A friend who'd been seeing the band for a couple of years took me to see them. I had no clue what to expect and was totally, totally floored. Not just by their sheer, seemingly effortless musicianship, but by their choice of covers and how they just shredded every one of them. I'd never heard a band cover ANY of these tunes: Sparks, Whipping Post, Take the 'A' Train, La Grange, etc. Their version of La Grange pretty much put ZZ Top's to shame.
At the time, I was a pretty big Deadhead, and I remember thinking, "pft, who needs the Dead? These guys are a million times better...and I can see them in bars for a $5.00 cover right in my own neck of the woods!"
I was also very into Zappa, and the Zappa influence on these guys was crystal clear, both musically and in their sardonic sense of humor.
I went on to see them many more times between then and 1991, in places like Gallager's, Townsend State Park, Bennington College, Lyndon State College, UNH MUB, Keene State College, and The Colonial Theater.
One place where the band was always especially hot was The Stone Church in Newmarket, NH. For some reason, they really liked that old place. It was basically a small, 150-plus year-old church with the pews taken out, a stage put up and a long bar. I believe the bathroom was located where the pulpit once was.
Anyway, I don't remember much else from the 11/19/87 show at Hunt's, other than downing lots of Catamounts and just shaking my head in disbelief as I watched this incredible band. It was a great night.