Show #62: 7/25/88

Monday, 07/25/1988
Nectar’s, Burlington, VT

Set 3: Skin It Back,  Harpua,  Big Black Furry Creature from Mars,  Sanity

Encore: Icculus,  Camel Walk

“We’d like to do a little Jimmy Buffett now.” A short show today as Set 3 is all that exists of this one. However, it’s still an important show in fact for some fans this show contains the first live tracks they might have ever heard. The set opens with a nice “Skin It Back”. The band’s really grooving here. Page lays down a real nice bed of Hammond organ and then Trey and Mike push and pull on top of it in a deep groove. We then get “Harpua” dedicated to Paul Languedoc. Trey changes Jimmy to Paul in a playful way. Mike also gets Page to riff on alternatives to goldfish such as crawfish and halibut. This “Harpua” is also played at a much slower than usual pace adding odd tension to the song. “Big Black Furry Creature for Mars” comes next and it has Mike really having fun with the audience. “TAKE IT RIGHT AROUND!”, Mike yells and Trey drops into a punk rock “Theme from the Flintstones” as he yells “KEEP TAKING IT AROUND! PICK IT UP! PICK IT UP!” Never heard Mike so animated during this song as he’s a but more demure on current versions. After another verse, he turns his energy on the crowd yelling “HERE’S YOUR TURN TO SING ALONG! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” Mike’s shenanigans continue introducing “Sanity” as a Jimmy Buffett tune as quoted above. This is the version of “Sanity” that appears as bonus tracks on the Elektra CD re-release of Junta that most people know so well. This might have even been your introduction to live Phish. It’s a fairly straight forward version of Sanity but with a seat rumbling trombone solo from Fishman that’s quite impressive. “Thank you good night! How’s everybody doing tonight? We’re Jimmy Buffett, good night!”, Mike yells as the audience claps for more. Make me wonder what got into Mike that night. They come back on stage and Mike informs everyone that “We’re gonna lighten it up a bit” and we get the second track that appeared on the Elektra version of Junta, “Icculus”. “This is a special song, this is an important song,” starts off Trey. “This is a dance song,” interjects Mike, over clearly a beat to slow to dance to. “THIS IS RED ROCKS! THIS IS THE EDGE!,” continues Trey, riffing on U2. Mike throws in one last “Diarrhea” over the top. Icculus continues its build to the name of the author of the Helping Friendly Book, the book which could save your life like it did for the band, the great, and powerful, the one, the only, the man who wrote the FUCKING HELPING FRIENDLY BOOK, THE ONE WHO WROTE THE BOOK! ICCULUS! But I digress, it’s probably the definitive “Icculus” for most people as the song is extremely rare. The set closes with Mike’s “dance song” finally in “Camel Walk”. It’s a little sloppy but fun. Mike plays a lot of notes. Page thanks the crowd. Mike reminds people to tip their waiters and waitresses. Trey reminds people that Ninja Custodian will be playing there tomorrow night. The band then loaded the van and headed west on a great adventure. All in all, a very silly set from Phish before hitting the road. Probably, trying to get some of it out of their system before a long drive. We’ve got some big shows coming up. Due to the release of Colorado ’88, I will do my best to piece together the most accurate shows but it may prove difficult. It also may delay the next few posts. Thanks for reading.

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Show #45: 3/22/88

Tuesday, 03/22/1988
Nectar’s, Burlington, VT

Set 1: Harpua, Wilson > Peaches en Regalia, Funky Bitch, Golgi Apparatus, Suzy Greenberg, You Enjoy Myself, The Lizards, Good Times Bad Times, Happy Birthday to You[1], Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Icculus > Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird > AC/DC Bag

[1] “Dub” style.

The third in a 3-night stand at Nectar’s (Night 1 doesn’t exist on tape) finds again no jams here. That does’t mean this recording is a waste, in fact quite the contrary! We only have one set so there might have been more going on, but there’s some very nice selections here. The lead-off of “Harpua” is classic Phish. Trey gives an amazing band introduction. I wish there was video to see what he did during this. Mike also chimes in with his bike/clown horn, giving a glimpse at his know well-known goofy side. We get the basic narrative with no deviation and the classic story of the nice cat Poster Nutbag facing off against the mean dog Harpua here. The rock opera ending. It’s all here and played amazingly. “You Enjoy Myself” also slays all day. Again, not mind-blowing just tight perfectly performed compositions. “YEM” unfortunately gets cut off just before lift off but we follow it up with a tight “Lizards” featuring outstanding work from Page. It’s all going so well and then Trey begins the “If I Were A Dog” outro. And then….clapping? Seriously? One of the most beautiful pieces of music in the Phish catalog and the crowd starts clapping along. You think the Woos are bad? This is just disgraceful. Luckily, it didn’t stick or else I might just wait for Soundboard recordings. Yuck. The outro remains very nicely played though. The most interesting section closes the set. Trey announces it’s time to go back to Gamehendge and that they’ll skip the beginning and move to the middle. Hey begins to describe “Colonel Forbin’s Ascent” before asking if everyone knows who Icculus is? People respond no so Trey calls an audible and the band goes into “Icculus”. Now, most fans know Icculus as a silly song where it builds and builds as Trey eludes to who Icculus is. This version is the most straight version I’ve ever heard. Trey actually describes who Icculus is and why he’s important to Gamehendge. If you’re new to the song, this would be a great place to start. “Colonel Forbin” begins with the lounge singer/piano style intro. It’s interesting and might work in a small club but no surprise it eventually got dropped. It goes seamlessly into “Mockingbird” with no narration but again just change after change is getting nailed. The recording closes with “AC/DC Bag”. It has finally lost it’s intro, which is a shame because I dug the little funky intro it had. Alas, it is a bit more effective dropping to the main groove. The band starts to finally loosen up but then the cut. Who knows what delights the rest of the veining had but it’s a fun little glimpse into the waning days of Nectar’s.