This show contained the first known versions of many Phish songs, including Lushington, Shaggy Dog, Roll Like a Cantaloupe, Sanity, and Clod, as well as the first known Phish versions of Skin It Back, Peaches, Swing Low, and Mustang Sally. Shaggy Dog ended with a Magic quote. Before YEM, Page played cocktail-style jazz, including snippets of Misty while Trey tuned up. Trey teased The Gumbo Variations in Mike's Song. The third set listing is incomplete; recordings that circulate have cuts before Cantaloupe. The Clod encore began with an impromptu kazoo solo from Mike. This was Paul Languedoc’s first show as soundman.

Misty tease, The Gumbo Variations tease in Mike's Song, Magic tease in Shaggy Dog
Debut Years (Average: 1985)

This show was part of the "1986 Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1986-10-15

Review by DollarBill

DollarBill For Paul's sake listen to this one! The recording is good enough to sit through and even though Jeff had just left months ago, they show great chemistry as a four piece. With Paul taking over on sound and lots of new material presented here, you can feel it gelling.

Skin it Back is great. McGrupp is still spoken like a poem. The old intro to AC/DC, YEM doesn't have its signature opening riff yet, Lushington is great.

Great second set, Peaches, early Golgi, Swing Low is good. They kept Camel Walk, which is awesome. Shaggy was played full on. Two types of Sally’s, the old style Fluff is weird to hear for me. Early Wilson and potential magic on Slave join some Mike's and a Hood for a great back end.

And if all that isn't enough reasons to listen, for the love of Paul, you've got to hear the Cantaloupe, Sanity, Anarchy combo!!! A smooth Clod to finish up too was great to hear, having not heard very many of them myself.

I've been reading one of their bio books and just decided to jump into a little '86 for the hell of it and boy am I glad I did.
, attached to 1986-10-15

Review by User_15475_

User_15475_ I just want to echo what the other reviewers have said. The SBD recording that circulates of this show is probably the best SBD I have heard from the 83' to mid-88' period. Also, Page is clearly playing a baby grand, which I personally MUCH prefer to his electric piano he played in the other 80's shows. Trey definitely has the whole Jerry vibe going on with his playing and tone. Check out the Hood for some serious Jerry stuff going on.

All in all, this is probably my favorite show up until this point of the band's history. With Paul doing his first job at sound man, you can really "hear" Phish the way they were meant to sound. When you listen to a show earlier than this one, the way they are mixed just sounds... weird. This is Phish mixed the way we know and love, with Page on the baby grand no less!
, attached to 1986-10-15

Review by kipmat

kipmat I haven't heard every Phish recording from the 80's, but this is *certainly* one of the better sounding shows from this era of the band. The White Tape must have been recorded around this time, because the versions of Alumni, AC/DC Bag, Slave, and Antelope/Cantaloupe from this show sound very similar to the recorded versions. Page is playing a regular piano at this show (!), instead of the Fender Rhodes that is heard at other show from this era. Besides what DollarBill mentioned, Quinn->Mike's is worth hearing, and the first known performance of Sanity demonstrates that the song was already inspiring bizarre performances! The band was still feeling out how to improvise with tension/release, but they still sound tight and together throughout the recording. Trey's soloing here is still heavily influenced by Jerry, which is kind of adorable :) But it is the quality of the recording that seals the deal here, the playing and the rare tunes are a bonus.
, attached to 1986-10-15

Review by aybesea

aybesea Continuing my march through the early years, here are my notes on this show:

First off, as others have mentioned, the sound on this show is solid... really solid! Languedoc + Phish = Aural Ecstasy. This one is a pleasure to listen to. Also of note, there are a bunch of [at least recording] debuts on this tape. This is also the first full length performance that we have been treated to, so... let's get this show on the road.

Alumni & Makisupa are played competently, though there is nothing of particular note.

Skin It Back is a sweet addition to the set list, and Page does an admirable job of capturing that Little Feat charm. And then we hear Trey knock it down... nice! I wish that they'd play this more often as they do it well. At least we get a few of these in this primordial age of Phish.

Segue to Cities and it's a pretty good one. TBH, I've never liked the lazy pace that Phish likes to play this amazing song at, but this one is a bit less anemic than many. The bass work here is really good.

