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.

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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.