By Fall 1991 Phish was so incredibly tight and their music was so inventive that the Vermont-based quartet won new fans each night. Within two years they would be headlining sheds and within three performing at Madison Square Garden and Boston Garden. Newly-restored video footage from a stellar Fall ’91 show has surfaced thanks to the efforts of four people and is the subject of this week’s Full Show Friday column.
Videographer Josh “Scoop” Porter brought his Hi8 camcorder to capture the action at Providence’s Campus Club on November 20, 1991. He had two problems: he needed power for his cam and didn’t want to rely on the camera’s microphone. Scoop solved the first problem by unplugging an air hockey table at the venue and plugging in his camera. The second issue couldn’t be solved as Phish’s soundman at the time, Paul Languedoc denied Scoop’s request for a patch of the soundboard feed.
After Josh taped the show, he made one copy on VHS and then stored the master. Josh mentioned the video tapes had broken in their cases to his friend and Phish fan Steve “Weave” Dumond. Weave took possession of the tapes, after a few years went by, and dropped them off at Cintrex AV in Maryland Heights, Missouri for restoration. Cintrex wound up sending the moldy tapes to a specialist who painstaking restored the footage by hand. Dumond compared the footage he received back to the few clips on YouTube (which apparently came from the VHS Josh had made) and was astounded at how much better the quality of the video on the restored masters was. Steve sent the footage off to Arty “Marmar” Haynes who, along with “Mr. Fred O.,” synched up the one existing audience recording of the show to the restored video and recently uploaded the final product to YouTube.
As for the show itself, fans get to see an “on-the-verge” Phish crush “Buried Alive” and “Possum” to start. The band take a trip to Gamehendge for “Colonel Forbin’s Ascent” > “Fly Famous Mockingbird” and work incredibly tight takes on “Bathtub Gin” and “You Enjoy Myself” into the first set. Phish’s second set included a frenetic “Run Like An Antelope,” a rare (terrible) fretless guitar performance from drummer Jon Fishman on “Bike” and a guest appearance from Carl Gerhard on trumpet for “Cavern.” Geerz stuck around for the “Magilla”/”Brother” encore.
Thanks to the efforts of all involved in bringing this classic Phish show to the masses. Watch Phish’s November 20, 1991 performance in Providence:
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