This show included the first known version of the original Rift. Reba was preceded by teases of the theme from Jeopardy! and contained a Brady Bunch theme tease from Trey. McGrupp and Fluffhead contained Sailor's Hornpipe teases from Trey. Foxy Lady was teased and quoted before Lizards. Fluffhead was dedicated to Paul Languedoc's head (specifically his new haircut) and was introduced as "Lunkhead."
Theme from The Brady Bunch tease in Reba, Theme from Jeopardy! and Foxy Lady teases , Sailor's Hornpipe tease in McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Sailor's Hornpipe tease in Fluffhead
Debut Years (Average: 1987)

This show was part of the "1990 Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1990-02-25

Review by DollarBill

DollarBill I can’t believe this show doesn’t already have a review; I would be honored to do it, so here goes…

It’s only two months into the New Year and the boys already have about 30 shows in! This is the fourth show in as many days, packing the last weekend of February 1990 full, and also the last show ever at the 8 x 10 club. It’s well recorded for the time period, though the cuts of cassette generations and even some digital noise from a DAT color the mix throughout the show.

Right out of the gate the sound check portion of the recording is great to hear, and gives you a chance to listen to Paul getting things dialed in during an Allman Brothers tune and also just how good these guys are at playing jazz standards. Fish is incredible on the drums, but we all know that!

First set stays in that intricate jazzy mode with a good Foam opener. Trey makes note that Fish wrote MS1, and it’s pretty good tonight. Then we dip into the Gamehenge material with my favorite Col. Forbin’s > Mockingbird combo, again pretty well played. Funky Bitch was fine, and then into more of the new album with Coil and Bouncing, they get tighter each time they play them. Then we get treated to a sneak peak of the new Tweezer groove in Bowie’s intro! Bowie itself was ok, not great to my ears. Satin Doll was kind of a mini bust out that night being the first one of 1990. Then another treat as Trey thanks the audience and introduces the new Rift. It was very awkward to hear because I’m so used to hearing the version we all know now. An average Possum closes the set. They really went out on a limb tonight with the new songs.

Second set continues the crazy set list tonight with the new Reba, which still has some parts to smooth out. Then Trey dedicates the next song to the crew and they pick McGrupp. It was pretty well played considering they haven’t done it in almost three months. The band then responds with another funny bust out for the New Year with Makisupa, complete with a long ridiculous ending. Back into Gamehenge we go with a pretty solid Lizards. Maybe a few sloppy parts here and there, but nothing to seriously going wrong. Same thing with Fluff, not the tightest I’ve ever heard, but really good energy behind it. BBFCFM is hilarious as always, and it’s hard to say if one is better than another, but definitely worth the listen!

Crazy show tonight! I recommend listening to this one if you haven’t heard much 1990. It has a little of everything in it. Junta songs, Lawnboy songs. Gamehenge songs, covers, bust outs, shout outs, and a creature from Mars, and that can’t be all bad for a Sunday night show.

I gave it four stars to bump the average up a bit and because of the new Rift and Tweezer jam bust outs.
, attached to 1990-02-25

Review by thelot

thelot This AKG 451 source sounds fantastic! The matrix recording available from their debut performance at the 8x10 on 12/7/89 has more punch, but both capture the wonderful acoustics of the room. Both shows were only attended by a handful of lucky folks.

What a treat to have the soundcheck available for this show. You would think there would be more Sndchks available from this time period but there isn’t. Loose version of Jessica. This is followed up with a tight Donna Lee. A fun little jazz jam breakdown starts up following Donna Lee.

Someone in the audience yells out “Nectar’s fries!” Trey responds with “Nectars’s fries are frozen, the gravy is congealing and in honor of that we decided to open with this song aptly titled Foam” Trey introduces MSO as being written by their drummer, Phil Collins. Trey is rather chatty in between songs tonight. He sets the crowd up at the base of the mountain before launching into Forbin>Mockingbird. Always a welcome treat. Rippin’ version of Bitch. Bowie’s highhat hi jinx features the first glimpse at what would become Tweezer! Interesting Bowie jam that locks onto a heavy theme right away. It never goes outside the lines but is engaging nonetheless. Satin Doll provides the perfect cool down song. The lucky 20 or so people in attendance get to hear the world debut of Rift! Fish says “it has great words! Listen to the words!” Trey: “words are what you should listen to” Fish: “words are really important!” Trey: “not the music!” lol This version sounds way different than what It would later become. Possum closes an entertaining first half.

