A number of versions of songs performed on 5/11/87 at Nectar's, likely in the second set, including the earliest known versions of "Divided Sky," "Harpua," and "Bundle of Joy," were recently unearthed, and are available here and now for free download.
Sam Seagroves contacted Phish.net after he found a tape of 5/11/87 that a former employee at his office had left behind when he left (along with a bunch of other old tapes). Sam figured out that while the music on side A of the tape labeled 5/11/87 ("YEM" through "Makisupa") indeed already circulated as 5/11/87 (but was missing "Slave," "Clod," and "Ya Mar"), the material on most of side B of the tape ("Divided" through "GTBT") did not circulate. Sam's tape was dropped off with me in Boston by Sam's coworker/friend, Luke, before Luke attended Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conf final (Celtics-Cavs). After determining that the side B material sounded like it was probably from the same source/show as the side A material (except for the 10/31/86 "AC/DC Bag" and "Swing Low" filler), I gave the tape to Jeff Goldberg for professional spectrum/audio analysis, hiss removal, and transferring.
Jeff determined that the side B "Divided" through "GTBT" was indeed from the same source/show as the side A material, as he explains below. And thus now we have the earliest known versions of "Divided Sky," "Harpua," and "Bundle of Joy." Note that there is a long-ish seven or so second dropout at the end of "Fluffhead." We decided to leave it alone since it was on the source recording. If you have any analog to digital questions or work, feel free to contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @theaudiopro or google plus at email@example.com or facebook.com/theaudiospecialist. Great thanks to Sam, Luke, and Jeff for helping get this new 5/11/87 material, quite a piece of Phish history, into circulation! (and don't miss the segue from Harpua into Fluffhead!)
01. You Enjoy Myself
02. Lushington >
04. Sneaking Sally
05. Peaches en Regalia >
07. Avenu Malkenu
09. Makisupa Policeman
10. Divided Sky
11. Funky Bitch
12. Harpua >
13. Bundle of Joy >
14. Harpua ->
15. Fluffhead (nasty dropout at end)
FLAC files folder: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/5t3rek29lo8459v/AAAeQnubdqF5CueWD_k2SD6Da?dl=0
UNADULTERATED files folder: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/8trg6zot3m4rf2u/AAD9V2P_OLDeTNKnq5kDFABNa?dl=0
(The following is from Jeff Goldberg)
Here are my findings:
Tested data and anecdotal evidence lead me to conclude with confidence that sides A and B of the cassette tape provided by Sam Seagroves (Nectar’s, 5/11/87) are from the same recording.
The recording provided was a 90-minute Maxell XLII type II analog cassette tape. As a standard control from which to compare, I used an NOS (new old stock) blank Maxell XLII 90 from the early ‘90s in order to digitally capture the noise profile (aka "hiss") of a blank tape. The reason for doing this is so I could (literally) eliminate the actual sound of the medium itself from being a variable in the audio comparison.
The tape was recorded using the following analog to digital conversion process:
Tascam 112RmkII (playback)
A > D Signal Path: Balanced (+4dBu) XLR outputs > Apogee Quartet converters
Digital Signal Path: Apogee Quartet > iMac (recorded @ 24-bit, 96kHz)
Digital Audio Workstation: Avid Pro Tools (12.8) for recording, Audacity (2.1.3) for editing, and iZotope RX 6 for mastering.
There are various ways that equipment can visually represent sound. In these tests, I primarily used captured EQ curves to compare the frequency responses of the two sources, as well as sonogram-style spectral analyses, which use colors to represent frequency and amplitude over time. I also compared the balance of the left and right channels from both sources to see if their stereo images matched, which if confirmed, would strongly indicate that microphone placement (or recording methodology) from both sources were the same.
Here is the control data.
Maxell XLII 90 spectral profile: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9iditxduu984q5j/Maxell%20XLII%20Spectral.png?dl=0
Maxell XLII 90 EQ curve: https://www.dropbox.com/s/lo23da7yi2f5z0h/Maxell%20XLII%20EQ%20Curve.png?dl=0
Here is the spectral profile of side A, unaltered: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ay12bj2ydcvktee/Side%20A%20Unaltered.png?dl=0
Here is the spectral profile of side B, unaltered: https://www.dropbox.com/s/pji3dn2fl7seksq/Different%20Sources.png?dl=0
One can clearly see the difference in the colors from differing sources when the filler begins on side B, as indicated by the yellow vertical line.
The EQ Curves of sides A and B are almost identical, as evidenced here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/yeg71gm6ptznede/Side%20A.png?dl=0, https://www.dropbox.com/s/j2147lnqr9syxjy/Side%20B.png?dl=0
…as compared to the filler's, which looks like this: https://www.dropbox.com/s/etyiu1nwsp5z8xi/Filler%20EQ%20Curve.png?dl=0
And here is the left/right balance of side A: https://www.dropbox.com/s/qdatqnx1qxyal6s/Balance%20A.png?dl=0 vs. side B: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xg0h7wlzvp36uwx/Balance%20B.png?dl=0, which shows both sources sharing a stereo image which clearly favors the right channel.
The aforementioned "anecdotal evidence" to which I refer above is the fact that the "Divided Sky" we hear here is unique. If you listen to versions of "Divided" played in August 1987, you’ll hear that several parts have been added to the song, which suggests that Phish most likely took that summer to fix it up and add more sections. There’s no way the "Divided Sky" on this 5/11/87 tape is from the same tour as the one from, say, The Ranch on 8/29/87, and this adds more ammo pointing to the conclusion that this material genuinely came from from May (and not August) of ’87.
Also, this very early (if not first-ever live version of) "Harpua" lacks the entire "Oom pah pah" intro, which had already been added by August, as can be heard on the Ian's Farm version. There is no story, no Jimmy, and no "There's a dog in the station" section yet, but this seems to be consistent with other versions I've heard from '87. It's the lack of the "Oom pah pah" and drums-only intro that leads me to believe that this 5/11/87 "Harpua" may very well be the first live version, or at least among the earliest versions, performed before August 1987. --Jeff Goldberg,
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