A lot of tape lists I've seen over the past couple of years don't have much Phish prior to 1995. In an effort to bring to light some sets/shows that are worth seeking out, may I present this little series. Charlie Dirksen has a lengthy list on the new HFB page of 1985-96 shows, and I'm not going to repeat the ones he's listed. However, there are some notable omissions that I will write about. So, to begin, let's travel back to...1989.
10.26.89 set 2, Wetlands Preserve, NYC
Without question this is my favorite set of the 1980s. It's got a dream setlist, some segues that are incredible, some great jamming, and a little goofiness. First the setlist:
Who Knows Jam > Dinner and a Movie > The Chase > Who Do? We Do! > AC/DC Bag > Reba > Walk Away, Bathtub Gin > The Sloth, Fluff's Travels > Possum, Punch Me in the Eye, In a Hole, Gall Swerves and the Rest is Everything Else, No Dogs Allowed, David Bowie
Yowza! The Who Knows jam (it's NOT Good Morning Little Schoolgirl as popular opinion claims) is brief but pretty cool, and fades out into Dinner. From then on they basically don't stop playing till after Possum. The segues in and out of the different parts of Fluff's Travels are incredible. Bag and Walk Away are both very strong. The Reba has the long lost "Bag it Tag it" jam which features some peppy Mike. The Reba and Gin jams don't stray too far from how they appear on Lawn Boy; I'm pretty sure they were both very new at this point. The segue from Fluff's Travels into Possum is masterful. A brief break after Possum when Trey introduces a "fresh number," "Punch Me in the Eye". Followed up with another new one, jokingly called, "What You Will" sung by Page "Tex" McConnell. It's In a Hole, with its classic last line, "I'm in *a* hole!" (Say it out loud, accent the A). Then Fish takes center stage, to recite a "serious poem", "About my lifetime, my history, my homeland." He calls it "Gall Swerves and the Rest is Everything Else" but it was later published in a Schvice with the title "Sleepwalk." Towards the end he screws up and starts again from the middle, which prompts Trey's laughing comment, "One more time!" Next comes a song by Trey's mom, who's in attendence that evening. "No Dogs Allowed," which I wish they'd bring back. Finally, a pretty cool Bowie ends the set, along with a long-ish "Space Oddity" jam during the hi-hat intro.