(Photo credit: Phish.com)
Address: 188 Main Street Burlington, VT
Shows at this venue: 12/1/84
Notable song debuts: Slave to the Traffic Light, Cities, Skippy the Wondermouse (early McGrupp), Fluffhead
Status: Still standing. Most likely renovated since Phish played there.
Can you visit it? Yeah. Buy tickets for an upcoming show at http://clubmetronome.com
I probably don’t need to go one too much about the importance of Nectar’s in Phish history. However, it is important to note that this show, one of the earliest bootlegs to circulate, didn’t happen in the main room downstairs. It happened upstairs in the space now known as Club Metronome. The 3rd gig billed as Phish, this show also marked the formal start of the band as many treasured tunes still in the Phish catalog came out of this show. First fan Amy Skelton recalls Phish playing many other shows upstairs at Nectar’s but this is the only one currently on record.
(Photo credit: Sabrina Hood/VT Cynic)
Address: 420 S. Prospect St. South Burlington, VT
Shows at this venue: 11/3/84, 5/31/85, 9/27/85, 10/20/85, 11/2/85, 2/28/86, 11/14/86, 2/21/87
Notable song debuts: Camel Walk
Status: Still standing. Lightly renovated in 2014-16.
Can you visit it? No.
The first Phish venue to have some real history, Phish played 8 shows in the basement of this UVM dorm starting on 11/3/1984. This dorm was built in 1928 and designed by McKim, Mead, and White, the architects behind such grand buildings as the original Pennsylvania Station, Boston Public Library, and Burlington City Hall. Slade Hall is currently different from other dorms in that it has operated as an environmental cooperative since 1981. Many of Phish’s environmental directives, such as bringing Greenpeace on tour earlier in their career and the work of their WaterWheel Foundation, most likely stem from Trey’s time as a resident of Slade in the fall of 1985. However, the Slade Cooperative is under threat as renovation work has stopped and the former residents are being asked to merge with another dorm. You can find out more at SaveSlade.com. As of now, Slade Hall remains under construction so no visitors are allowed.
Address: 69 Grant Street, Burlington, VT
Shows at this venue: 10/23/84
Notable song debuts: Makisupa Policeman
Status: Private Residence
Can you visit it? Walk or Drive by
The previous two shows, the band was billed as Blackwood Convention. It was here on Grant Street, in Burlington’s Old North End, that the band played their first show as Phish. Sandwiched between North Winooski and N Union Street, the band actually played the garage whose roof can be seen on the left of this photo. The show also boasted the band’s first show poster; a flyer advertising the gig. As it is a private residence, I would suggest not visiting but walking by after picking up Heady Topper at Pearl Street Beverage, located just around the corner from this spot.
Address: 31 Spear Street, Burlington, VT 05405
Shows at this venue: 12/3/83
Status: Open but Renovated in 2007
Can you visit it? Sort of.
The next day, Phish moved one residence hall block over to Marsh/Austin/Tupper Halls. Not much else is known or even where they played. Again, as with any UVM property, you would need to be escorted by a University of Vermont student or staff member to visit and wouldn’t be very exciting. Another one to just drive by and wonder.
Address: 67 Spear Street Burlington, VT
Shows at this venue: 12/2/83
Status: Open but Renovated in 2009
Can you visit it? Sort of.
This unassuming brick building is where the band started it all. It was in the cafeteria of this University of Vermont dorm where Jeff Holdsworth, Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, and Jon Fishman played their first show together. Harris-Millis was finished in 1971, a mere 12 years before this show. The show was believed to be a holiday ROTC dance that ended with the fans turning up a recording of Thriller rather than letting the band finish. Phish.com circulates this photo of the event and a short recording, the only public evidence of the gig.
Don’t go looking for that spot these days though. The cafeteria was renovated with larger windows in 2009. So yes that spot still exists but it does not look the same. To visit this site, you’ll need an escort from a current UVM student. It is unknown if Harris/Millis is on any UVM admission tours. In other words, admire from the distance of a drive-by.