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Amy's Farm: Twenty Years Later

Posted 3 years ago by tmwsiy - 25 comments Link: http://phi.sh/b/4e36c843

Twenty years ago today, in the cozy confines of Larrabee Farm in Auburn, Maine, Phish wrapped up their touring for the Summer of 1991. The entire run, barring Amy’s Farm, consisted of the well received Horn Tour. Commencing with the home-town show at Battery Park in Burlington, VT on July 11th and winding down the East Coast and culminating at the potent one set blowout at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, GA, the Horn Tour was 15 shows that became etched into the collective memory of the fan-base. However, as fun as the Horn Tour was, and as good as the shows were, the definitive show that paints the picture of where Phish was at that time, and portended signs of things to come, was Saturday, August 3rd at Amy’s Farm.

Front page Maine Sun Journal, August 4, 1991


Phish was slowly graduating from smoky clubs, college bars, and fraternity houses to slightly larger venues in 1991. While clubs like the Front in Burlington, the Campus Club in Providence, and Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill were still on the docket, so too were venues like the State Theatre in Ithaca (not the Haunt!), the Boulder Theater in Colorado (not JJ McCabes!) and the Capitol Theater in Port Chester (not Club Bene!) The excitement was palpable and though most shows were not sold-out, it was abundantly clear something special was happening. The momentum was building and there was a buzz about the band that was literally deafening. It was tough to talk about music on the nascent Internet, at other shows, around campuses and all along the East Coast without someone bringing up Phish. An exciting time it was to still be able to arrive at a club 30 minutes before show time, pay $10 and get your hand stamped, and know that you were seeing history in the making. At the final show of the Horn Tour, Trey made official what had been rumored since the Spring and all summer long: there would be an end of summer party at Amy’s Farm, and we were all invited.

While Amy’s Farm (and even Townshend Family Park & Ian’s Farm) may have marked the humble beginnings of their future festival plans and the beginning of an era of meteoric rise in popularity, similarly to Woodstock, it also marked the end of an era as well. Spreading through word of mouth and a quick announcement from Trey, a couple thousand fans descended into Auburn and it was abundantly clear that the cat was out of the bag. Phish was on their way to hitting the big time & likely shows would begin to be drastically different in a very short time. Although the show wasn’t until Saturday, the first inkling that there’d be a decent turnout was Thursday night as early birds started arriving at the farm. While there was no sense of panic, it was evident that there was still lots of work to be done to get the grounds ready. Late into the night and into the early Friday AM hours, a flurry of activity happened with some of the fans pitching in elbow grease and volunteering for whatever needed to be done. Throughout the day on Friday, as work continued on the concert field, cars continued to slowly trickle in. As it turned to afternoon and early evening, the trickle became a steady flow & ultimately into an unbroken chain of vehicles entering for as far as the eye could see.

The exuberance of entering a free show, with no security, no police, no vehicle checks, & a few thousand like minded fans was pure bliss. Actually, there was a small fee as some remember. Upon entering the farm, a coffee tin was collecting a nominal $5 fee per car to help offset the cost of purchasing grass seed to replant the fields we’d all be parking on. And as ZZYZX recalls, you even received the omnipresent, green on black, Phish logo sticker with your donation.

While you’d see many familiar faces at shows, Phish was still mostly regional at this point. Clusters of fans from areas you'd see only in that locale. Yet here was this small farm in Maine, where fans were descending from every state and corner of the country. The arrivals kept pouring in as did the warm embraces and hugs. Friends from Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York etc. all communally bound together for one day of music, by one band...that most of the country had never heard of. Yet.

Humorously, Fish kicked off the festivities trying to generate interest for a non-profit organization that was there. Trey jumped in and rescued Fish from talking in circles for the remainder of the weekend. Amy followed up with a warm welcome to the crowd saying that there were "good happy feelings, good habby vibes out there in the fields". Some more reminders from Mike, Amy & Trey about the flamable nature of the fields and even the stage, made up partially of hay bales....and the first few notes of "Wilson" drowned out the final, "Thanks for coming!" from Amy...the band eager to get playing and a day of music, fun and camraderie lay ahead.

Three full sets and two interesting encores wrapped up a full day of fun on Saturday. Trey ended Set III after "Possum" by saying, “Thank you very much for coming, see you guys next night, have a good night, we are going to be out there partying with you so have a good time.” And after the legendarily memorable encores with Sofi and the Dude of Life, Trey telling Sam, “Your dog has been found”, and the "Harry Hood" finale, the end of summer party was over as was an era.

Rudimentary stats from my journal day before Amy's Farm. Couldn't jump on Phish.net and check stats at the time!


