The second of a two-night stand at Nectar's, this would be the last time that Phish would play just two nights in a row there for several months. There is a large crowd for this show, as evidenced by the AUD (which is a C, by the way). While this show is very similar to the previous night's show since the band only had a handful of material at this point, I feel that this night is probably a touch better than the night before, but both versions are representative of the period.
Set one is a setlist that I would absolutely consider a dream if the band were to play it today. Despite the wonderful appearance on paper, this first set is, genuinely, standard across the board. Slave is a shining spot in this set, with a very nice build by the band and wonderful work by Page. I like the A-Train here for Mike's nice long bass solo which features him playing with a bit more confidence. Following a standard Golgi, the band breaks into what is the best performance of Phase Dance. Clearly, the band had been practicing this song and it is quite amazing to hear how identical Trey sounds to Pat Metheny here. If you want to find one version of this cover, this is where you should look. The band tears Fire a new one (as they had been during this time period). While YEM seems like an ideal closer, the jam is slightly slow and lunky - nothing to write home about.
The second set starts off with a brief HYHU tease before the full Fluffhead (which the audience recognizes). This would be the beginning of the full version of Fluffhead coming to prominence. Very infrequently would the band buck the trend of playing the whole composition together (Bundle of Joy would pop up sporadically, and the band flirted with the individual songs in the fall of 1989). However, from this point onward, Fluffhead would remain at x>10 minutes. I love the arrival section of Fluffhead here. A very drawn-out version of Wilson follows which stops and the band quickly plays Peaches (although not really a true >). After a short version of Divided Sky, the Lizards features that wonderful bridge section that is absent today. It sounds like a nascent NICU to my ears. An absolutely raging Antelope commences the set. The first version the band had played in 5 months is chaotic, noisy, and incredibly intense. Not only does it contain pure Trey-driven chaos, but the keywords here are "Moses Heaps and Moses Brown". It must have been an absolute sight to see in a small bar.
A funky, short, and embryonic Sloth opens up the final set. After a very very short Flat Fee, the band responds to an audience member's request for Dinner and a Movie. It has shortened since its last appearance in November, but really rages. While I prefer the longer version, this shorter version that we all know still packs a punch. I love this version of Hood. It is patient, features amazing work by Trey, excellent backing by Page, and also drops down before the closing chords in a wonderful dynamic sequence. It is pure tension and release and works unbelievably well. In some senses, it seems like one of the versions the band would play in 94, albeit with the limitations of 1988 equipment.
The Bike here is funny for a couple of reasons. Firstly, mid-way, Fishman forgets the lyrics and the audience calls him out. Secondly, he breaks into a verse of Love You after Bike. He then plays a rousing trombone solo. After an audience-friendly Fee, and a soulful JJLC, the band closes with a raucous BBFCFM to send everyone home in a frenzy.
Picking and choosing from this show and the night before will give you a nice collection of early 88 versions of songs. The Phase Dance here is clearly the best version that they perform before they drop the song later in the month. I like the energy of Fire in the first set too. If you haven't heard the wonderful extra 45 second bridge in Lizards, check out this version. Otherwise, the Antelope and Hood are great early versions, worth at least a once-over.
Many say that this night was better than the night before, but I disagree. 2/7 still better I think.
Set I starts with a really nice Slave, which sounded great. Funky bitch and A Train were standard as was Golgi. Phase Dance was played better the night before and the "Fire" also couldn't too the energy from 2/7.. YEM was sloppy and I'm not a big fan of '88 YEMs in general, the jamming was very all over the place.
Set II picked things up a bit, a nice fluff head. Wilson and Divided Sky were both just shells of what they are today. Lizards standard and Antelope was played very well. A nice peak there.
Set III once again failed to match Set II. Some nice songs here and there and a dre set on paper for today's standards, but all songs have been played better. The flow of this set was very odd too, very random.
Antelope is the highlight, with a nice Slave and Fluffhead as well.
Not as good as 2/7. This show gets 3.2/5
Phish the bar band! If you haven't heard any '88 Phish, I'll give you the lowdown. There are a few things you'll notice right off the bat: their equipment isn't very good (the overall sound suffers for this), but most of all, there is a real lack of dynamics and tightness. It's amazing how tight they would become in just one year! Incessant practice and touring would eventually make them wizards of dynamics with uncanny ability.
But back in '88, things were quite a bit different. Some songs are noticeably sloooow, and many will be reworked over time (Divided Sky, for example, is missing some key sections, and Wilson has a funky start). Machine-gun Trey is almost nowhere to be found, though he really shines on Harry Hood (the highlight of the show).
Still, Phish had a remarkable vision, and it is undeniably evident on this early tape. It must have been utterly bizarre (and exciting!) to see them play all these prog rock tunes in a little bar back in 1988.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed over $1,000,000 to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.