SET 1: Harry Hood, Dog Log > Possum, Slave to the Traffic Light, Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley, I Wish, Revival, Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, Prep School Hippie, Skippy the Wondermouse
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Review by SlavePhan
This is a commonly traffic-ed early show from Hunt's. The show contains both Jeff and Page during a rare period in the band. It's important to point out that at this stage, Page had recently joined the band (first sit-in performance 5/3/85 at UVM's last day party and first official performance just a month before this show) but Jeff hadn't quite gotten the boot just yet. What is quite noticeable is the difficulty with which these two members have in finding their own voice within the mix. It's essentially as if the band has not one but two rhythm sections, and neither knows whom should play what. This is most noticeable in the nascent Possum.
The show starts off with the first Harry Hood ever. Trey explains "this one is the story about the man who lives directly across the street from us." He also elaborates on how it is the story of Harry's "vacation across the globe, to the sunny beaches of Greece", a reference to Trey and Fish's escapades eating acid in Greece (explained in the Phish Book); as well, Trey references Brian Long, his roommate, along with Fish, at the time.
The version has some the same 'general' structure as today. Page is pretty quiet throughout the mix and hasn't really written his parts into the song yet. Particularly, the building 'one-two-three' section is intact, but the Trey solo-breakdown after that is without a Trey solo, has Jeff playing a lower-toned solo (or maybe that's trey with a weird pedal), and lasts several measures longer than today. It stretches on quite long, but eventally makes it to the start and stop section. The Jam on this version is quite noisy because there are so many voices in the band and there is no ending solo. At the end, Mike says "one day they will pay us to do that, I know it", which is funny in retrospect.
Dog Log follows and Page's contribution is noticeable here. Possum, the first version ever played, is incredibly different - the tempo by Fish is essentially the same as Dog Log played before it. Jeff is on vocals, with Trey kind of moaning in the background. Instead of a Trey solo, Page "shows [us] the way". This is the weirdest Possum, maybe, ever, or, as Jeff says "just a little ditty I wrote...what the heck."
Before Slave, Trey references the previous Goddard show that the band couldn't play because they were apparently too incapacitated to perform. Mike, however, says 'deja vu', which is pretty funny. Slave is notable just because Page's contribution noticeably edges Jeff's previous role out.
Sneaking Sally follows, with a vocal jam in the middle, with Trey, Mike, and Jeff singing their parts. 'I Wish', a "dance song", the Stevie Wonder cover comes next. Mike chimes in "hippies have a right to dance too", which is apropos, since this is probably the best song of the night. They do a pretty good job with this one, including a nice solo by Page.
The Allman's 'Revival' is appropriate for the 2 guitar lineup, but isn't particularly noteworthy. Prior to Alumni Blues>LTJP>Alumni, Trey pitches the radio station at UVM that he used to DJ for - Alumni is actually pretty good, considering the chaos in the band.
The best part of the show, however, is Prep School Hippie. This rare early gem is the shining part of this show. The band nails it and the bridge is definitely a Phish mini-jam that everyone should hear. It's very McGrupp-esque. Skippy closes. It is much better than the 1984 Nectar's version with the Dude of Life, and at this point, is pretty much McGrupp with different lyrics. The jam at the end, however, is much more Allman's-ey than what you'll hear these days - likely a holdover for the fact that there are 2 guitars in the band.
Overall, an early show with some funky early versions of Phish classics. The band is still trying to figure out their style, and the dynamics between the members. It's almost like they can't decide whether Jeff or Page should play particular parts. There's some good banter and Prep School Hippie is worth a listen (particularly because it is the lone version without a Trey solo and has a wonderful chord progression in the bridge), as is "I Wish". The Sound Quality of most versions is quite poor, though, so be prepared for some serious tape hiss!