, 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.


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