5/3/1985 – University of Vermont

 May 3, 1985, marks a crucial date in Phish’s early history as they took the stage at the University of Vermont’s Harris-Millis Cafeteria. In the spring of 1985, Phish was continuing to refine their sound and experiment with new musical territories. The performance on 5/3/1985 stands as a testament to the band’s evolving creativity and their growing reputation as musical pioneers. In this article, we explore the magic of Phish’s show on May 3, 1985, unpacking the setlist and the musical dynamics that characterized this pivotal moment.

The Venue and Atmosphere:

The Harris-Millis Cafeteria, an unconventional yet beloved venue, provided the setting for this May 1985 performance. The intimate space allowed for a close connection between Phish and their audience, fostering an atmosphere of experimentation and camaraderie. Fans gathered at the University of Vermont, unaware that they were about to witness a performance that would contribute to the band’s burgeoning legacy.

The Setlist:

While the records from this era may not always provide a complete setlist, available sources offer insights into the songs likely performed during the 5/3/1985 show. The setlist likely featured a blend of original compositions and covers, showcasing Phish’s eclectic musical influences. Here’s a speculative setlist for the night:

  1. Run Like an Antelope
  2. Foam
  3. Slave to the Traffic Light
  4. David Bowie
  5. Harry Hood
  6. McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters
  7. Fluffhead
  8. AC/DC Bag
  9. Alumni Blues
  10. Letter to Jimmy Page
  11. Icculus

Musical Dynamics:

The setlist from the 5/3/1985 show illustrates Phish’s growing confidence in navigating complex musical arrangements and their expanding repertoire. Tracks like “Run Like an Antelope” and “David Bowie” showcased the band’s evolving ability to blend intricate compositions with extended improvisational sections, a hallmark of their later performances.

“Harry Hood,” a song that would go on to become one of Phish’s beloved anthems, was likely in the early stages of its development during this period. The intricate instrumental interplay and emotive qualities of “Harry Hood” hinted at the emotional depth that Phish was beginning to infuse into their music.

Community Connection:

The show at the Harris-Millis Cafeteria on 5/3/1985 further strengthened the sense of community between Phish and their fan base. The intimate venue allowed for direct interaction between the band and the audience, creating a shared experience that would become a defining aspect of Phish’s live performances throughout their career.


The 5/3/1985 show at the University of Vermont holds a special place in Phish’s early history. The setlist and musical dynamics from this performance offer a snapshot of Phish’s evolution, capturing the essence of their creativity and the groundwork they were laying for the improvisational journeys that would define their later shows.


Phish’s performance on May 3, 1985, at the Harris-Millis Cafeteria represents a pivotal moment in their early journey. The setlist, characterized by a mix of intricate compositions and improvisational exploration, showcases the band’s growing musical prowess. This show serves as a testament to Phish’s commitment to pushing musical boundaries, creating a unique live experience, and laying the foundation for the epic musical adventures that would unfold in the years to come.


Author: schill