1. Scarlet Begonias > (1983/12/02- Burlington, VT, Harris-Millis Cafeteria, University of Vermont)
2. Fire on the Mountain (1983/12/02- Burlington, VT, Harris-Millis Cafeteria, University of Vermont)
3. Jam -> Bertha (1984/11/03- Burlington, VT, Slade Hall, University of Vermont )
4. Eyes of the World (1984/12/01- Burlington, VT, Nectar’s)
5. The Other One (1985/05/03- Burlington, VT, University of Vermont)
6. Help On the Way > (1986/04/01- Burlington, VT, Hunt’s)
7. Slipknot! > (1986/04/01- Burlington, VT, Hunt’s)
As a rule of thumb, Phish doesn’t cover Grateful Dead. Not so for their first few formative years. In fact, the first live recording (featured here) is a lovely ‘Scarlet->Fire’! A handful of other Dead tunes popped up here and there, selections of which are compiled here chronologically. To keep it pure and simple, I decided not to include covers like “Not Fade Away”, “In The Midnight Hour”, or “Quinn The Eskimo”, that were likely inspired from seeing the Dead play, but could just as easily have been drawn from their original artists. Except for a few very rare instances, Dead covers disappeared as the “Slipknot!” here transitioned into “AC/DC Bag”. As if signalling that they no longer needed their forefathers’ songs anymore.
I also suppose admission has to be considered for the strident need of some people to keep their jam bands seperate. I understand each is its own identity. Saying Phish is the modern Dead is trite, regardless however generally apt. The truth is, I did get into Phish from branching out from the Dead. I think the compilation stands as an interesting overlap, and not to be taken out of that context. Plus, if there are any Deadheads looking at this, on the fence deciding if they should finally check out Phish; grooving out to awesome covers they will be familirar with might give the needed push.
P.S. Wish I could take credit for the artwork, but it is an Alex Grey blotter art. Hope he doesn’t mind the use, as it works perfectly! When I saw it, my mind frantically searched my memories of the time Phish was on The Simpsons (“Weekend At Burnsie’s”, Season 13, Episode 16). Was there a gag of Jerry strangling Trey?! If you remember it, maybe you’ve had too many of those tabs!