Skippy and Fluffhead featured The Dude of Life on vocals. The jam after Camel Walk may have been Back Porch Boogie Blues. Spanish Flea included an introduction of the band members. Don’t Want You No More was not performed in its entirety, as it lacked the final lyrics. The lengthy percussion jam featured a guest appearance from Marc Daubert. Mike recalls that there were approximately 200 people in the audience. This gig featured the first known version of Slave to the Traffic Light and Fluffhead, the first known Phish versions of Fire, Don't Want You No More, Cities, and Skippy the Wondermouse, and the only known Phish version of Spanish Flea. This performance was on the upstairs level of Nectar's.
Noteworthy Jams
Debut Years (Average: 1983)
Song Distribution

This show was part of the "1984 Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1984-12-01

Review by SlavePhan

SlavePhan 12/1/84 Nectar's

For a very long time, many people believed this to be Phish's first show, simply because tapes of the Slade Hall and Grant Street shows from earlier in the fall weren't common. It was also impossible for phans to learn about the Harris-Miller ROTC show without the advent of internet-available interviews with the band acknowledging that 1983 gig being their first true show. The band itself didn't even know the true first date of their first show until sometime after 1998. This show was heavily circulated throughout the taping community (earning a 4.0 scarcity rating from TPC) and was easy to find in taper's lists, and, essentially fit the bill.

Two versions of this tape used to exist - one that fit conveniently on one-half of a 90 minute casette, and a full version. My version was the 1/2 version, and it wasn't until the digital upload of nearly every Phish show was I able to listen to a few of the songs left out.

The show starts off with a take on the Grateful Dead's Scarlet>Fire, with a Phish-y twist by adding Jimi Hendrix's fire in the middle. Trey takes a pretty lengthy solo in Scarlet, but his style is not much like what you hear today - it is heavily influenced by Garcia and Metheny and he has yet to find his own voice. Nonetheless, it's a nice solo and the band jumps into a rehearsed Spanish-Flea inspired transition into Fire. Fire also features a Trey solo, which is a bit louder and more like the Trey of today than the Scarlet solo, but pretty short. Following another Spanish-Flea transition, the band lays into Fire on the Mountain, the band's only cover of the song (unless you count the infamous 12/31/95 tease). They take their time with this song, and Trey's solo is much more melodic, but definitely heavily influenced by Garcia. Jeff Holdsworth is notably trying to find his way into these songs, but can never really seem to find the right place to sneak in, but this is still a very nice attempt at a cover from a young band.

After Fire on the Mountain peters out, the band starts Makisupa with Mike proclaiming "Rastify". It's an interesting version of Makisupa to say the least, with Trey using the original lyrics over and over (the keyword hadn't been 'invented' then) and then referencing the different band members and how each of them likes to play their instrument and 'smoke a little herb'. There's some interesting Trey banter in here and the band definitely has fun. The crowd is totally silent during this part, as I imagine they were probably wondering what was going on, prompting Fishman to ask "Are you guys dancing, having a fun time?". There's a bit more banter there, with Trey saying that Makisupa was written in "Kingston, Vermont" (Interesting that it contradicts later attributions of the song's creation with Tom Marshall in New Jersey). The band then introduces another original, Slave, written by "us". Marc Daubert chimes in, saying that the song is about the 'parking problem in Burlington', which overshadows Trey's explanation that it is about "everybody that lives in cities".

Slave is a beautiful but short version, with some extra percussion from Marc Daubert, and Jeff's part comparable to Page's rhythm sections today. This version ultimately sounds much different than any post-Page version of the song. Mike has a little bit more room to manuever with Jeff doubling-up essentially on his parts. Also, the extra percussion allows the song to march onwards forcefully, even in the quieter and now silent pauses. Trey's solo isn't even close to what most of you expect out of a Slave solo, but the build is quite nice. I think it is one of the better builds in the song's history, honestly (but I'm also a sucker for older shows).

Next, a cover by the Allman Brothers "Don't Want You No More" that is not particularly memorable. Phish does a so-so job covering it, but what is more interesting is the drum jam that follows, pitting Fish with Marc Daubert and it even seems like Trey joins in there somehow (likely, as Trey has referenced enjoying Drum jams with Fishman before). This goes on for quite a while, and at the end, Trey starts up Skippy.

