Page McConnell Makes Phish Debut In 1985

By Andy Kahn May 3, 2016 12:20 pm PDT

When Phish formed in Burlington, Vermont in 1983 the foursome was made up of guitarists Trey Anastasio and Jeff Holdsworth, drummer Jon Fishman and bassist Mike Gordon. Percussionist Marc Daubert would come and go by early 1985, just before the band would undergo final and permanent lineup changes.

Keyboardist Page McConnell made his debut with Phish on May 3, 1985, sitting-in with the group during their appearance at the University of Vermont in Burlington. which according to was just the band’s 23rd show. Previewed toward the end of the first set that night, Anastasio told the audience at Wilks/Davis/Wing Dormitory on UVM’s Redstone Campus, “We’ve got a special guest with us today from Goddard College – we have Page on keyboards and it’s going to be a treat.” McConnell then emerged to join the quartet for a number of songs in the second half of the show and by 1986 Holdsworth had left Phish and Page had joined the group full time.

Phish’s setlist 31 years ago today featured several covers, including the Grateful Dead’s “Scarlet Begonias,” “Eyes Of The World” and their lone take on “The Other One,” The Rolling Stones’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking,” Frank Zappa’s “Big Leg Emma,” Lou Reed’s “Wild Child,” Talking Heads’ “Cities,” Holdsworth singing The Allman Brothers Band’s “Whipping Post” and the sole rendition of the blues staple “Bring It On Home.” McConnell’s contributed to a number of the above covers, as well as originals such as “McGrupp And The Watchful Hosemasters,” “Makisupa Policeman” and “Run Like An Antelope.”

Below is a low-fidelity recording of “Scarlet Begonias” > “Eyes Of The World” posted by fromtheaquarium:

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