There was supposedly a previous H2, but this is the earliest one that circulates. It is every bit as beautiful as it is in its current incarnation. This lilting melody is so very welcomed to the expanding repertoire. I have to admit that as they sound the final chord I am just waiting for Weekapaug to explode, but alas... not yet.

The McGrupp that follows is a really good one. This track has matured just beautifully and the musical portion is basically together at this point. The lyrics are still spoken (and double tracked). I don't understand the jam charts GD-like comment, but the jam itself is really very compelling.

Next up is Bag without the modern opening sequence. Instead they just do an ambling jam into the first verse. Also of notice is that in this second reading of Bag, we get the over the top lyrical inflection that would land squarely in TMWSIY. Most of the prepared musical bridge is intact at this point. Also of note is that the ending used here is jarring... so much so that most of the audience doesn't even clap for a few seconds.

Next up is YEM and it just seems to keep getting better with every outing. Except for the lack of the trademark opening, much of this song seems to have been worked out... at least up through the jam segment. They also include a VJ section for the first time.

The elusive Lushington makes it's debut to close the first set. It is complete and well played... even the tricky, intricate parts. I don't know why this one has been shelved. It seems to be a quirky fan favorite and I, for one, would love to see it make an occasional appearance. Not likely, though.

The second set opens with the Phish debut of Peaches. I'm a huge FZ nut from way back (true story... this is the song I had played at my wedding reception at midnight... you should have seen the crowd!), so I am geeked that they must have practiced the shit out of this! It is flawless, though brief.

Golgi makes its second recorded appearance and is much more comfortable on this occasion. There are a couple of gaffs with the playing, but nothing major. Segue to a Dixieland jazz version of Swing Low. Oh my, shades of Phish to come!

The first post-Jeff Camel Walk is relatively uneventful.

The Shaggy Dog debut features well practiced vocal harmonies. This is another gem that deserves to be placed in permanent rotation. I love this version. Page tears up the honky tonk bits of this song, and Trey's chicken pickin' is a delight.

Mustang Sally sounds like typical bar band stuff.

The last recording of Fluffhead comes almost two years earlier on 12-1-84, so it is really great to hear it again here. And wow has it ever matured! With Page this song absolutely comes to life. It's so much fun to listen to these things evolve. The bridge is played impeccably.

Sneakin' Sally sounds amazing on the grand piano and it features an a capella jam near the end.

The Wilson is, unfortunately, just a fragment. But the Slave that follows is complete and sounds just great. This really isn't surprising since this song has been polished for a while now.

Mike's is a really energetic version and the first one to truly space out a bit. It's nice to see this cornerstone of the canon taking some risks.

Quinn & Have Mercy are both performed well enough, but there is nothing of particular interest in either of them.

Hood, on the other hand, is becoming quite the magnificent beast. Except for the intro, it sounds very much like a modern Hood. Granted, it hasn't yet developed the jam that would make it a show piece.

Set 3 is 100% silliness. I'm up for a little silly every now & then, but this set grates on my nerves. Canteloupe would have been a pretty strong Antelope, but Trey goes over the top on his vocals while playing the gag and kind of messes it up. Sanity and Anarchy are just ridiculous and I'm not a fan.

Finally, after hearing Fluff earlier, we get Clod... the missing piece of the puzzle. Here it is far bluesier and more languid than it is typically found in its normal environs. Page takes the reins and almost makes this cocktail lounge music. Cool by me!

So, conclusions? First off... get this one... it's well worth the listening time.

As far as a rating, the sound is really good (5 stars considering its vintage and location). The performance ranges all over the 3-5 scale, so I'll call it a solid 4. The song selection is incredible because of all the debuts, so I'd like to bump things up a little. Overall, I'd call this show a 4.5, but can't because we don't have 1/2 stars (hint, hint).
, attached to 1986-10-15

Review by dr_strangelove

dr_strangelove This may be the first truly great Phish show I've encountered since starting from the beginning of their recorded history. This is in part due to the quality and relative completeness of the recording However, this nice recording also reveals a band that is finally mastering its craft. There is a tightness in the playing throughout, the trademark sense of humor matched with sincere energy and musicianship, and then there is just the novelty of hearing a lot of these classic Phish tunes & covers in their first incarnations. I am going to list my highlights, but please don't let this make you think you can safely skip any parts of this show. I could honestly rave about almost every part of this show, it smokes from start to finish:

