Before broadband internet and the advent of video and audio streaming allowed fans to listen in to every Phish show as it happens, the band played a series of “you snooze, you lose” performances in which they filled the setlist with gems for out-of-the-way shows with low attendance. The most famous instance of “you snooze, you lose” came on this date in 1998, when the band covered Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon in its entirety as part of an epic show at the E Center in West Valley, Utah.
In Parke Puterbaugh’s 2009 authorized biography of the band, the author explains the genesis of the Dark Side performance. Considering most fans skipped the Utah show and instead went straight from the band’s two-night Halloween run in Las Vegas to Denver, it wasn’t a huge surprise many tickets were available for the visit to West Valley. Road manager Brad Sands and crew member Eric Larson realized just how undersold the show was and hatched a plan to make those who “snoozed” “lose.”
Larson told Puterbaugh, “Brad and I immediately ran to Trey and said, ‘There’s only 3,200 people here! You’ve gotta hurt ’em! You’ve gotta get ’em good! And he said, ‘Well, what can I do?’ And Brad and I looked at each other and said, “I think it’s time for Dark Side Of The Moon!’ And Trey said, ‘Okay, we’ll do Dark Side. Get the band.” With that a copy of the album was fetched and with just 90 minutes to showtime the quartet went about running through Dark Side backstage. After the first set, Phish went over a few songs and when they came out fit the entire album within “Harpua.”
Phish videotaped the Dark Side show, but the footage has remained in the vault with one exception. Archivist Kevin Shapiro hosted a From The Archives video edition at Festival 8 in 2009 and showed off “Breathe,” “On The Run” and “Time.” A fan named Raj pointed his camera at the screen displaying the footage at F8 and what’s below is the only video of the Dark Side set that circulates, at least for now:
Here’s an audience audio recording of the entire show:
[Originally Published: November 2, 2016]
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