, attached to 1988-02-08

Review by SlavePhan

SlavePhan The second of a two-night stand at Nectar's, this would be the last time that Phish would play just two nights in a row there for several months. There is a large crowd for this show, as evidenced by the AUD (which is a C, by the way). While this show is very similar to the previous night's show since the band only had a handful of material at this point, I feel that this night is probably a touch better than the night before, but both versions are representative of the period.

Set one is a setlist that I would absolutely consider a dream if the band were to play it today. Despite the wonderful appearance on paper, this first set is, genuinely, standard across the board. Slave is a shining spot in this set, with a very nice build by the band and wonderful work by Page. I like the A-Train here for Mike's nice long bass solo which features him playing with a bit more confidence. Following a standard Golgi, the band breaks into what is the best performance of Phase Dance. Clearly, the band had been practicing this song and it is quite amazing to hear how identical Trey sounds to Pat Metheny here. If you want to find one version of this cover, this is where you should look. The band tears Fire a new one (as they had been during this time period). While YEM seems like an ideal closer, the jam is slightly slow and lunky - nothing to write home about.

The second set starts off with a brief HYHU tease before the full Fluffhead (which the audience recognizes). This would be the beginning of the full version of Fluffhead coming to prominence. Very infrequently would the band buck the trend of playing the whole composition together (Bundle of Joy would pop up sporadically, and the band flirted with the individual songs in the fall of 1989). However, from this point onward, Fluffhead would remain at x>10 minutes. I love the arrival section of Fluffhead here. A very drawn-out version of Wilson follows which stops and the band quickly plays Peaches (although not really a true >). After a short version of Divided Sky, the Lizards features that wonderful bridge section that is absent today. It sounds like a nascent NICU to my ears. An absolutely raging Antelope commences the set. The first version the band had played in 5 months is chaotic, noisy, and incredibly intense. Not only does it contain pure Trey-driven chaos, but the keywords here are "Moses Heaps and Moses Brown". It must have been an absolute sight to see in a small bar.

A funky, short, and embryonic Sloth opens up the final set. After a very very short Flat Fee, the band responds to an audience member's request for Dinner and a Movie. It has shortened since its last appearance in November, but really rages. While I prefer the longer version, this shorter version that we all know still packs a punch. I love this version of Hood. It is patient, features amazing work by Trey, excellent backing by Page, and also drops down before the closing chords in a wonderful dynamic sequence. It is pure tension and release and works unbelievably well. In some senses, it seems like one of the versions the band would play in 94, albeit with the limitations of 1988 equipment.

The Bike here is funny for a couple of reasons. Firstly, mid-way, Fishman forgets the lyrics and the audience calls him out. Secondly, he breaks into a verse of Love You after Bike. He then plays a rousing trombone solo. After an audience-friendly Fee, and a soulful JJLC, the band closes with a raucous BBFCFM to send everyone home in a frenzy.

Picking and choosing from this show and the night before will give you a nice collection of early 88 versions of songs. The Phase Dance here is clearly the best version that they perform before they drop the song later in the month. I like the energy of Fire in the first set too. If you haven't heard the wonderful extra 45 second bridge in Lizards, check out this version. Otherwise, the Antelope and Hood are great early versions, worth at least a once-over.


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