Watch Phish Play House Party On This Date In 1987

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On May 20, 1987 Vermont’s own Phish played a house party at The Ranch in Shelburne, Vermont that was videotaped for posterity and stands as the oldest circulating footage of the band. In the video below, we get to see the shaggy, longhaired members of the band performing in front of tie-died backdrops and surrounded by their friends.

The video starts with a slow and funky “Wilson” that’s quite different from the more intense versions of the modern era. Next up is a rhythm-heavy “Run Like An Antelope” during which Rob Dasaro of fellow Vermont band The Joneses runs around the top of the house’s roof. “Golgi Apparatus” follows along with a cover of Max Creek’s “Back Porch Boogie Blues.” This is an instrumental that bassist Mike Gordon tried to pawn off as an original to his mates as Phish was focusing on originals at the time. From there, the quartet infuses a bit of “The Chase” from Fluffhead within “Lushington” and continue on with “Possum,” “Harry Hood” and “You Enjoy Myself.” It’s thought this party was a graduation celebration so “Alumni Blues” was a fitting choice as closer and sees the band joined by members of The Jones and Mental Floss.

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About six years ago upgraded video of the set surfaced on YouTube and still stands as the highest quality footage of the 1987 performance on the site, though it’s thought the band has the master VHS in the vault. For now this video is a great document of the quartet’s early days:

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[Originally Published: May 20, 2016]