Skippy and Fluffhead featured The Dude of Life on vocals. The jam after Camel Walk may have been Back Porch Boogie Blues. Spanish Flea included an introduction of the band members. Don’t Want You No More was not performed in its entirety, as it lacked the final lyrics. The lengthy percussion jam featured a guest appearance from Marc Daubert. Mike recalls that there were approximately 200 people in the audience. This gig featured the first known version of Slave to the Traffic Light and Fluffhead, the first known Phish versions of Fire, Don't Want You No More, Cities, and Skippy the Wondermouse, and the only known Phish version of Spanish Flea. This performance was on the upstairs level of Nectar's.
Debut Years (Average: 1983)
Song Distribution

This show was part of the "1984 Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1984-12-01

Review by SlavePhan

SlavePhan 12/1/84 Nectar's

For a very long time, many people believed this to be Phish's first show, simply because tapes of the Slade Hall and Grant Street shows from earlier in the fall weren't common. It was also impossible for phans to learn about the Harris-Miller ROTC show without the advent of internet-available interviews with the band acknowledging that 1983 gig being their first true show. The band itself didn't even know the true first date of their first show until sometime after 1998. This show was heavily circulated throughout the taping community (earning a 4.0 scarcity rating from TPC) and was easy to find in taper's lists, and, essentially fit the bill.

Two versions of this tape used to exist - one that fit conveniently on one-half of a 90 minute casette, and a full version. My version was the 1/2 version, and it wasn't until the digital upload of nearly every Phish show was I able to listen to a few of the songs left out.

The show starts off with a take on the Grateful Dead's Scarlet>Fire, with a Phish-y twist by adding Jimi Hendrix's fire in the middle. Trey takes a pretty lengthy solo in Scarlet, but his style is not much like what you hear today - it is heavily influenced by Garcia and Metheny and he has yet to find his own voice. Nonetheless, it's a nice solo and the band jumps into a rehearsed Spanish-Flea inspired transition into Fire. Fire also features a Trey solo, which is a bit louder and more like the Trey of today than the Scarlet solo, but pretty short. Following another Spanish-Flea transition, the band lays into Fire on the Mountain, the band's only cover of the song (unless you count the infamous 12/31/95 tease). They take their time with this song, and Trey's solo is much more melodic, but definitely heavily influenced by Garcia. Jeff Holdsworth is notably trying to find his way into these songs, but can never really seem to find the right place to sneak in, but this is still a very nice attempt at a cover from a young band.

After Fire on the Mountain peters out, the band starts Makisupa with Mike proclaiming "Rastify". It's an interesting version of Makisupa to say the least, with Trey using the original lyrics over and over (the keyword hadn't been 'invented' then) and then referencing the different band members and how each of them likes to play their instrument and 'smoke a little herb'. There's some interesting Trey banter in here and the band definitely has fun. The crowd is totally silent during this part, as I imagine they were probably wondering what was going on, prompting Fishman to ask "Are you guys dancing, having a fun time?". There's a bit more banter there, with Trey saying that Makisupa was written in "Kingston, Vermont" (Interesting that it contradicts later attributions of the song's creation with Tom Marshall in New Jersey). The band then introduces another original, Slave, written by "us". Marc Daubert chimes in, saying that the song is about the 'parking problem in Burlington', which overshadows Trey's explanation that it is about "everybody that lives in cities".

Slave is a beautiful but short version, with some extra percussion from Marc Daubert, and Jeff's part comparable to Page's rhythm sections today. This version ultimately sounds much different than any post-Page version of the song. Mike has a little bit more room to manuever with Jeff doubling-up essentially on his parts. Also, the extra percussion allows the song to march onwards forcefully, even in the quieter and now silent pauses. Trey's solo isn't even close to what most of you expect out of a Slave solo, but the build is quite nice. I think it is one of the better builds in the song's history, honestly (but I'm also a sucker for older shows).

Next, a cover by the Allman Brothers "Don't Want You No More" that is not particularly memorable. Phish does a so-so job covering it, but what is more interesting is the drum jam that follows, pitting Fish with Marc Daubert and it even seems like Trey joins in there somehow (likely, as Trey has referenced enjoying Drum jams with Fishman before). This goes on for quite a while, and at the end, Trey starts up Skippy.

