, 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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