This is the first known Curtain without “With.” The second set listing may be incomplete. The first two songs of the second set featured John Carlton on drums. I Didn't Know and Sneakin’ Sally featured Fish on trombone. Mike dedicated Mustang Sally to Abe Vigoda "because it's his birthday today" and later introduced La Grange as being by Vigoda.
Debut Years (Average: 1986)

This show was part of the "1988 Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1988-02-24

Review by EducateFright

EducateFright My download from The Spreadsheet is an aud of substandard quality (not surprising for the time period... I wouldn't classify it as unlistenable). At times Trey is rather low in the mix; conversely, Page is quite high in the mix, contributing to the spaciness of YEM, Hood, and other tunes.
I found myself focusing on Fishman during YEM – naturally, he's not yet the best drummer in rock (evident in some standout sloppy fills sprinkled here and there), but he IS on his way.
The Wilsons from this period are quite bizarre – they're loose and funky in a brooding sense. The “breakdown” section of this Wilson features Page aggressively laying down the minor chords while Mike obtrusively focuses on the lowest notes he can produce.
From Peaches on, set 1 is actually quite tight. Slave is strikingly good! The same can be said of Bowie: the high-hat intro segment puts a smile on my face, and the improvised section gets off to a great start (too bad the tape cuts out near the end).
I wasn't too impressed with Mustang Sally and the guest vocalist, but what can I say? This is "Phish, the bar band" after all. Following Mustang, the guest vocalist moves to the drum kit, and Fishman is on trombone for Sneakin' Sally. The resulting sound is distinctly unusual for Phish... and totally forgettable.
The Harry Hood that closes the show is a highlight, but not enough to save this show, which remains a far-cry from being anything close to “must hear” material.
, attached to 1988-02-24

Review by SlavePhan

SlavePhan Son Seals, Del McCoury, Santana, Dave Matthews, MMW, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Kid Rock, Jay-Z. These are some of the most famous guests in Phish history. But back in February of 1988, the band was small enough that rowdy onlookers were able to come onstage and play with the band. Such was the case this night at Gallagher's, just outside of Burlington.

The first set here features the emergence of the short-Curtain, an enthusiastic trombone solo by Fish in I Didn't Know, along with a common Wilson>Peaches medley. The set-closing Bowie, while nice and long, isn't anything particularly out of the ordinary for the time period, nor for the long run.

However, as the band got back on stage for the start of the final set (possibly the 3rd, as the band announces that they will take a short break after YEM), the bar music is on and Trey asks "who are these guys". Well, apparently an onlooker had begun to heckle the band who was in a band himself and wanted Phish to play some "God damn Willie". Trey interacts with the drunks for a bit and finally relents, saying "alright, you play the f-ckin song man". So, the guy, named John Carlton, gets up onstage and decides to add vocals to Phish. Trey announces the "guest star" who is going to "belt you in the face".

John Carlton, who seems to be pretty intoxicated, sounds very much like the Dude of Life, and screams his way through Mustang Sally. Amazingly, it doesn't sound half bad, as Phish is pretty good at playing the backing band, although the vocals get to be a touch over the top. Not to be kept off the stage, the "man of many talents" moves his way over to the drums, where he plays drums to a trombone-laden Sneakin Sally featuring calls for Fish to "play [his] bone".

To add to the craziness of the set, Trey then announces that they'll play their version of Johnny B. Goode, entitled "Johnny B. Sane". A wonderful version of Sanity ensues and the place explodes after La Grange. Closing the show, the band elects to play Harry Hood even though the audience protests the reggae (?) choice. I like the closing jam to this Hood. Trey was in his story-telling period, and he finds 4 notes that work and meanders about them for a while, with Page following suit. A nice way to end a slightly off-the-wall set.

Musically, this set doesn't feature much for the veteran listener, although the Hood saves this show from being a total pass-over. The funny John Carlton incident is worth listening if you're a fan of banter in the early years. Otherwise, sound quality isn't all that high and there isn't anything that stands out from this show that can't be found in better form elsewhere.
, attached to 1988-02-24

Review by kipmat

kipmat I was a little dubious about the date of this show, as Page is not playing the Yamaha electric piano that he plays on other February 1988 shows (and played all the way through 1992). The inclusion of The Lizards in this set contradicts this, and it seems more likely that the Yamaha just didn't make it onto the stage that night, possibly for space reasons, or because the power cord was left behind and Paul Languedoc had not yet attempted to manufacture a replacement. :)

Anyway, Page on the Fender Rhodes electric piano lends a unique sound to Lizards, as well as Curtain, songs where we are otherwise used to hearing a piano sound. As @SlavePhan said, the first set is otherwise standard stuff, and the last set is Phish having fun playing in a bar. I can't help but be impressed by the band's composure handling a heckler and inviting him up on the stage. Although the band provides decent support for Mr. Carlton, Trey can't help but sabotage Mustang Sally by sustaining a single note on his 'doc for the last minute and a half. I would love to have been there to see it.
, attached to 1988-02-24

Review by BBrods

BBrods 3.1/5

This show is just another standard '88 show. Some good playing as usual, but nothing that makes this show a must-listen.

Set I kicks off with a nice Funky Bitch and Fluffhead, both of which are played well. First Curtain without "with" and it delivers nicely, but always feels empty to me without the "With", unless it's opening a show. YEM was nothing special. Even the Bowie in Set I was below average version.

Set II has John Carlton come up to guest on drums ,which didn't add much really. He wasn't as good of a player as Fishman and didn't know many songs as you can hear the banter on stage. Sneakin' was a cool unique version with Fishman on Trombone while Carlton played drums, but the band was pretty sloppy throughout. The transition from the Sneakin' Vocal JAm > the ending gets much tighter later in the year.
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