1) Skin It Back: The first known version of this cover slays. The whole band is really locked in and tight during the jam, keeping the energy high throughout. Trey really soars on top of Fishman's propulsive beat. Great early Phish jam which segues cleanly into…

2) Cities: Slick pairing with Skin it Back, a back-to-back funky little one-two punch for ya. There isn't a jam, but the execution is thrilling

3) McGrupp: This early version of McGrupp has a mesmerizing sense of growing dread due to an atypical, hypnotic melody Trey is playing over Page's beautiful chords. The tension builds with spine tingling fervor until it explodes on the "He looks too much like Dave" line. The jam afterwards is definitely driven by Page, with a more typical McGrupp feel.

4) Lushington: If you haven't heard Lushington, do yourself a favor. Listen now, this rendition is great. You'll no doubt recognize segments that would later be fully incorporated into Fluffhead, but Lushington has its own character and is a great tune. Still hoping for that bust out in 2021!

5) Sneakin' Sally: Worth the listen for the exuberant, early 80's energy that they bring to this funky cover tune. Nice vocal jam taboot.

6) Quinn->Mike's: The Quinn part of this pairing is fun and gets stretched out a bit, but its really the Mike's you want to hear. It's like they built up and stored the energy from Quinn's, segued subtly into Mike's Song, and then as soon as the jam on Mike's Song starts they just unleash. Trey's playing is insane, and he and Fishman display some great syncopation, especially towards the very end of the jam. Do not skip.

7) Harry Hood: Heroic peak in this one. Perhaps one of the best Hoods to date. Trey changes his tone as he moves back into the end of the song, giving a nice effect leaving his virtuosic soloing

8) Run Like A Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe shenanigans aside (highly amusing), Trey gets cosmic on this one! His tone is like a celestial siren, laying prophecy amongst the chaos of Mike/Fish/Page's meteoric collisions. Amazing peak and best antelope (well, cantaloupe) up to this point! This or the Mike's Song may be my favorite jams of the show.

9) Clod: Sure, its just a segment of Fluffhead, but its slowed down and the vibe is completely different outside of Fluffhead. A little more chill, a little jazzier, and whole lot more drama. Great end to this stellar show!
, attached to 1986-10-15

Review by AbeVigoda555

AbeVigoda555 I've been on a kick over at the past week, just tearing through the early '80s stuff, and I have to echo the other commenters who've said that this show really shows the four gelling into the Phish we recognize today. I just wanted to add (because it looks like nobody has yet) that there is a very definite tease of Zappa's The Gumbo Variations in Mike's Song. It was probably on Trey's mind since they did Peaches earlier in the evening. :)
, attached to 1986-10-15

Review by MrPalmers1000DollarQ

MrPalmers1000DollarQ Though "Phish" had been around for nearly three years at this point, the band that plays this show is still super early in its formative stages. The step up to Hunt's from some of Burlington's (and UVM's/Goddard's) smaller venues represents a milestone as the band solidified itself as a local favorite, an upgrade from the group of buddies that would entertain their friends and classmates more casually. Though the tightknit, in-group community aura remains present for a few years, it's at this point in the band's career where the audiences began to contain some "Phish fans" in addition to peers.

Fall of '86 seems to be the point where the absence of Jeff and presence of Page feels familiar and comfortable, exemplified by a transformed (but still not finalized) McGrupp and moments like the Magic quote at the end of Shaggy Dog. The goofy Roll Like a Cantaloupe and debut of Fluffhead pieces Clod and Lushington also mark the early chapters of some of Phish's defining tunes.

This said, there are still plenty of signs of a group still searching for its identity: improvisations are kept on a tight leash and are relatively devoid of intra-band building. Another distinction that I found especially prominent can be found in Trey's guitarwork: both his tone and playstyle are heavily influenced by Jerry Garcia (they seriously sound like the Dead at certain points). It's cool to listen to the transformation that took place between this period and the late '87 shows that see Phish beginning to make some decisions that would ultimately lead to the 90s-era band we all know and love.
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