St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY
No known setlist!
Notes: There was no show on this date. The show that circulated for many years as "9/27/87" has been determined to have occurred instead on February 20, 1988.
This show was part of the "1987 Tour."
NOTE: This Phish performance does not count for stats purposes.
Prior to this gig, Phish had mostly been playing shows at bars with some parties along the way. With the exception of a few odd shows at private parties (6/1/86 for Mike's brother's school, 10/26/86 the sex commune!), the band was used to playing for covers or small fees, so this show, where they were hired, must have been a breath of fresh air. The band certainly is professional here, playing lots of covers for their new audience and giving them very polished versions of their classic material.
Sound quality is very high for this show on the spreadsheet, so don't be scared away if you're used to good quality shows. It's important to note that Trey plays one of his best early shows here, perhaps inspired by the new audience and the ability to show off a bit.
A fast inspired Funky Bitch opens the show and the band plays Golgi quickly afterwards. I know I say this in almost every review, but this really is a version that is identical to what you hear on Junta, right down to some of Fish's fills. Someone requests Zappa, so the band plays Peaches, which rips. Page is high in the mix, which is unusual for most of the shows you'll find in '87.
To celebrate "being back on tap in the basement", the band plays a short A-Train and a surprisingly short Possum, despite the latter being used as a vehicle in most shows prior. Trey announces that the band will play a Pat Metheny cover next and obliges with Phase Dance.
I'd like to mention here that for about 10 years prior to the spreadsheet I'd been searching out copies of a Phish version of Phase Dance. I'd been turned on to Metheny after reading a Trey interview years and years ago mentioning him and have collected dozens of albums, so I was interested to hear a song that Phish thought they could cover. When I finally heard this version a few years ago, I have to say that Trey does a pretty good job aping Pat, but it's tough to capture the whole PMG sound. By this, I mean that Page doesn't hold a candle to Lyle Mays here, and doesn't have the proper effects to end the song; that being said, if you've never heard this song before, enjoy Phish's version. But for those of you hoping Phish would shred PMG's versions, you may be a bit disappointed, although it is kind of cool to hear your favorite band play one of your favorite songs. I will say, though, that this is a diverse song that hints at one of Trey's gigantic influences, and it is worth checking out Metheny's work because he really is spectacular. /rant.
Rounding out the covers, the band plays GTBT which features very very inspired playing by Trey. The band opens up a bit with Skin it Back, which moves into a lilting jam for several minutes before the band jams on Axel F for a few bars. Things get chaotic for another few minutes before they stop fairly suddenly, although the audience is quite enthusiastic. Trey announces that the band will take a short break (so I'm unsure why the show is always listed this way). The spreadsheet Bowie skips the composed section, but the jam is nice and smooth and is quite similar to Junta as well. Trey finally has a handle on the ending arpeggios and this version ends nicely (and I'm sure it blew a few minds).
Set 2 starts with Wilson, which is long and drawn out. The first I Didn't Know is short, with no break or anything where Fish these days comes out in the spotlight. Fluffhead for this show is the first version that seems to exist where the band is playing it in its current form - it is also very very similar to the Junta version, down to the closing jam. Definitely worth a listen. A totally raging Fire is next, containing some unreal Trey fire.
YEM is well played here but the jam is a bit slow to gain steam. Trey quickly moves into arpeggio mode, which is cool, but doesn't flow well with the build of the jam. The vocal jam is cut out from my version. Divided Sky is pretty here and speeds up very very quickly to almost 2x the original speed by the end. Bag is standard.
This Whipping Post really is nice and the band fires on all cylinders. It must have been amazing to hear a young band play a song with this level of mastery at the time. In the middle of the song, the jam turns into DEG, which the band plays on for a bit, before crashing into the finale. Wonderful stuff here. Slave has a bit of an extra long intro, but is short and sweet.
This show is worth a spin, for sure, particularly for those who really like the way some of Junta sounds. As the band recorded Fee, Golgi, Bowie, and Fluffhead around this time at Euphoria (which would eventually wind up on Junta), this show is literally a live translation of those versions. The rest of the show doesn't disappoint either though. Check out the work by Trey in Fire and GTBT. Phase Dance is worth a once-over too, especially if you've never heard Metheny before. Skin it Back and Whipping Post are great 87-era jams with enough complexity to listen to more than once. I also love the version of Fluffhead here - I'm always surprised that it didn't fully take right away, as the band would play the individual songs for a while.