Notes: Phish alternated sets at this gig with Blues Traveler, with Phish playing their first set, followed by Blues Traveler playing their first set, Phish playing their second set, and then Blues Traveler playing their second set. John Popper sat in on harmonica for Funky Bitch and JJLC. Funky Bitch was preceded by Trey explaining that they were going to introduce Popper as Chris Kuroda to pull a joke on their former light man, Tim, who used to jam on harmonica with the band but "wasn't that good." Trey said they would give the tape to Tim and tell him that Chris was getting pretty good on the harmonica. Trey asked the crowd to yell "All right Chris!" when Popper came out on stage. After Jesus Just Left Chicago, Popper said "I better get back to those lights." Trey teased DEG in Mike's Song and Dixie in Ya Mar. Lizards was teased before Antelope. Contact included Low Rider teases from Page.
Dear dude who really really wanted to hear Wilson at this show: Fine, yell for Wilson. Yell between every song, whatever. But don't yell DURING the songs, DURING the quiet parts of Contact, DURING quiet parts of David Bowie. You're a schmuck. Had to get that off my chest.
Mostly a pretty good show here. I thought the Mike's Song was pretty good, as was Good Times, Bad Times. The start of Possum is pretty messy. I'm not a big Blues Traveller guy, but Popper can definitely rip on the harmonica and it works well on Funky Bitch (which had some alternate lyrics I've not heard before) and Jesus Just Left Chicago. The banter before Funky Bitch is pretty funny as they set up a prank on their old lighting dude to make him think that not only can CK5 run the light rig better, he can wail on harp, too. Trey is sinister.
Overall there's some decent playing and a little sloppiness here and there, nothing too amazing, nothing too bad. Three stars.
I'm going to review this show not because I was there, but because I managed to stumble upon this show and never knew they played this venue, and I cannot believe how cool it is that the boys once played this venue that I love, and I bet a lot of people don't even know what it is, so I'm going to set the stage a little bit for anyone who might care to read this. This ain't your typical phish venue, and this ain't your typical review. Hope you enjoy, and if not, whatever, you suck.
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Its a cold day in the Ukraine. I've never been there, but I hear it's a little chilly. But you're OK. Cause you've escaped. You're tucked inside a warm, cozy, homey, inviting restaurant. A place that can hold about 30-40 people, max. Old wood paneling. Red and white middle european tapestries and random art on the wall. Gorgeous blonde waitresses...
There's no kitchen staff.. just a few bubbies/grandmas in the back, just doing their thing. And their "thing" is to make the most bomb-ass goodness you've ever had. Stewed meats so tender you don't even need to chew, mixed with piles of delicious, fresh from the garden vegetables, in a sauce that hits your belly and makes you feel like Icculus himself is giving you a hug from the inside-out. And then there's the pierogis....with onions and sour cream of course. Just do it.
Now imagine this goodness is not in the Ukraine but in the middle of New York City, tucked inside a nondescript building in the East Village. (And for those of you unfamiliar, the East Village ain't even the same zip code as Madison Square Garden, up-town a few miles. That place is a mega-mall compared to the EV. Shit gets real here. Or at least it used to...)
So you're sitting at this little gem of a restaurant (that you have to actually walk through an office building to get into)....it's December. December 15th. December 15th 1989. It's a Friday. It's cold as shit...Average temp on the day was 28 degrees. Low of 16. (holy shit the internet has a lot of random info out there.)
Everyone is looking forward to christmas next week.
But not you. You don't care about anything except the plate of lamb goulash you're about to bury your face in.
There's some music starting up...
and waddya know...there's a little function room in the back of the restaurant.... Think, community meeting hall. Or a function room at an out-dated church or temple...
A band is playing. A bluesy band. A bluesy, traveling-sounding band. With a sick harmonica. Interesting.
And what's this now? "Take the A Train?" That song my grandpa used to play on the piano? What band would play such a song? But a sick, upbeat, jazzy version with a ripping solo by every member of the band?
You ask the waitress..."What's going on back there?"
"There? Oh...um...The fish!" she exclaims.
"No, not The Who, the fish!" she says. She shrugs and walks away after refilling your water (she's on her A-game).
You're a little intrigued, but far more fascinated by the steaming hot bowl of borscht, stuffed cabbage smothered with gravy, kielbasa, and kasha varnishes you just ordered. Food for 4, for 1. Standard.
So you eat. And you drink (cause it's BYOanything and you came prepared).
But that music...that music keeps getting weirder and weirder...and then you realize....it's also getting BETTER AND BETTER.
Is that guy saying "Golgi?" As in the organelle found in most eukaryotic cells that was identified in 1897 by the Italian physician Camillo Golgi and named after him in 1898?
You eat a little more. You pack it in. Cause you're at the Ukrainian National Home and that's what you do.
But now you have to see this fish for yourself. So you head back to that little function room, and HOLY SHIT! There's like 200 people crammed in there. They must have come in through a separate entrance.
And holy shit! This band is awesome. They fucking rock. Sick jam after sick jam. And their fans? They are pretty OK too. I am hooked on the fish!
So I wasn't at this show,but I love this restaurant and love this band and can only dream of both co-existing at the same timeplace in the space- time continuum. I'd like to hear from someone who witnessed it firsthand. To think that the guys I have only seen at massive amphitheaters, arenas, and stadiums once played the tiny function room at one of my favorite local restaurants really makes me happy...
This was an interesting show to hear from late ’89 double billing with Blues Traveler. Unfortunately the recording was awful. Either there was a bad cord somewhere along the line or somebody turned the levels up so high that it introduced distortion in the mix and it’s just really awful to listen to after a while.
Anyways… A-Train cuts in already in progress and it was well played. Golgi was good, Mike’s was good, even Hydrogen was pretty good, Weekapaug was ok and it seemed like we lost Mike somewhere along the line. Not sure if he was having equipment problems or something like that. We get more Mike tonight with a good Ya Mar. Oh Kee Pa> Bag was good, though Bag had a disjointed ending and Fishman never fully double timed the drums to make it rock more. YEM had its intro cut on the recording and suffered from the slow tape speed sound, but was reasonably well played. GTBT also sounded slow, but rocked out to end a good first set.
After the break and Blues Traveler’s first set IDK starts the second set with Fishman on vacuum and this one suffers from the slow tape speed blues again. Divided Sky was ok, but kind of sloppy by the end. Possum was fine and rocking. Not sure if Trey meant to play Lizards, but it was aborted for a solid Antelope instead. Great moment then as Trey explains the gag they are playing on their old light guy Tim before John Popper comes up and wails away on Funky Bitch and Jesus Left Chicago. Both were pretty good, although Mike seems to struggle a bit and I believe he makes up a new garbled verse to Funky Bitch. Contact was much better tonight after the last one’s antics were a little much for me. Bowie closes up shop tonight and wasn’t all that to my ears. It just didn’t do much and the jam didn’t really go anywhere special to me. It was a decent second set overall.
No encore tonight unless they came out and did something with Blues Traveler that was not on the recording I heard. Decent playing tonight, too bad the recording was awful to listen to.