, attached to 1985-10-30

Review by aybesea

aybesea So we start here with a surprisingly complex and thought out Harry Hood. It is radically different than the finished product in many places, while incredibly similar in others. I've been listening to this embryonic stuff in date order and this is the first glimpse of what Phish would become. I can't say enough good things about this track.

Dog Log is its typical silly self and serves as an opportunity to launch us into a primordial Possum. This thing sounds nothing like it's modern incarnation. Aside from similar words and the three part harmony in the chorus, this song as played here has the same gait and chord structure as the Dog Log that preceded it. A truly fascinating glimpse of evolution at play.

Slave just keeps on maturing, and the version presented here is very much the same beast that you would hear at a modern Phish show... it's just not as smooth and refined. In other words, the heavy lifting is finished at this point... now begins the game of finesse.

The arrangement of the Robert Palmer song Sneaking Sally is also very similar to the way that the band still plays the song. Of particular note is that Mike bass sounds very funky indeed... a precursor of some of the deep funk from the late 90's. I suppose this makes sense since fans of early Robert Palmer undoubtedly know just how funky those albums were!

I Wish takes us back to the fact that this is a bar band playing bar band music... a wholly forgettable cover version.

Revival is the old ABB song, and Phish does an admirable job of covering this classic. Nothing groundbreaking... just enjoyable.

Alumni has matured to the point that it is a very competent blues improvisation piece. And Jimmy Page makes for a very clean and crisp bridge in the middle, complete with a shift on a dime change in time signatures.

Prep School Hippie is a real standout piece on this tape. I'm really kind of surprised that this didn't survive into modern sets, although they could have re-written some better words. The musical composition here is remarkably sophisticated for this nascent band.

I'm a little confused about Skippy here, though, since 2 weeks earlier it was played as McGrupp. I don't know if there is a bad date going on, or whether they simply waffled back and forth on how to approach this track. But in any case, this is a nicely maturing piece of music that, as you know, would become a part of the Phish long term story.

This is a really listenable and likeable show!


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