Fun Jeopardy teasing to start. A cool version of Reba complete with Brady bunch teases kicks off set 2. Afterward Trey dedicates a song to their small crew of four…fungus, vomit, clam and roots. He lets the crew decide the next number. They choose McGrupp which hadn’t yet been played that year. The first complete McGrupp since 9/9/89. They follow this up with an amusing Makisupa. Another first of the year. Great version with some fun start/stop action at the end…Irie! Some more Gamehendge rapping follows as they transition into Lizards. Hilarious banter follows. Lunkhead is dedicated to Dr. Paul. Top notch version with an explosive Arrival section. As Fluff fades out BBFCFM comes storming in. Hilarious version to close out the evening. They had one women in stitches by the end! I absolutely loved this show! Amazing setlist flow, playing and banter! A+
, attached to 1990-02-25

Review by Anonymous

This was a great show. Slow Rift, baby. 

, attached to 1990-02-25

Review by radiator9987

radiator9987 After seeing Phish two months earlier at the 8X10 I headed back down when I saw they were back in town. The crowd was a bit larger and in the time between I had secured a few bootlegs and was becoming familiar with their originals. I went in thinking I would know most of what they would play, of course I didn't and it made it that much cooler seeing how larger their repertoire was even in the early years. I knew Foam and MSO out of the box, but had never had the pleasure of Forbin's/Mockingbird. A kind soul explained the song to me and the whole Gamhenge thing at setbreak, mentioning both Lizards and McGrupp which came out in set 2. I liked Coil from their new album, but was down on Bouncing as trying to have a 'hit'. I spent most of Rift and Possum in the alley out back getting my mind right, not realizing that the Slow Rift would soon be gone forever. The highlight was Fluff>BBFCFM with the band going heavy metal crazy with the latter. I don't know why there was no encore, I do know I was on board.

Sadly they never came back to the 8X10. It was rumored the owner burned them and I don't believe they have ever played in baltimore again. After this it was all bayou all the time for the next few years as the band honed their craft and began the jump to theaters and then arenas.
, attached to 1990-02-25

Review by kipmat


This show reminds me of the recordings on the Colorado '88 release in a few ways: short but strong setlists featuring rarer material, fun banter reflecting the relaxed atmosphere, and most notably, the sparse audience in attendance. Listening to the recording, one can imagine 12-15 people milling around between the dance floor and the bar, while the band is crowded onto the stage. Shows like this demonstrate what made Phish a great club band; through their music and stage presence, they could turn an ordinary night into an extraordinary one. And if a local taper captures the show as an AUD recording (or surreptitiously patches into the soundboard), a show like this one can develop the band's local reputation.

@DollarBill's review aptly covers the setlist and the highlights, but there are still plenty of surprises to be found in both sets. The absence of chatting near the mics allows us to hear the band talking on stage, and clearly pick out the requests shouted out by members of the audience (and the crew!). My favorite moment: Trey insincerely introducing the "world debut" of Rift, then jokingly asking the crowd, "What song is it that you want to hear tonight?" After the crowd joins in on the joke by shouting "Rift!", you can hear Amy Skelton's voice requesting, "Highway To Hell!" with a laugh.

Also, how precious is that Jessica Jam from the soundcheck? Even though the days of Allman Brothers covers were long behind Phish, the inclusion of that jam at the front end of this recording was crucial in expanding their audience, inspiring many ABB fans to give Phish a try. The band would never successfully play another show in Baltimore (see the setlist entry for 7/19/93), focusing on gigs at The Bayou in nearby Washington DC instead; but 2/25/90 was an easily accessible recording from this era of Phish, and IMO deserves more recognition than it has thus far received.
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