SET 1: Fire, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters, Shaggy Dog, Golgi Apparatus > Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, Peaches en Regalia, Phase Dance, Dear Mrs. Reagan, I Didn't Know, David Bowie
SET 2: Happy Birthday to You, AC/DC Bag > Timber (Jerry the Mule), Flat Fee, Fee, Possum, The Lizards, Fly Famous Mockingbird, Whipping Post
SET 3: Suzy Greenberg > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, Clod > Bundle of Joy, The Curtain With, The Ballad of Curtis Loew, Good Times Bad Times
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Review by SlavePhan
This show is a good reason why. Starting off with an inspired Fire, the band is locked in. While McGrupp and Shaggy Dog are a bit on the quiet side, Golgi manages to liven things up a bit. Many fans were calling for more 'rock n roll', and one woman even screams about 'this reggae sh!t'. Funny, since I don't know if McGrupp can be considered reggae. Nonetheless, Golgi, Alumni (dedicated to a friend of the band), and Peaches provide a mid-set rock fest. Pat Metheny's Phase Dance is next (which I talk about in the 9/27/88 review). It's always difficult to deal with Page's cheesy organ sound in this cover - perhaps one day they'll bring it out with their current equipment to do it some justice.
After a fun Dear. Mrs. Reagan, Trey introduces Alex, who is in her second night at Nectar's and encourages the audience to give her tips. He also introduces Paul and asks if anyone wants to buy his old guitar (at this point he had moved on to his Languedoc guitar "old reliable"). Trey introduces Fishman to play trombone on I Didn't Know, which was the essential precursor to the vacuum. A wonderful version of Bowie follows and closes the set. A very nice Bowie here, with some great interplay between the band members before the first verse. This builds slowly, but really is solid the last few minutes.
Set two has Trey introducing three people whose birthday it is. The first, "my sister Kristy", came from New York to run the lights (the same Kristy who the band wrote Joy for). He also calls up Del Martin, who at the time was recording the band's shows. Timber contains some teases of DEG from Trey and is particularly chaotic. Flat Fee, Fee, and Possum are all pretty standard, although it is worth mentioning the sing-along from the audience during Fee. Clearly, folks had picked up on this quirky song's chorus.
Lizards here is novel in that it contains a fairly interesting bridge (after the whoa-whoa-whoa part). It's a funky little jam with Trey fooling around with four notes, but it sounds great. Mockingbird, its debut, is particularly tame, as the band has trouble keeping up with Trey (who himself has trouble with the difficult finger-work). An extremely strong version of Whipping Post closes the set and makes me wonder if the band ever plays a weak version of the song (similar to my thoughts about Julius).
Set three opens with a goofy fake 'goodnight' from the band. Suzy and TMWSIY are pretty standard here. Sadly, an emasculated Clod moves into Bundle of Joy here. The full Clod was in its death throes at this point in the band's history and would only be seen once more (11/10/89) before being engulfed by Fluffhead. But, by this time, Clod had lost its promise. Compare this Clod to, say, 8/21/87 and you'll see what I mean.
The last Curtain with, before the emergence of The Curtain, appears here and is the highlight of the show. I love this version as the band patiently moves around in the jam before winding into a DEG-like section. GTBT to close is very solid and also features some DEG-teasing from Trey.
This is a particularly solid show, but like most 3-set Nectar's shows from this time period, there are definitely songs that are more worthwhile to hear than others. I like the Fire and Bowie in the first set and the extra-bridge Lizards and strong Whipping Post from the second set. Set 3 is highlighted by the wonderful Curtain-with. There are plenty of fun spots and banter in this show if you listen carefully, otherwise, stick to the highlights.