Show #73: 9/13/88

Tuesday, 09/13/1988
Sam’s Tavern, Burlington, VT

Set 1: Walk Away,  Funky Bitch,  You Enjoy Myself,  Flat Fee,  McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters >  Wilson >  Peaches en Regalia,  Good Times Bad Times

Set 2: Ride Captain Ride,  Boogie On Reggae Woman,  Cities >  Dave’s Energy Guide > Cities,  Run Like an Antelope,  Fluffhead

Set 3: Jam,  Andy’s Chest[1] ->  Big Black Furry Creature from Mars ->  Dave’s Energy Guide ->  Big Black Furry Creature from Mars,  Sanity ->  Jam[2],  Fire

[1] First known Phish performance.
[2] Fish on vacuum; first known public occurrence of Fish playing the vacuum.

Night 2 at Sam’s Tavern and what a night for history. The only problem is we don’t have the tapes. We only have the first two sets minus the “Good Times, Bad Times”. This is a total bummer. I wonder if it was another case where the taper had to leave early or if it was the tape was destroyed or lost. We may never know or maybe Phish Inc. is sitting on it waiting for a historic reveal. Only one man knows and I unfortunately am not that man…yet. Let’s focus on what we do have and end with what we don’t have. Phish.com lists Set 1 and 2 as one long get where Phish.net breaks it up. It is unclear not he recording as “Peaches” seems to go right into “Ride Captain Ride” but that might just be due to the loss of “GTBT”. The first set is pretty “Smokin’!” as Trey said at Mont Alto. Two opening rippers int he for of “Walk Away” and “Peaches”. A “You Enjoy Myself” almost played at half-speed. I can’t tell if this is them learning it in anticipation of recording it (for Junta) or a tape imperfection causing playback at a slower speed. Might even be both. It’s definitely a candidate for slowest “YEM” yet. A quick spin through “Flat Fee”. This is interesting because it will be the last performance of “Flat Fee” until the Giant Country Horns tour of 1991. It may be a short jazz tune but it is dearly missed and I can’t wait for it’s return. This “McGrupp” forms a wonderful early showpiece for the stylings of Page McConnell almost taking on a modern “Squirming Coil” feel. The 1st set highlight though is the pairing of “Wilson” and “Peaches”. Right when Trey would normally break in to the “Boom Blat” lyric, he instead yells out the drum into to “Peaches” and it’s a beautiful early segue.

Set 2 kicks off with a trio of covers. First, we get a “Ride Captain Ride” that’s well played but has botched lyrics. The only performance of 1988. Then after a request of “Aborigine Women?” per Trey, he deciphers it for Stevie Wonder’s “Boogie On Reggae Woman.” This is not a very good version and the band rightfully shelved the tune afterwards. While common today and a huge fan favorite, this would be the last performance of the song until 12/7/97 in Dayton, OH. Hopefully, they’ll hit it better after almost 10 years of practice, right? Another nice performance of the “Cites>DEG>Cities” combo but nothing outstanding. We get the first “Run Like An Antelope” since Colorado. This is important because it’s a 19-show gap for the song, the 3rd longest. We’ll have one more long one in 1992, so fortunately for me I like the song and can’t wait to see where it goes. This version gets very jazzy during the build-up and Fishman’s drumming seems a little more erratic, which is fun to listen to. “Fluffhead” ends the recording and gets cut off before it can finish.

Now let’s talk about what’s missing. We’re missing an untitled jam that would have been cool to see unstructured jamming from 1988 before songs could go “Type II”. We’re missing the only known version of Lou Reed’s “Andy’s Chest”. This is the last song by Reed performed by the band until 1995, taking the Velvet Underground influence away until formally acknowledging it in 1998 with Loaded. We’re missing an I’m-sure-wild performance of “BBFCFM>DEG>BBFCFM”. Some real punk rock potential there. The big missing puzzle piece here is the jam out of “Sanity”, which is the first known performance on the vacuum by Fishman. Fish playing the vacuum has become such a huge piece of lore that it has it’s own line of Phan art. Crosswalk signs with him pulling the vacuum would become seen everywhere. It won them the battle of the bands at the Front later.It was the centerpiece of this past New Year’s gag. It would be amazing to hear what that first solo sounded like or the crowd’s reaction to such a wild idea.  Again, I’m not sure if we’ll ever know what it was like and that makes this historian a little sad. This however does earn 167 Main St. a place on the Phish history map.

UPDATE: So, I told Kevin Shapiro about an error on the 9/13/88 setlist page of Phish.com. It listed “Ride Captain Ride” as “Mystery Train”, two totally different songs. Not only did he fix that but confirmed “Ride Captain Ride” as the Set 2 opener. I’m gonna leave my original test as is but it has been updated on Phish.com.

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