Show #101: 5/6/1989 Collis Center Cafeteria Dartmouth College Hanover, NH

Saturday, 05/06/1989
Collis Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH

Set 1: You Enjoy Myself >  I Didn’t Know,  Mike’s Song >  I Am Hydrogen >  Weekapaug Groove,  Esther,  The Sloth,  Possum,  Bold As Love,  AC/DC Bag,  Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird,  David Bowie

Set 2: Donna Lee,  Suzy Greenberg,  Contact,  Fire,  Harry Hood,  Golgi Apparatus >  Slave to the Traffic Light,  Divided Sky

The exterior of the Collis Center at Dartmouth.
The exterior of the Collis Center at Dartmouth.

This is the band’s second show at Dartmouth, having made their debut at a co-ed house on Fraternity Row on 1/28/89, on their way home from the triumphant Paradise gig. It’s interesting that Dartmouth only pops up at this point. I would think that such a major school so close to the Vermont border would have been easier to book, especially maybe with some crossover with Amherst. Maybe the word of mouth just hadn’t travelled that yet.  Dartmouth would remain a stop on Phish tours until 1991. Phish played this show at the Collis Center, the student center on the corner of Massachusetts Row and Route 10A, the main drag through town. The building dates from 1901 but don’t go looking for it exactly how Phish played there, it has since been renovated in 1993. There’s no longer even a cafeteria in the building. The photo posted is believed to be the space they performed in, which with its woodwork, would have made an epic setting for Phish.

The space that would make sense to be the old cafeteria at the Collis Center.
The space that would make sense to be the old cafeteria at the Collis Center.

The show is pretty solid and much easier to listen to than the previous night at Hamilton. It kicks off with a solid “You Enjoy Myself”, nothing outstanding but worth hearing for the copy uploaded was at some point erroneously dubbed over with Blind Faith. It’s always fun to hear audibles and clearly Trey throws one be going into “I Didn’t Know”, as Page seemed ready to play Esther. “IDK” with a complete vacuum solo follows and Fish is really starting to find his stride on the unique instrument. A swinging “Mike’s Groove” follows. “Mike’s” builds to a blistering peak with great organ work from Page and a hot lead from Trey with him starting to show off his signature sustain. Be sure to put emphasis on the “Groove” because it’s really starting to cook like it should. Trey does a narration taking the crowd from Weekapaug, RI to Gamehendge. This leads to a trio of Gamehendge songs, “Esther”, “The Sloth”, and “Possum”. “Esther” is strong with a great outro from Trey. “Bold as Love” splits the Gamehendge sets with a solid version that drops a lot of Trey’s attempted effects. Trey gets a request for “The Tire Song”, which Trey pushes aside. “WE’RE NOT GONNA DO THE TIRE SONG!,” he exclaims. Fish teases “Time Loves a Hero” while Trey banters. “Bag” is pretty short and to the point. “Forbin’s>Mockingbird” is fantastic and includes a brief narration, which was unusual at this point. Set 1 ends with a rocking “David Bowie” that unfortunately cuts off before the peak. This feels like an unusually long first set, potentially due to its pacing as it is actually only 94 minutes.

Set 2 kicks off strongly with the best “Donna Lee” so far. Those nights as the Johnny B. Fishman Jazz Ensemble were really paying off as the whole band is really showing the 4-headed monster mode they would perfect, nailing the tight head section of this bebop classic. It is a must-listen. “Suzy” is nothing but “Suzy”. Phish finally plays “The Tire Song” aka “Contact”. More mid-set Hendrix with “Fire” almost acting like a mid-set energy boost. Phish nails a glorious “Harry Hood” with a nice slow build. After “Hood”, Trey mentions that Phish will be playing an all-ages show at the Paradise on June 9th, a show that is not on Phish.com or Phish.net. He also says that Phish has a guestbook/mailing list in the back. A solid “Golgi” goes into “Slave”. The “Slave” here is interesting because the outro is effectively Mike-centric with him throwing little bass fills over Page while Trey just lays down some sustain and feedback and to end the song they just let everything dissipate to send the set. There’s a cut in the tape but it’s clear “Divided Sky” is the encore. Page says how Phish has to take off, not really giving a reason but they come back for more music after a pause. They also find Kristen Tierney’s wallet and get it back to her, which is nice. The recording cuts off midway through the peak of the song but we do get some fine displays of Trey learning to use that sustain again. All in all, a solid showing for the Ivy Leaguers on this one. I’d give it a spin.

