Show #21: 4/24/87

Billings Library (formerly Student Center)

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1987-04-24

 Friday, 04/24/1987
Billings Lounge, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

Set 1: Golgi Apparatus, AC/DC Bag -> Possum, Fluffhead, You Enjoy Myself -> Dave’s Energy Guide, Punch Me in the Eye[1] > Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, I Am Hydrogen -> Who Do? We Do![1], David Bowie, Dear Mrs. Reagan > Slave to the Traffic Light

[1] First known performance.

This show celebrated the end of Earth Week at UVM as pointed out in the introduction at the beginning of the recording. Phish playing Earth Week had started to become almost tradition at this point. The building above is Billings Library, one of the signature buildings on UVM’s campus. It was the school’s original library until the construction of Bailey-Howe Library. Upon that, it became the student center until 2007 when the new Davis Center was completed. It will now house special collections. The show took place in the lounge, which makes up the round part shown above. I guess this makes this the first “Round Room” show.

The show opens with “Golgi Apparatus”. While late this song has been pushed aside, this sis a strong version. The key to this show is you can hear Phish moving towards their own sound and sound less and less like their influences. Trey asks Paul how it sounds but there’s no further banter. “AC/DC Bag” launches with it’s unique intro still in tact. I really dig Mike’s bass line at about 3:40 in. It has a neat little jam at the end that teases something but I can’t put my finger on it but it rolls so nicely into “Possum”, which also boogies hard. I’d consider this pairing a must-listen. A fun, tight “Fluffhead” follows but nothing extraordinary. “You Enjoy Myself” is not as well-played as 3/23/87 but it does have an interesting segue into “Dave’s Energy Guide”, with the ending vocals being repeated over the “DEG” pattern.

We then get the only ever performance of “Punch Me in the Eye”. Not to be confused with the popular “Punch You in the Eye”, it does have some similar lyrics but the music structure is completely different. Trey asks everybody to sing along with the falsetto vocals. The band giggles through, indicating the silliness of it all to start. However, the jam in the middle is quite intense and worth a listen. It’s a very interesting lost composed piece. Apparently, parts of it ended up in “Divided Sky” but I don’t hear the similarity. “Alumni>Jimmy Page>Alumni” comes up next. The only highlight being some “Possum” teases right before it goes into “Jimmy Page”. “I Am Hydrogen” comes back which is nice to give the crowd a little break. It’s also interesting because it segues into “Who Do? We Do!” “Who Do? We Do!” eventually becomes part of “Fluffhead” but in this setting it’s a gorgeous companion piece with some start/stop jamming. When the start/stop begins is when you’ll hear the part thats most recognizable. It’s typically played when Mike and Trey jump during “Fluffhead”. Trey introduces “David Bowie” next. This “Bowie”‘s a decent early Bowie. It didn’t blow my hair back but I was engaged. Snoozer “Dear Mrs. Reagan” comes out next. If I was at a show in the 80s, probably would have been my piss break song for real. The fans dig it though. The set closes with “Slave to the Traffic Light”. It’s pretty but still lacks the right peak. They’ll nail it one of these days. Next, one of my favorite early shows and probably the oldest show I had for a while until I discovered 12/1/84. You don’t want to miss this.

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Show #13: 10/12/86

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1986-10-12

Sunday, 10/12/1986
Haybarn Theater, Goddard College, Plainfield, VT

Set 1: Golgi Apparatus[1] > Slave to the Traffic Light, Wilson[1], Halley’s Comet ->Possum, Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley, Makisupa Policeman

[1] First known performance.

And so it begins, the first show in the classic Phish lineup; Trey, Mike, Page, and Fish. The band has also graduated from the cafeteria to the stage of the Haybarn theater at Goddard College. Trey and Jon have enrolled there to focus on music full time. Mike has stayed at UVM and is in his senior year. It’s an interesting time of change but it also has given the band freedom to focus.

The show kicks off with a debut of “Golgi Apparatus”. A now classic Phish tune, this version finds the band playing it at a slightly slower speed but the tune seems fully fleshed out with even the angelic composed section in the bridge. The final notes segue into “Slave to the Traffic Light” and it’s on this tune you can really hear the space that Jeff’s departure has given to Page. Page’s synth gives the song great tone and doubles well with Trey’s guitar. Here we get the signature interplay between Page and Trey. The peak still isn’t built yet but the potential is captured in the ending.

The band chooses to debut another new song and rolls into “Wilson”. It doesn’t yet have it’s two-chord intro and of course the chant wasn’t even a fan invention yet. The song also has Trey doing weird Bob Dylan style vocals again. Can you imagine of Trey had recorded all of Gamehendge as Bob Dylan? It would not have the gravitas for sure. The crowd however clearly enjoyed the song and claps along to the beat before Page’s solo. Page’s solo has some “When the Music’s Over” teases and a very Doors vibe which Mike picks up on. The song even includes the Blat Boom section albeit closer to the end. The band also pulls out another new one, albeit having been played a few times at this point, “Halley’s Comet”. They also bring out the song’s writer Richard “Nancy” Wright to sing it. This version has no frills but can be noted for the smooth segue into the newly arranged “Possum”.

“Possum” has been retooled after the departure of it’s creator Jeff. It’s less bluegrass stomp and more back roads boogie. It also gets a more sleek vocal arrangement opening up the chorus for more fun. Trey rips off a nice solo here. Mike takes over the lead and lays the groundwork for every “Possum” most people know. The night’s only cover follows next in “Sneakin’ Sally”. It’s fun but fairly standard. The vocal jam is the highlight. The recording closes with “Makisupa Policeman”. This version also takes its now current form, with a Qaddafi reference in the keyword section. The jam goes out there with some serious reverb and effects. Same as it ever was with Trey tweaking and learning his rig.