Skippy features the Dude of Life with a funny build-up introduction from Trey. It mimics the traditional Icculus builds most listeners are familiar with. Skippy essentially was eviscerated later by McGrupp, so imagine McGrupp with interesting lyrics about a mighty-mouse-esque figure and the Dude's skewed voice. The Dude definitely brings Skippy to a thrashing conclusion. The audience seems a little confused, but the band moves into Fluffhead, a shortened original-style version of the song, albeit a bit sped-up with a different tempo than today. It also has the Dude on vocals. This is definitely the fastest version I've ever heard and pretty interesting due to the fact that it has not only additional percussion, a double-time tempo, the Dude screaming, and Jeff adding to the chaos.

The 'set' closes with another GD cover, 'Eyes of the World', with a little Chicago tease before the beginning by Trey. Jeff solos in this version, and its clear why he is on backing guitar - he is clearly better suited to backing up Trey at this point. It's a nice version, but I think the Scarlet>Fire>Fire is the better cover medley in this show.

This show is worth checking out if only for the complete chaos that ensues. If this type of setlist and these guests appeared in a Phish set in 2010, everyone would go berserk. But at the time, Phish was a small band, having fun with their friends - this type of warmth shines through in the recording and is worth a once-over. Listeners will be quick to discover that some of the songs in this set are worth tagging and keeping around, notably the Scarlet>Fire>Fire combo, the Slave, and the hilarious Spanish Flea cover.

~ SlavePhan
, attached to 1984-12-01

Review by dr_strangelove

dr_strangelove Scarlet begonias (where the recording starts) and fire are good takes with great energy.

Trey gets a great riff going at the beginning of the Fire on the Mountain jam. Worth hearing

Makisupa is goofy and worthwhile for those who enjoy Phish humor

The first Slave, kind of standard but good

Good Cities, with subtly awesome outro jam based on the main cities riff

Drums through fluffhead is take it or leave it. Interesting to hear Skippy because it contains the McGrupp music. Fluffhead in its infantile form. But the Dude of Life vocals are not my cup of tea.

Eyes of the world has a great, beautiful peak at the end.

Highlights: Fire On The Mountain, Cities, and end of Eyes of the World
, attached to 1984-12-01

Review by Dunwoody

Dunwoody This is a fun one historically speaking, but legitimate highlights are fairly few. The Scarlet Fire Fire is a fun idea with some good playing, but sounds a bit flat to me (my recording starts at Scarlet, so I can't speak to what came before). Makisupa is already the Makisupa we know and love, less the "keyword." This version features some extra-reggaey echo effexts that give it a bit more of an authentic feel, but you know, still a bunch of college dudes in Vermont.

Slave is already in pretty much the form we know today, except that Page isn't there. The red light sections are not as heavy as now, and instead have sort of a bluesy psych feel; the green light sections are nearly non-existent until the jam starts. It's a nice version, though certainly lacking the huge peak we know today.

Spanish Flea is really just background mysic for band intros, including the intro of "Wolfman" Mike Gordon.

The Don't Want You/Cities/Drums run is the real meat. Don't want you is strong, and the segue into Cities is seamless. The Cities itself doesn't bring a ton to the table except some funny improvised lyrics, but the Drums that follows is a beast. It's clear that Fish (and Daubs) absolutely can do big solos when wanted, and I wouldn't mind seeing it again today in the right setting.

Skippy and Fluff are noteworthy mostly for historical value. Skippy's a goofy little tune that eventually became McGrupp. It features the Dude doing some yelling and quasi rapping, and clearly is a delight for the crowd. Fluff is in roughly the same form as today, but obviously without Travels and with some different lyrics.

The Eyes starts out super slow, which is consistent with other Phish performances of the song. It's a solid performance, but brings little of the Phish touch to it -- it's Dead through and through.

Most of the value in this show is historical, but check out the Don't Want You through Drums for some solid early Phish.
, attached to 1984-12-01

Review by The_Ghost

The_Ghost I only have a recording starting at Scarlet Begonias and going to the end.

This show is a great listen to early phish. The fact that there are so many dead songs which are not covered by the band anymore, in fact this is the last time they covered Fire on the Mountain and Scarlet was only played on time after this.

It is great to hear early songs and, more, that a band which is so fluid to know that this long ago there were elements that still remain today if you happen to catch, for instance, Makisupa.