Advertisements

Show #97: 4/27/1989 Memorial Union Building, UNH Durham, NH

Thursday, 04/27/1989
Memorial Union Building, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

Set 1: Golgi Apparatus,  Jam[1],  The Sloth >  Divided Sky,  Sanity[2],  I Didn’t Know,  Alumni Blues >  Letter to Jimmy Page >  Alumni Blues >  The Lizards,  Whipping Post

Encore: Contact,  David Bowie

[1] Often referred to as “String Changing Nature.”
[2] Fast version.

The outside of the M.U.B. as it appears today. Probably has had modifications since 1989.
The outside of the M.U.B. as it appears today. Probably has had modifications since 1989.

Back on 11/11/88, when Phish played the Stone Church in Newmarket for the first time, Trey plugged someone’s show at the “MUB”. Trey asked what that was, not knowing. Here, about 5 months late, Trey gets the full answer as Phish plays the pub at the M.U.B, or Memorial Union Building at the University of New Hampshire. UNH would prove an important place in the band’s career until the school no longer had a venue large enough for the band after 1994. With total enrollment of about 15,000 students, this bastion of young people, combined with its proximity to both Boston and Portland, ME made it an ideal location for the band. This show was booked by the UNH Outing Club and played in the pub within the union building. The pub has since been removed as colleges would move away from alcohol on campus sometime during the 1990s. I checked out the floor plan of the MUB but did not find a space which seemed to suggest a pub location. I may check with some UNH alumni and see if they remember the location. I will update this post if it can be determined. As for the show itself, there’s not much that stands out. A fun jazz jam by Mike, Page, and Fish while Trey replaces a string is cool. Mike throws some banter over the top. “Sanity” is the fast version again. “Lizards” has Page experimenting with counter-melodies along side Trey during the “If I Were A Dog” outro. “Whipping Post” has a cool jam that takes it easy instead of pushing it over the top. Lastly, “David Bowie” has a fun intro with the band saying thank you to the crowd. The ensuing jam is also well-played. A solid gig but again nothing too noteworthy other than establishing a fan base at UNH.

Show #84: 2/18/89 The Stone Church Newmarket, NH

Saturday, 02/18/1989
Old Stone Church, Newmarket, NH

Set 1: The Sloth,  Divided Sky,  The Curtain >  I Didn’t Know,  Colonel Forbin’s Ascent >  Fly Famous Mockingbird >  The Lizards,  Walk Away >  Possum,  Good Times Bad Times

Set 2: Golgi Apparatus,  Wilson >  Peaches en Regalia,  You Enjoy Myself >  La Grange,  Slave to the Traffic Light,  Contact,  David Bowie[1]

Set 3: Whipping Post,  Corinna,  AC/DC Bag

Encore: Fire

[1] “Fish’s Birthday” lyrics.

The Stone Church in Newmarket, NH
The Stone Church in Newmarket, NH

I’ll probably say this a lot more but in over 1600 shows, you’re bound to get a few where that’s just not a lot going on. This is one of those shows. The tape quality is not very good and the playing just isn’t as hot as you’d expect. This is the second of 2 nights at the Stone Church. It’s more notable for what we don’t get here. The first night Phish debuted a new song called “Split Open and Melt”, a song that would quickly become a fan favorite. But we’ll never know what that first version was like. Even Phish.com says 2/17/89 is not in their archives at all. Aside form that, it is exciting to hear a larger crowd in the Stone Church. Clearly, Phish was brining a good audience in on a Saturday night. The lone highlight here is the band doing a birthday version of “David Bowie” for Jon Fishman. The following day was Fish’s 24th birthday and the band replaced UB40 with Fish’s Birthday as the lyric and then yelled for him to do 100 pushups. Fish apparently did do some push-ups after “Bowie” but with the tape cut, we’ll never know. Still an interesting snippet since we just celebrated Fish’s 50th.

