10/17/1985 – Finbar’s

 In the intimate confines of Finbar’s in Burlington, Vermont, on October 17, 1985, Phish embarked on a musical journey that left an indelible mark on those fortunate enough to be in attendance. This early gem in Phish’s extensive catalog offered a glimpse into the band’s burgeoning creativity and their ability to weave diverse musical elements into an unforgettable tapestry.

The show commenced with a cosmic overture, colloquially known among fans as the “Star Trek Jam,” setting an otherworldly tone for the evening. This improvisational prelude served as a testament to Phish’s willingness to venture into uncharted musical territories right from the start.

The band seamlessly transitioned into the dynamic duo of “Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues,” showcasing their early penchant for intricate segues and setting the stage for an evening of musical exploration. The familiar chords of “Mike’s Song” then took hold, ushering in a cascade of intricate instrumentals and improvisational wizardry.

As the set unfolded, Phish demonstrated their command of diverse genres. “Revolution” and “Anarchy” introduced a socio-political edge, while the infectious groove of “Camel Walk” had the audience moving to the rhythm. The set reached its zenith with the classic “Run Like an Antelope,” featuring energetic interplay and a glimpse of the improvisational prowess that would define Phish’s future performances.

“McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters” brought the first set to a close, leaving the crowd in awe of Phish’s musical dexterity and the seamless blend of complex compositions and improvisation.

Looking back at the Finbar’s show on October 17, 1985, it becomes evident that Phish was already carving out a unique space in the live music landscape. The “Star Trek Jam” and the eclectic setlist reflected the band’s willingness to push boundaries, creating an immersive experience that went beyond traditional concert norms.

This performance at Finbar’s stands as a time capsule—a testament to the early brilliance of Phish. The setlist, marked by inventive segues and a cosmic opening, foreshadowed the band’s future as trailblazers in the world of improvisational music. The intimate setting of Finbar’s provided the perfect canvas for Phish to paint a sonic masterpiece, leaving an enduring legacy that would continue to captivate audiences for decades to come.

SET 1: T.V. Theme, Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues > Mike’s Song, Dave’s Energy Guide, Revolution, Anarchy, Camel Walk, Run Like an Antelope, McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters


Author: schill