Harris-Millis Cafeteria - University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Soundcheck: Jam (with audience present)
 Phish debut.
· Back in Black tease
Notes: Trey, Mike, Fish, and Jeff Holdsworth recall being billed as “Blackwood Convention” for this show (though no one is certain what band name was used), which is believed to be their first public gig together. The band was short on equipment, so a hockey stick was used as a microphone stand. Between sets, the DJ spun some Michael Jackson and Trey drummed along to the album. The house music (which included more Michael Jackson) was presumably turned up after Fire to drown out the band. The setlist may be incomplete, though, as the master recording contains nothing after Trey’s sarcastic comments about Michael Jackson following Fire. All songs were, of course, Phish debuts. Back in Black was teased before Scarlet Begonias. While this show is often billed as an ROTC Halloween Dance that took place on October 30, 1983, this is incorrect. The master copy of the recording of this show, as unearthed by Phish archivist Kevin Shapiro, contains a handwritten note that pegs the date as December 2, 1983. In discussions with Kevin, band members confirmed that they recall rehearsing for this show over the Thanksgiving Break, and that the show was a Christmas semi-formal. Also, it was not an ROTC-sponsored event; it was a dorm dance in a predominantly ROTC dorm (Mike’s dorm at the time).
Songs by Debut Year:
This show was part of the "1983 Tour."
Trey takes lead vocals, and it's hard to tell from the recording I'm listening to, but it doesn't sound like Mike participates in the harmonies in Fire. It's interesting that Trey really sings this; evidently he had not yet adopted the talk-sing style he used for most of "1.0." Mike hits some heavy chording during the first solo break in Scarlet, which I think shows he was already a pretty independent musician, and not just mimicking Phil (though there's also a lot of Phil-esque melodic bass line). Trey's guitar style is still very much in the Jerry vein -- no tension and release to speak of here, and he even breaks out the wah for the Fire transition. Jeff does solid rhythm work, but for the most part not much to write home about except some cool double-lead work toward the end of Fire. Likewise with Fish, though he does some really solid pounding during Fire.
Couple of vocal flubs during Fire, but really who cares.
Musically, they are solid covers. For a band's first gig, I find it actually impressive. Maybe I've just seen too many crummy high school/college bands.