Flashback | A Five-Piece Phish Celebrates Earth Day '86

In celebration of Earth Day we want to look back at a Phish performance from the holiday back in 1986. The show took place at the University of Vermont in Burlington on April 15, 1986 and was one of the last to feature guitarist Jeff Holdsworth, who left the band just over a month later.

[Photo by Rich Wallace via Daniel Marshall]

You'll notice in the photo above keyboardist Page McConnell, who joined the group in 1985, is using milk cartons as a stool. Page reprised the feat on New Year's Eve during the band's JEMP Set at Madison Square Garden. Phish's Earth Day performance in 1986 featured early versions of songs that would go on to become staples of the band's repertoire such as "You Enjoy Myself," "Possum," "Slave To The Traffic Light" and "AC/DC Bag" as well as a few choice covers such as the debut of Miles Davis's "All Blues."

Here's Phish archivist Kevin Shapiro's notes on the performance:

This show was an Earth Day Concert at UVM. The setlist is exactly the same as 4/29/86 so one date (or at least one setlist) is incorrect. Before AC/DC Bag, Trey introduced his dad (“all the way from NJ”). This show featured the 1st known performance of All Blues (Miles Davis cover) surrounded by Trey’s banter about The Bob Dylan band. Dog Log was dedicated to all the dogs at the show including “Marley The Wonder Dog”. Anarchy was dedicated to Jim Tasse (Jones) who was leaving to play with The Joneses and Sierra at Slade Hall. Anarchy was performed three times at this show – first with the usual “Anarchy” lyric, then as “Jim Tasse” and finally as “Nazi Trustees” and “Killer African Bees”. Camel Walk was introduced as a disco song (imagine the disco ball). Also, according to Garrett Mead, Paul Paul the Banjo Man played two of his tunes solo: Rutabega Boogie and Life Gets Tedious. According to a recording circulated among fans, Trey’s father, Ernie Anastasio opened for Phish on banjo or ukelele with Trey, performing 2 songs – Rutabega Boogie and Life Gets Tedious. This information does not match Garrett’s recollection of Paul Paul The Banjo Man and is considered legend until confirmed.

[Photo by Rich Wallace via Daniel Marshall]

Set 1: AC/DC Bag > Dear Mrs. Reagan, Prep School Hippie, Quinn the Eskimo -> Slave to the Traffic Light, Makisupa Policeman, Have Mercy, All Blues[1] > Dog Log > Possum, You Enjoy Myself, Anarchy, Camel Walk -> Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues

[1] First known Phish performance; approximately one minute long.

Teases: · The Music Never Stopped tease in Possum

Notes: The band was introduced by Trey as the “Bob Dylan Band” before a jam that led into a short All Blues (the first known Phish performance; it was only about a minute long). Dog Log was dedicated to all of the dogs that are running around -- including Marley the Wonder Dog. Possum included a Music Never Stopped tease.

[Setlist via Phish.net]

The performance circulates as a soundboard recording and can be streamed here.

[Published on: 4/22/14]

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