Given the nostalgic value this show gets and extra star bump.
, attached to 1984-12-01

Review by mikeymelikey

mikeymelikey I’m 39 and just started collecting Phish tapes. This is the first tape I listened to, and it’s a fun and odd listen. I was especially excited about this one because I have never heard Phish this early on. My tape (I say that because I think my tape may be mislabeled) starts Side A with Scarlet and ends with Slave and a band intro. That’s where it veers from the setlist above, and strange enough starts side B with Contact, highway to hell, and YEM (with Yer Blues from Halloween 94 as filler? I’m not joking.). I am not doubting the setlist above whatsoever, I’m just a new tape Phan wondering if these discrepancies are common. Thanks!
, attached to 1984-12-01

Review by Bob_Loblaw

Bob_Loblaw Slightly building to form

This show is the first I've heard where there seems to be some kind of foundation below the guys. Although playing is still fairly sloppy and armature, there seems to be a visible germ of what will become of this band. Trey slowly moves more and more into the forefront. And when he plays you can actually start to since the familiarity of it.

Scarlet -> Fire -> Fire on the Mountain although a cool idea is pretty dang sloppy in execution which for this period is ok. Don't Want You No More is a nice showcase of the guy's playing and ability at the time. And yes even in 1984 they could still do a pretty nice segue into Cities. Slave is played fairly well and unlike most debuts at this time, it's very interesting to hear that it will not change much at all. Not big on Dude of Life appearances and this is no different. But it's still cool to hear Skippy and Fluffhead in their infancy.

Another slow eyes. This one is definitely more pretty than the one before it.
, attached to 1984-12-01

Review by aybesea

aybesea Well, in my book [read it], this is a very enjoyable listen. While some of the covers are... well... like a bar band doing half-assed covers of songs that they just happen to like, there are other parts of this show that simply astound me. For instance, the Slave presented here is basically fully formed! I'm really surprised that such an immature band could already take on a heady song like that. The Makisupa is basically just a fun reggae jam, of course I suppose that it still is. And hearing them doing Spanish Flea is simply priceless... oh shades of The Dating Game!

The intros are a thing of wonder as well... "We call him the wolfman. Wolfman Mike Gordon on bass" [and 2 people clap]. What a fucking hoot!

Cities, as presented here, is definitely faster tempo than the way that they would end up covering it. Somewhere between the original T Heads tempo and their later slowed down groove. It is very listenable and perhaps the biggest pointer to the funk based grooving that would define this band. I also loved the nod to Deadheads in they lyric change.

Fluffhead is another song that is remarkably well formed in this early incarnation. Much of Trey's written part is already worked out and the zen of the song is right. The vocals on the other hand... well, I'll be kind seeing as that this is a family thing. But I'm certainly glad that Trey decided to take on this vocal himself.

All told, this one is a must [in my opinion]. It really helps in understanding the roots of my favorite band. Nice!
, attached to 1984-12-01

Review by Culture_Czar

Culture_Czar This is so much better than the earlier 84 and 83 tapes in existence both from a performance perspective as well as a sound quality perspective. That said, it's still not great and Phish tapes at this juncture are little more than historical curiosities. The fact that any of these shows rate higher than a one or a two is pretty mindboggling. Y'all are a lot kinder than me. I think super diehard Phish fans should give these a spin so they can hear the band's genesis, because they've come an astoundingly long way. This one isn't all bad though. The first half of what exists on tape is pretty entertaining and of solid bar band quality (Scarlet Begonias through Slave.) Spanish Flea is a fun curiosity as it's a peppy Herb Alpert cover than everyone kind of loves even though it has all the substance and sustenance of cotton candy. Once it gets to "Don't Want You No More" though, the set kind of nose dives in my opinion. A ten minute drums? (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz) and the Skippy & Fluffhead with the Dude aren't terribly inspiring. The Eyes of the World has its moments and it's fun hearing Phish play it, but you aren't missing out if you never listen to this show.
Add a Review
Setlist Filter
By year:

By month:

By day:

By weekday:

By artist:

Filter Reset Filters
Support & Mbird
Fun with Setlists
Check our Phish setlists and sideshow setlists! is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.

This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.

Credits | Terms Of Use | Legal | DMCA

© 1990-2024  The Mockingbird Foundation, Inc. | Hosted by Linode