The listed setbreaks may be incorrect. Happy Birthday, played in a decidedly 'dub' style, was dedicated to “Spup.” This show marked the first known Phish performances of Rocky Top and Terrapin. Flat Fee was teased after Antelope.
Debut Years (Average: 1985)

This show was part of the "1987 Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1987-09-21

Review by BudokanCostume

BudokanCostume Love this show. I'm attempting the fun-daunting task of attempting to listen to all the recorded shows. Will I make it?

I don't know, but this show from a Monday night in late September 1987 makes it worth the digging. I'm trying to get my thoughts and notes down before reading the other reviews, but before I clicked the button I saw @DollarBill's first line about this show is a good example of how their roots still come through today. I agree as I noticed for the first time some hallmarks and traits that I can't get enough of still when they still bring them out.

Coming off a "far out" recording effort from the 1987.09.02 show, the crispy sound and performance of Clod immediately jump out. I love how loose and funky AC/DC is, and it sounds like Trey is stepping away from the full-throated “baaaahhhhhgg” approach to the refrain, even if the recording abruptly cuts off. Some quintessential YEM Acapella Madness, fun boogieing interludes in The Curtain With, a completely raging and manic, BBFCFM!, and an extra Dubby Makisupa. Yes, yes, and yes.

I love getting to hear these early shows for picking up tracks like Flat Fee, and for giving me the rundown on its history. Everything about this show is popping off, the crowd, the band, the recording… definitely the best show of ‘87 I’ve listened to so far, and a Monday none-the-less.

I do know what that Terrapin was, but since my first time seeing them, I’ve always been blown away by their fearlessness to do anything. It’s a bummer that Fluffhead gets cut up and chopped off, but I’m sure it was sweet, floating, and joyful as it’s ever been, and something only those who were there will get to hold on to.
, attached to 1987-09-21

Review by SlavePhan

SlavePhan The second of a two-night stand at Nectar's, only this Monday night show was captured and is not part of Del Martin's hoard. While hardly any September '87 shows exist, this month saw the band being developing the final structure of some of their most famous songs (YEM, Fluffhead) although Fluffhead wouldn't stay stable until a year or so later.

I'd give the audio quality for this show a B-/C+. All members are in the mix, but there are definitely some songs that are scratchier than others, probably the result of the show being pieced together from multiple sources. Another result of the piecing-together is that no one is sure if this is the right set list.

We do know that TMWSIY started the show, and it is quite beautiful. A mellow Clod leads into an equally-beautiful Slave, featuring no Trey solo but a nice build. Standard Bitch. Wilson is played a bit quicker than previous versions, and the audience likes it. Dear Mrs. Reagan is also particularly mellow, approaching near quiet at parts.

If you're looking for a dead-on Junta version of Golgi, this one is pretty close. AC/DC Bag is pretty standard, except that it chugs along and slowly morphs into Possum. A nice transition here. Possum is inspired with lots of screaming by the band, although musically nothing out of the ordinary.

YEM opens the second set and contains the second-ever Mike solo part. Somewhere around this time Mike gained the courage to add in some fills. Additionally, this is the first of the drum and bass ends of the jam, as Trey shouts out "Bass and Drums, Bass and Drums", akin to 8/21.

The Curtain is what I like to call the 'Circurtain', because it has this weird Mike and Fish circus-y beat throughout it. I don't know what was going on, but it is really bizarre. Trey also keeps playing the same lick over and over (maybe its a tease that I'm unfamiliar with?). Anyways, this could be the most butchered Curtain there is, aside from the Coventry disaster. While Suzy and Alumni seem to be an attempt by the band to get back in the groove, they are pretty standard too, really. The audience must have been waning at this point, as Trey tries to get folks to stick around before the break.

Happy Birthday is sung to Spup featuring a large audience sing-a-long to start off set 3. The rest of this set, though, is fairly standard. A very early Rocky top makes its appearance at the start of the set and it's clear the band isn't totally comfortable with it yet - Mike even forgets some of the lyrics. A soulful Curtis Loew is also nice.

Take special mention of the Robert Bork reference in Makisupa, as this was taking place at the time of the Bork supreme court confirmation hearings. Antelope contains a 4 minute jam just on the reggae-breakdown part of the song before the lyrics. After Fire, for some reason, Fish makes his way to the mic and croons the first version of Terrapin. It is as terrible as you can imagine, as this is the first time he's ever spotlighted in the band. It's hard to believe that the audience even claps! La Grange is a nice closer - and although Fluffhead is played, it's cut early.

This show is not particularly filled with anything noteworthy. If you're looking for worst-ever versions, check out this Curtain. I like the extremely soulful and quiet Curtis Loew and long extended Makisupa, and, for those amassing every Fish song, the first Terrapin. Overall, though, this show is easily worth a pass.
, attached to 1987-09-21

Review by DollarBill

DollarBill Another interesting show from 1987 at Nectar's gives us a little perspective on how the band's roots influence them even today. Again, SlavePhan has done an excellent job at reviewing this, so I can be brief.

It sounds like TMWSIY is teased during Slave. The Curtain is not all that bad; it just has more of a bluegrass feel to it instead of the usual drum part. Rocky Top is performed in a different key, which is too high for Mike to sing at this point. Trey also mentions technical difficulties afterwards. Flat Fee is false started before Makisupa, then played after that. Terrapin is actually pretty normal and isn't the same without a vacuum solo that I'm so used to hearing. This may be Trey on drums too, but it's not noted and not sure who is playing guitar then?

All in all it's not a bad show, just pretty average for 1987. Check it out if you're into old school shows.
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