Show #80: 12/17/88 The Stone Church – Newmarket, NH

Saturday, 12/17/1988
Old Stone Church, Newmarket, NH

Set 1: Divided Sky,  You Enjoy Myself >  Slave to the Traffic Light,  Foam >  Possum,  Colonel Forbin’s Ascent >  Fly Famous Mockingbird >  David Bowie

The Stone Church in Newmarket, NH
The Stone Church in Newmarket, NH

The last show of the year almost feels like an extended encore. We only have one set to work with but it’s a strong set, full of Phish favorites. The sound on this is just fantastic, almost like it’s taken straight from Junta but we do have introductions from Trey to make sure we know it’s a live recording. “Divided Sky” hits a blistering peak with soaring leads from Trey. Trey banters about the new album and the album AFTER the new album. “Our FIFTHcoming album,” Page says. Not to be confused with their forthcoming album being the joke. “You Enjoy Myself” has a really nice jam beginning at the 10-minute mark. Serious early funk. “Slave” had a decent peak but still work to be done. The interplay in “Foam” continues to improve and is slowly becoming the whole band showcase it will be. The “Bowie” here is top notch and really finds some true jamming. The intro continues to get extended, hitting that more modern feel. Around the 5:30 mark, Trey hits the “Secret Language” trill, which he still uses today to say he has an idea. He then plays an tight solo over the top that leads into a nice little stop/start jam. They also have nice full band riff towards the end around the 11-minute mark that is on fire. Really showing strides as moving as unit on this version. Overall a lovely set for 1988.

Top 5 of 1988:

Now for my top five shows of 1988. This will included whenever we reach the end of a year. I will merely rank and link to my reviews. No need to retread what has already been written.

5. 11/3/88
A polished Boston debut

4. 5/24/88
Early out-there jamming

3. Colorado ’88
An important step for Phish

2. 12/10/88
Only one cover is huge. Also it’s below the radar status means it needs some love.

1. 7/23/88
Pete’s Phabulous Phish Phest is a night for all-time.

Show #78: 11/11/88 The Stone Church – Newmarket, NH

Photo credit: The Stone Church
Photo credit: The Stone Church

Friday, 11/11/1988
Old Stone Church, Newmarket, NH

Set 1: I Didn’t Know[1],  Good Times Bad Times,  You Enjoy Myself,  Possum,  Fluffhead, Take the ‘A’ Train,  David Bowie

Set 2: Golgi Apparatus,  Colonel Forbin’s Ascent >  Fly Famous Mockingbird,  Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen >  Weekapaug Groove

Set 3: Mr. P.C.[2],  Fee,  Bold As Love,  The Lizards,  Whipping Post

[1] Carl Gerhard on trumpet.
[2] Carl Gerhard and Russ Remington on horns.

When you’re a touring band starting out, you’ll play in any room that will take you. When you’re an upcoming band in New England, fortunately that includes the Stone Church in Newmarket, NH. Since 1969, this former Universalist meeting house built in 1832 has been a haven for live music. Besides Phish, the many artists that have graced its tiny stage include Buddy Guy, Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, John Scofield, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and a whole host of others. It’s unique location, a small town placed between the University of New Hampshire and the bustling seaside city of Portsmouth, gives the venue the crowds they need to be successful. This will also give the gig a more relaxed feel because it’s not in the high-pressure world of the Boston music scene. The venue remains a stalwart of the jamband community to this day.

Photo Credit: The Stone Church
Photo Credit: The Stone Church

As for the show itself, we don’t get a lot of it. We get a very solid “David Bowie” from set 1. A forgettable “Mike’s Groove” from set 2. Though I will say the “Weekapaug” is striding towards its formidable modern form with a faster pace than before. After Weekapaug, Trey advertises a gig of Savoy Truffle and Ollie and the Patriots at the M.U.B. Trey doesn’t know what M.U.B. is right now but we’ll all find out soon in the band’s career. Most of the meat is in set 3. It kicks off with a lovely cover of John Coltrane’s “Mr. P.C.” featuring future Giant Country Horns members Russell Remington and Carl “Gears” Gerhard. Unlike the always present “A Train”, “Mr. P.C.” foreshadows the band’s desire to speed up tempos in future gigs as this one is played at full “hard bop” speed and it’s a delight. A real look at how the jazz chops were as important as the rock chops. This, I think, is a key factor in what made Phish stand out among other bands. Like the Grateful Dead before them did with bluegrass, they took these jazz influences and fused them to progressive rock in ways no one had yet and these old jazz standards show the importance of that. The rest of the set is pretty similar to previous gigs. I wouldn’t say these tracks are must listen but the importance of the Stone Church in the band’s history can’t be understated. Of course, having a giant “Terrapin Station” sign over the bar and stained glass windows of Jerry Garcia and Frank Zappa couldn’t of hurt either.