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Link Friday, 05/03/1985
University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

Set 1: SlaveSlave to the Traffic Light, Mike'sMike's Song > DEGDave's Energy Guide, Big Leg Emma

Set 2: AlumniAlumni Blues, Wild Child, Can't You Hear Me Knocking, Jam -> Cities, Bring It On Home[1]

Set 3: Scarlet Begonias > Eyes of the World -> Whipping Post[2] -> McGruppMcGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > MakisupaMakisupa Policeman[3] > AntelopeRun Like an Antelope -> The Other One[4]

Encore: Anarchy

[1] First known Phish performance; Bobby Brown on harmonica.
[2] Jeff on vocals.
[3] Reggae jam.
[4] First known Phish performance.

Noteworthy Jams: Mike's Song, Whipping Post (highly recommended), McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters (highly recommended), Run Like an Antelope

Average Song Gap: 9.56

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon, Jeff Holdsworth, Page McConnell (Guest), Bobby Brown (Guest)

Notes: This show was performed at the Last Day Party on UVM’s Redstone campus. It marked Page’s debut with the band, as he sat in during portions of the third set. In fact, Big Leg Emma was preceded by an announcement from Trey that “our friend Page, from Goddard, will sit in later.” Bring it On Home featured Bobby Brown on harmonica and Whipping Post featured Jeff on vocals. McGrupp was dedicated to Fish. Makisupa featured a reggae jam. This show featured the only known Phish performances of Bring It On Home and The Other One.

Song Distribution:
3 The White Tape
1 Lawn Boy

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "1985 Tour."

dscott , attached to 1985-05-03 Permalink
The circulating SBD of this show contains only Set 3 + Mike's -> Dave's from Set 1, but it is a worthy glimpse of the band when they were just minnows on the night sky.

Mike's is slow and methodical, but tastefully explored. This laid-back approach pervades the entire performance, and I suspect this to be a mix of still-evolving chops and a deliberately deliberate approach. Trey has already mastered an array of guitar wizardry, but (for better or worse) the lightning precision and signature tones / riffs have not yet emerged. There is an extra bonus section at the end of Mike's - "Today is just a dream. Life is not what it seems" - sung in a way that evokes Torn & Frayed, over an airy instrumental piece that noodles into a typically chromatic DEG. Amusing banter from Trey ensues, during which he announces that they will be joined by a special guest from Goddard College: "Page on keyboards."

Set 3 kicks off with a solid enough take on Scarlet Begonias, with a dreamy closing jam that meanders into a languid Eyes Of the World. Fans of '94-'95 Dead will feel right at (lazy summer) home in this lilting, uber-chill groove. A plodding, sloppy attempt at a composed closing segment rumbles effectively into a menacing Whipping Post intro. The execution is sluggish and slack, but redeemed by some trippy organ swirls around the 9-minute mark. A noodly, open transition to McGrupp ensues. (Cue fade out & in, around a tape flip.)

McGrupp is a mellowed-out, lilting take on the familiar melody, punctuated by spoken-word vocals. Deft, natural transition into an upbeat reggae groove for Makisupa. Trey playfully introduces solo features by selected band members, dropping ample references to the pottabis, and Page plinks away in authentic minimalist reggae stylee. Around the 5-minute mark, there is a regrettably infectious diversion into a second section, with cliche lyrics about freeing weed, the rastaman, the world, and South Africa. Somehow this morphs into a surprisingly spry instrumental take on Run Like An Antelope. You've got the intro, and then the build, and then...a dramatic gearshift that morphs expertly into The Other One! This is extremely well-played. Not as rhythmically authoritative as the Dead's best versions, but the dynamics are spot-on and the closing jam peacefully tapers into some noodly tuning and an encore announcement. Anarchy clocks in at about 12 seconds, nearly as long as the most jammed-out versions that circulate. "See you next year," fellow college kiddos!

This is not the tight, unique Phish monster that we have come to know and love. Still, it's a fun excursion backwards down the number line to a time when these guys were just playing good-time mellow grooves for their buds (double-entendre intended), getting to know each other and their craft.
Score: 9
dr_strangelove , attached to 1985-05-03 Permalink
Definitely listen to Mike's > DEG. There is something about Trey's playing in this era that I really dig when he starts to shred and he definitely shreds this Mike's.

Similarly, Scarlet Begonias and Eyes of the World are great takes. All of the early 80's takes I've heard of these two covers are usually thoroughly enjoyable. The band has them really down pat.

I was less enthused by the slow, frothy Whipping Post. McGrupp, however, is pretty great. Sure, Trey sort of recites the lyrics in a non-committal way, but the jam thereafter is pretty hot. This also marks Page's first appearance with the band so from a historical perspective it is a magical moment.

Makisupa is its typical goofy self. The first recorded Antelope is interesting but not substantial. Not the same intense build of energy that the song will one day become. Nonetheless, interesting beginnings for antelope.

This take on "The Other One" isn't that great IMO. It kind of peters out and meanders.

Then of course there is Anarchy, which is just such an awesomely stupid song. I sincerely hope Phish will bust this crazy gem out again one day.

Highlights: Mike's>DEG, Scarlet Begonias, Eyes of the World, McGrupp jam
Score: 0

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