From: Charlie Dirksen

***REVISED Sep 1997***

I thought about doing a "top ten shows" post awhile ago, but well, 
decided pretty quickly that I don't have, and can't really define, a 
"top ten."  My top five pre-1996 shows are probably 12/31/95, 5/28/89, 
10/31/94, 8/21/87, and 2/20/93, though.  I can't explain why I have an 
easier time with a top five than with a top ten.  There are too many 
excellent shows from 1996 and 1997 (the Went, the Ball, West Palm 
11/2/96, Vegas 12/6/96, Shoreline 7/31/97, misc. Europe 1997 shows, 
Raleigh 7/22/97..) that I really can't pick a "top five."

The following reflections are offered in several parts for more
convenient reply & comment.  All I've done is highlight some great
sets and shows over the course of Phishtory.  Most of you know that
if I wanted your opinion, I would give it to you, but I am hoping
that as many people as possible will comment for the benefit of
everyone (and ignore me).  Even if you don't have a lot of tapes,
your two cents may help substantiate the magnificence of certain sets
and shows, and could encourage someone who is sluggish to go after
something.  Even if you are ME TOO-ing, I think you should post.  It
will certainly be more interesting than the vast majority of crap on
Lamehendge these days.  Please comment.

For what it is worth, the following leaves out _A LOT_ of *excellent*
sets and shows, especially from August 1993, November 1994, and December
1995, which are inarguably my three favorite months of Phish.  I
basically recommend everything in these months as exceptional Phish,
although there are admittedly (and obviously) some sets from these
months that are unremarkable (where the band appeared to be resting).

The following comments are conditioned on my subjective view of the 
hundreds of Phish shows that I've heard over the last 7 years, but 
especially on comments I've read on this conference over the last 
three years.  Just because you've only been on-line for a day, have 
only seen one show, and have only a few tapes, doesn't mean that you 
shouldn't comment.  You are probably more of a Fan than I am, since, 
though I love Phish, there are some songs I hope never to hear again.  
You look forward to every new show and every new tape uncontaminated 
by years of listening, and open-eared to all that might transpire 
(even the most plebeian of Caverns, Sparkles, Bouncins, HorseSilents, 
Rifts, and/or Golgis).  I look forward to shows for the JAMMING and 
the passion with which tunes that jam are played, and for the scene in 
general.  But I still envy those of you who haven't heard that much, 
since there's a much greater chance that a perfectly average Phish 
show to my ears/eyes (read: GREAT) will knock you over in ecstatic 
glee.  I wish I could still be knocked over in such an all-hallowed 
manner more often these days.

Many of you know that I am always dubbing for people, but I can't
honor *ANY* tape requests for the shows/sets below right now.  Almost
all of these are well-circulated and so you should be able to find
them on the net without difficulty.


12/01/84  Nectar's, Burlington, VT
     Oh come on, you don't have this?  Earliest Phish show that 
circulates on tape, and high quality copies are beginning to circulate 
finally.  An amusing Scarlet -> Fire (Hendrix) -> Fire on the 
Mountain, and some killer drumming from Fish. (not to mention a fun 
Skippy the Wondermouse.. and an Eyes of the World encore)

10/15/86 Hunt's, Burlington, VT 	 
     Languedoc's first show at the sbd, and only on a 90 (thanks Nick, 
and Shelly), this tape contains some extremely fun jams, including a 
raging Quinn the Eskimo > Mike's Song, and a Have Mercy > Harry Hood. 
Other favorites on this, my most treasured, pre-87 tape are Shaggy 
Dog, Camel Walk, Sneakin Sally, Mustang Sally, and a Swing Low Sweet 
Chariot Jam.  The Wilson > Slave to kick open this tape/set/show isn't 
half-bad either!

4/29/87  Nectar's, Burlington, VT
      Lots of great almost-never-played-anymore tunes, including a 
highly entertaining Melt the Guns (XTC cover) -> Dave's Energy Guide.  
It doesn't circulate on very high quality, but worth hearing 

8/21/87  Ian Mclean's Farm, Hebron, NY
	This show is mislabeled everywhere as 8/27/87 due to a
handwriting mistake.  It is also mislabeled as a SBD, when in fact it
is a high-quality audience tape (the taper was Eric Larson).  Sure,
there could be SBD copies of this show circulating, but if there are
dogs on your tapes, you've got the AUD copy.  Highlights include three
long sets, a Curtain > Slow 'Rift' Jam, a Skin It Back > Low Rider Jam
> Creek Jam > Sloth which RULES, a fantastic third set with segues
everywhere, and lots of fun stage banter (and MARLEY, of course!).

6/20/88  Nectar's, Burlington, VT
     There's a reggae medley-jam with Jah Roy that is so long that it 
stretches from tape 1 to tape two!  Fun for the entire family, and a 
pre-90 keeper for sure.

8/6/88  The Roma, Telluride, CO
	I love this tape.  So far, it is the only tape of this show
that I've heard.  I don't think there are any others.  The YEM >
Cities > Dave's Energy Guide > Cities just SMOKES, not to mention the
Satin Doll and Sanity.  Both Dinner and Slave cut to end sides A and B
respectively (from what I've heard, thanks to Paul using a 90 min
analog at the board!), but this tape is still must-hear imo.

5/28/89  Ian McLean's Farm, Hebron, NY
	Another three-set, amazing Ian's show, this is my favorite pre-93
show without question.  Three long sets, lots of humorous stage banter and
dogs (HI MARLEEE!!), some killer jamming (especially in YEM), but also
fantastic set lists (check 'em out).  FWIW, since my first copy of
this show was wrong (I've since been upgraded by someone who is
connected), yours could be too:  Split Mango and Harry end the show.
AND fwiw, this was apparently not really a three set show.  There was
just a little five-ten minute break or so between "set two" and "set
three." There's basically nothing I don't like about this show, and I
can't recommend it enough.  A very enjoyable listening EXPERIENCE..

11/4/90  Fort Ram, Fort Collins, CO
	The entire Colorado tour around this time is sweeeeet, but my
favorite show is 11/4, even though I really dig 11/2 and set two of
11/3.  This Fort Ram show opens with 'Bag (when it wasn't all that
common) and Curtain, and contains a Tube/Harry/Funky Bitch/Asse
Festival run in the first (the first set closes with Bowie).  The
second set opens rather dryly with a Golgi/RockyTop/Llama, but picks
up mightily with a MikesGroove & Manteca>Caravan>Manteca.  The second
set ends with You Enjoy Myself, which is really all that needed to be
said.. sorry.  

12/28/90  The Marquee, New York City, NY
	Thank you John Popper!  A must-have set for Popper fans, the
second set of this show ends with It's No Good Tryin, Don't Get Me
Wrong (written by Popper and Trey), and a great Funky Bitch!  The Coil
> Tweezer > Manteca > Tweezer earlier in this set -- and the Possum --
will also boil your blood.

two cents