides to tell Paul “You know what you’re supposed to do.” It’d be interesting to find these movies and sync it up. I wonder if it was the band or actual old home movies or if they found random home movies. The most notable thing about this is shows the band was experimenting with making their live show more of a spectacle. The inkling that would fuel their holiday shows and festivals was a glimmer in the band’s eye from the very beginning. “Cities->DEG->Cities” is a combo that we’ll see a lot of over the next month. Very interesting that the band’s repertoire is growing but Set 2 closes with 4 covers in a row. Maybe trying to harness them for a growing fan base? We’ll see but they’re played well. This show had a Set 3 but apparently the taper had to catch his ride home! Too bad, might have been historic! I would have opted to sleep in my car that night instead. I know you can get away with it on Pine St. around the corner, pretty easily, at least 15 years later…

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