Skippy features the Dude of Life with a funny build-up introduction from Trey. It mimics the traditional Icculus builds most listeners are familiar with. Skippy essentially was eviscerated later by McGrupp, so imagine McGrupp with interesting lyrics about a mighty-mouse-esque figure and the Dude's skewed voice. The Dude definitely brings Skippy to a thrashing conclusion. The audience seems a little confused, but the band moves into Fluffhead, a shortened original-style version of the song, albeit a bit sped-up with a different tempo than today. It also has the Dude on vocals. This is definitely the fastest version I've ever heard and pretty interesting due to the fact that it has not only additional percussion, a double-time tempo, the Dude screaming, and Jeff adding to the chaos.

The 'set' closes with another GD cover, 'Eyes of the World', with a little Chicago tease before the beginning by Trey. Jeff solos in this version, and its clear why he is on backing guitar - he is clearly better suited to backing up Trey at this point. It's a nice version, but I think the Scarlet>Fire>Fire is the better cover medley in this show.

This show is worth checking out if only for the complete chaos that ensues. If this type of setlist and these guests appeared in a Phish set in 2010, everyone would go berserk. But at the time, Phish was a small band, having fun with their friends - this type of warmth shines through in the recording and is worth a once-over. Listeners will be quick to discover that some of the songs in this set are worth tagging and keeping around, notably the Scarlet>Fire>Fire combo, the Slave, and the hilarious Spanish Flea cover.

~ SlavePhan
, attached to 1984-12-01

Review by dr_strangelove

dr_strangelove Scarlet begonias (where the phishtracks.com recording starts) and fire are good takes with great energy.

Trey gets a great riff going at the beginning of the Fire on the Mountain jam. Worth hearing

Makisupa is goofy and worthwhile for those who enjoy Phish humor

The first Slave, kind of standard but good

Good Cities, with subtly awesome outro jam based on the main cities riff

Drums through fluffhead is take it or leave it. Interesting to hear Skippy because it contains the McGrupp music. Fluffhead in its infantile form. But the Dude of Life vocals are not my cup of tea.

Eyes of the world has a great, beautiful peak at the end.

Highlights: Fire On The Mountain, Cities, and end of Eyes of the World
, attached to 1984-12-01

Review by Dunwoody

Dunwoody This is a fun one historically speaking, but legitimate highlights are fairly few. The Scarlet Fire Fire is a fun idea with some good playing, but sounds a bit flat to me (my recording starts at Scarlet, so I can't speak to what came before). Makisupa is already the Makisupa we know and love, less the "keyword." This version features some extra-reggaey echo effexts that give it a bit more of an authentic feel, but you know, still a bunch of college dudes in Vermont.

Slave is already in pretty much the form we know today, except that Page isn't there. The red light sections are not as heavy as now, and instead have sort of a bluesy psych feel; the green light sections are nearly non-existent until the jam starts. It's a nice version, though certainly lacking the huge peak we know today.

Spanish Flea is really just background mysic for band intros, including the intro of "Wolfman" Mike Gordon.

The Don't Want You/Cities/Drums run is the real meat. Don't want you is strong, and the segue into Cities is seamless. The Cities itself doesn't bring a ton to the table except some funny improvised lyrics, but the Drums that follows is a beast. It's clear that Fish (and Daubs) absolutely can do big solos when wanted, and I wouldn't mind seeing it again today in the right setting.

Skippy and Fluff are noteworthy mostly for historical value. Skippy's a goofy little tune that eventually became McGrupp. It features the Dude doing some yelling and quasi rapping, and clearly is a delight for the crowd. Fluff is in roughly the same form as today, but obviously without Travels and with some different lyrics.

The Eyes starts out super slow, which is consistent with other Phish performances of the song. It's a solid performance, but brings little of the Phish touch to it -- it's Dead through and through.

Most of the value in this show is historical, but check out the Don't Want You through Drums for some solid early Phish.
, attached to 1984-12-01

Review by The_Ghost

The_Ghost I only have a recording starting at Scarlet Begonias and going to the end.

This show is a great listen to early phish. The fact that there are so many dead songs which are not covered by the band anymore, in fact this is the last time they covered Fire on the Mountain and Scarlet was only played on time after this.

It is great to hear early songs and, more, that a band which is so fluid to know that this long ago there were elements that still remain today if you happen to catch, for instance, Makisupa.

Given the nostalgic value this show gets and extra star bump.
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