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Link Friday, 12/02/1983
Harris-Millis Cafeteria - University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

Soundcheck: Jam (with audience present)

Set 1: Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress[1], Proud Mary[1], In the Midnight Hour[1], Squeeze Box[1], Roadhouse Blues[1], Happy BirthdayHappy Birthday to You[1]

Set 2: Scarlet Begonias[1] > FOTMFire on the Mountain[1]

[1] Phish debut.

· Back in Black tease

Average Song Gap:

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, Jeff Holdsworth

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."

RunawayJim4180 , attached to 1983-12-02 Permalink
RunawayJim4180 While I certainly wasn't at this show, I found the "Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain" show closer on Grooveshark the other day. There is some great banter with the crowd at the beginning of "Scarlet" where a girl is heard talking to someone in the band (presumably Jeff, as it doesn't sound like Trey), asking what they are playing next. She clearly has never heard of Scarlet, as they repeat the song name to her at least three times. She then asks "Do you guys know any slow songs at all, even one?! Play something we can dance to!" Trey noodles a little "Back in Black" to drown her out, then says in an exasperated tone "This is by request!" before launching into Scarlet. A great piece of Phistory to listen to!
Score: 21
FifthAvenuePhish , attached to 1983-12-02 Permalink
FifthAvenuePhish This is a must listen for anyone (i.e. ANYONE) who is thinking about starting there own band. It is great to hear the original lineup and think about how far they will go. I attended the MSG 13 run and it is wonderful to experience that and go back and listen to the beginning. There is so much promise…Mike has a nice groove going already…MUST LISTEN!
Score: 3
Dunwoody , attached to 1983-12-02 Permalink
I don't know if this full show circulates anywhere. All I have access to is the Scarlet Fire. Hard to review it as anything other than an historical novelty, but it's a good listen for context.

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.
Score: 0
dr_strangelove , attached to 1983-12-02 Permalink
The only real reason you would listen to this snippet of music is to hear the beginnings of Phish, and that alone makes the experience worthwhile. The need to revisit this music, however, is unnecessary.

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.
Score: 0

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