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Thursday, September 15

A Brand New Old Phish Show has been Unearthed. It's from 1990 and features "Communication Breakdown" and a Trey-led "Whipping Post": Setlist included.

At a small town in Maine on January 25th,1990 Phish played a show at the Penny Post. The tape from Old Town, Maine has just been unearthed with some rare gems and a good look at the beginning of a behemoth.

Jambase reports, until now, the tape was uncirculated among fans. There has been a version of the tape put up on etree now and it contains some early gems.  After playing at Dartmouth a few days before and debuting such Phish standards like "Bouncing Around the Room" and "The Squirming Coil", along with the cover "Carolina" these songs, along with Mike's Groove and "Split Open and Melt" were all played in the first set.

Just like at Dick's on Sept. 3rd, they opened the second set with "Slave to the Traffic Light". They covered "Whipping Post" which has been sung by Fishman for a long time but in this newly-circulated tape, Trey is singing lead. "Possum" and "You Enjoy Myself" were played in the second set as well as "Fluffhead" and "Lawn Boy". Along with the cover of "Communication Breakdown" they covered Lynyrd Skynyrd's, "Ballad of Curtis Loew" and "Walk Away". To end the show, they encored with a "Suzy Greenberg" that continues to find itself in the encore slot still to this day.

As to be expected, the quality is terrible and sounds like it was recorded on a boombox. (That's a big cassette player you could record magnetic tapes on, for our younger readers) Charlie Dirkson of has cleaned up the lost tape and made a listenable, lossless(FLAC) copy and put it up on etree and into circulation for the masses. Here he discusses the process:

"Jon Gullotti contacted in an effort to get this show circulating and it now does so thanks to him and the work of Jeff Goldberg of The Audio Specialist. Jon acquired this recording on cassette from the Penny Post’s owner the week after the show. Part of the second set is missing (the music between YEM’s cut jam segment and the cut into Walk Away) because Jon copied over it with live versions of the Grateful Dead’s Dark Star and Shakedown (this music was on the beginning of side A of the second tape). According to, fan reports noted that Fluffhead was performed at this show, and so it’s likely that Fluffhead was one of the songs copied over; it is not clear if more than the remainder of YEM’s jam segment, Fluffhead, and part of Walk Away were copied over."
"Because the raw recording is so flawed (e.g., Caravan is only a fragment, YEM’s jam cuts out, most of Walk Away is missing, and there are cuts at either the beginning or end of numerous songs including Weekapaug, Slave and Loew), I asked Jeff Goldberg to employ his expertise to try to create a more listenable, “remastered” version (Jeff also needed to splice the Coil and AC/DC Bag, pieces of which were on both side A and side B). Jeff’s work included adjusting the pitch so that A = 440 Hz; fixing the hiccup and duplicated bar at the beginning of Mike’s Song; evening-out amplitude levels that were never set during the original recording; normalizing amplitude levels to maximize bandwidth and minimize noise floor; equalizing the sound/timbre of each individual track (different parts of the tapes required different EQ curves); eliminating extreme tape hiss from offending tracks; and setting metadata for each track."
"Great thanks to Jon and Jeff for helping get this show into circulation for the first time after more than 26 years. This gives me a little hope that maybe one day my first show will circulate, too. (10/6/89)"- Charlie Dirkson

Written by: Greg Heffelfinger

01/25/1990 Penny Post

Although the January/February 1990 Phish Update listed the venue as U. of Maine at Orono and some sources placed this show at other venues (or even dated it a year earlier on 1/25/89), a flyer for the show, and tapes, confirm this date and Penny Post as the venue. A recording of the Fluffhead does not circulate, but early fan reports of the show confirm that it was performed. This setlist may be incomplete, and some songs may be out of order. This show featured the first known Phish performance of Communication Breakdown. Trey teased Purple Haze in Suzy.
(courtesy of

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