Show #94: 4/20/1989 The Zoo (Humphries House) Amherst, MA

Thursday, 04/20/1989
Humphries House (The Zoo), Amherst College, Amherst, MA

Set 1: AC/DC Bag >  Fluffhead[1],  You Shook Me All Night Long Jam >  Fluffhead,  Fire, Esther,  Suzy Greenberg,  The Sloth,  Possum,  McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters -> Foam,  David Bowie

Set 2: Divided Sky,  Walk Away,  You Enjoy Myself >  Split Open and Melt[2],  The Lizards, Mike’s Song >  I Am Hydrogen >  Weekapaug Groove,  Love You[3],  Harpua

[1] Fire alarm interruption.
[2] Fish drum solo.
[3] Fish on trombone.

The Zoo (Humphries House) at Amherst College.
The Zoo (Humphries House) at Amherst College.

This would be the last time Phish would play a Full Moon party at the Zoo as manager John Paluska would graduate from Amherst that spring. Oddly enough, this is the first time the band played on April 20th. At the time, however, it did not have the implications of marijuana use now associated with the day. That would not come into fashion until about year later, maybe two. So no amazing extended Makisupa. What we do have is a very solid top-to-bottom show here. The beginning and end get cut off so we jump right into “AC/DC Bag” in progress. The “Fluffhead” gets cut right at the beginning of the “Clod” segment as the fire alarm goes off. The band returns and jams on the chord progression of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” segueing easily into “Clod” to finish the “Fluffhead” it’s perfect and classic Phish. At the end of Fluffhead, Trey reminds the crowd has to be cool because if the fire alarm goes off again, the show is over. Be cool about “whatever” you’re smoking. Page takes the crowd’s suggestion go smoking outside. Sage advice that could be imparted today. Trey than dedicates Hendrix’s “Fire” to the hard working people who turned off the fire alarm. Trey tells Paul, he doesn’t know about Paul but Trey came during that one. Then Mike’s asks for Paul’s duct tape. Trey introduces “Esther” as a Gamehendge song, but on the outskirts of Gamehendge. The song here is the best yet, hitting the right tone and tempo for the song with flawless playing on the outro by Trey. This version soars. “The Sloth” has that weird outro still. “McGrupp”, while not outstanding is very solid here as is the “Foam”. A “Bowie” highlighted by strong dissonance from Page closes Set 1. Page is playing very opposite Trey but leading the jam at the same time. You can hear Trey following Page at times. It’s a very interesting early jam.

Set 2 kicks off with a solid, if note heavy, “Divided Sky”. After “Walk Away”, despite a very vocal request for “A-Train”, the band knows better and busts out “You Enjoy Myself”. The “YEM” never really hits the spot though. The vocal jam drops into “Split Open and Melt”. The “Melt” here is much more solid than the last one but still contains Fish’s odd drum solo. It really hurts the flow of the song. It also is closer to the standard tempo but still a little slower but not as bad as 4/15/1989. The “Lizards” and “Mike’s->Groove” are standard but solid. The “Weekapaug” does pack a little extra punch with falling lines from Page and Trey that are gorgeous. Fish busts out Syd Barrett’s “Love You” for the first time since 10/31/87. It feels like a step backwards from “Undun” and “If I Only Had a Brain” but it is at least much clearer now.

The clear highlight of this night though is Harpua. “Sounds to me like the song you want to hear begins with an ‘Oom Pa Pa’, says Trey, words that still make any Phish fan fill with delight. I still would love to know what those were. Anyway, they riff on combining the song with the Allman Brothers’ “Whipping Post” before going right into “Harpua”. Trey launches into the story, talking about Harpua, leading to Trey telling that someone had shot Marley in the ass recently. He then proceeds to describe Harpua and Jimmy’s cat with each having a non-shot-ass, repeating the phrase over and over, until Mike yells out “LET’S HEAR IT FOR NON-SHOT ASS!” The band then jams on “Non-Shot-Ass” for a short bit and it’s hilarious. We get the first time Trey leads up to introducing the name of Jimmy’s cat in a huge build-up, similar to Icculus. During the buildup, the band riffs on Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin'”. Trey also yells out “MY GOD!” several times, to which Mike responds “HIS GOD!”, a great back and forth adding to the theatrics. They do this a few times during the song. There’s also a tease of Ninja Custodian’s “The Price of Love” right before the fight between Harpua and Poster Nutbag. As always, Poster is killed in the fight and the song ends with it’s great rock opera finish. Man, I will always go for a “Harpua” and this one stands out as one of the best, if only for Mike and Trey riffing off each other. Just a good overall show made better by an outstanding track.

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