So what was the day like at Amy’s Farm? I asked a few other people who were there for their recollections of this special event and here are a few responses:

Dave D:
..after being at a bunch of ‘91 summer tour shows we heard a bunch of rumblings about a camp out at a farm in Maine with Phish playing. As the the end of tour got closer the rumblings became more realistic. We also heard it would be free and would be a week after the tour closer in Atlanta. We got directions from someone at Trax in Charlotsville which was my last summer show till Amy's. Drove up from Jersey the day before, got to the farm and I think we ended up paying $5 to park which would cover all damages so it basically was free. We camped basically right next to this mini stage. You could walk completely around the stage. The stage was by no means giant like they have at fests now. It was small with this yellow tarp on top of it maybe 5 feet above the bands heads. There were a bunch of dogs around. Basically free reign. It was hotter than hell. Had to be over 100 degrees. I’d say there was between 500 and 1000 people there as word definitely spread, but they still were basically a bar band. It was so relaxed. There was no rush to do anything. I think I recall people running around just because there was so much room not to mention you could get 5 hits of amazing L for $10. There was a giant water truck with potable water but more 18 wheeler looking than the things they have now. The hay fields were super dry and sharp and there were signs everywhere to keep your shoes on. I could go on and on and on about the music but you can listen to the tapes for yourself to hear Sofie, the Dude of Life, even Marley barking during some jams or how ridiculously funny the encore is. It was truly an amazing place and an amazing time in my life that i will never forget.

Pollock designed, Amy's Farm T-Shirt graciouslly modeled by Jackson. From my recollection at this point, the only shirts being sold at shows were the green on black logo shirts so this was a special treat having a shirt for the event. They sold out relatively quickly. (Merch table manned by original roadie 'Topher)


Matt L
After many years of following the GD in the 1980's, and after hearing about this band “Phish” from back home in New England, I finally went and saw them live on NYE, 1990 at the World Trade Center in Boston. Good show, but I knew no songs. I did know I wanted to see more of this talented band.

After getting a couple bootleg cassettes and familiarizing myself, I began to see a decent #s of shows in 1991. Mostly all at small theaters and University Gyms (Grene Hall Smith College, UNH Fieldhouse, Colonial Theater Keene NH, The Bayou Wash. DC, Berkshire Perf.Arts Center, Beacon Theater NYC, etc.) This was the summer of The Giant Country Horns tour, which was fucking incredible. Still, the whole scene was tiny, it was never hard to get tix to shows and the venues were great.

So after the rumors of a free show in ME were confirmed, me and six or seven friends climbed into our cars in MA and drove up. Weather was decent, hot, but not too hot,. Although they did have hoses to spray ppl down. I remember parking in a field, with some small groves of trees. Everyone there was super chill and friendly. Drum circles, ppl playing acoustic guitars, lots of herb and beer. NO Cops! It was a peaceful and out of the way site on the farm. We walked up to the stage and I remember there was a lot of hay bales used to construct various aspects of the performance space. The area in front of the stage was nice grass, a comfortable place to be.

I remember ppl walking around with a couple of large bongs, something I had yet to see at any concert I'd ever been to. I mean, like three foot Graphix bongs in the middle of the crowd during the music. The music was good in my memory, not as good as many of the previous indoor shows from that summer, but the scene was so mellow and fun, it didn't really matter. They played a bunch of Gamehendge and also some of the songs that were less than a year old in their repertoire and would be on A Picture of Nectar. I remember being less impressed with the songs they played with the Dude of Life. I most clearly remember Llama, The Curtain, Lizards, Possum and most of all Hood as far as the music went.

We were not sure if we were going to stay the night and camp out or dive home the short distance to MA. There were rumors that there would be a 4th, “secret set” later on at night. We debated staying to see if that happened, but we decided to cruise. Since that never materialized, I am okay with our decision. If something really crazy had been pulled out later, I'd have been pissed. All in all, it was one of the coolest summer concerts/festivals/parties I ever attended. Yeah, really it was just a big party for a bunch of good friends to celebrate summer, music and the whole Phish thing, which was beginning to gain some momentum. I miss such small venues and intimate affairs such as that one.

Setlist from my tour note book.

Jon
I went to Amy's farm with two friends from high school, both girls Kate and Ellen. Both had been to a couple shows in Keene NH and maybe Portsmouth, NH, this was my first show. We drove up from central new Hampshire and arrived a bit late I remember driving in with the top down hearing Reba, a classic. Parked the car and made our way through a woods area on a trail and entered into a large opening. The band set up directly across the opening with what seemed to be two or three thousand over heated heads bouncing. It was a warm to hot day as I recall, a water truck was provided to hose people down. I recall JEMP parked on one side of the stage and a couple of motor cycles cruising around. Music was pretty new to me at that point but really enjoyed it. The Dude of Life was a heavy presence during the third set and the encore. Pretty in your face type of lyrics and stage presence IMO. The vibe was really heady as people were passing out all sorts of free goodies as we settled back into camp following the third set, I can't remember what we did for food but I know we met up with some others from my High school and drank some beers allowing the night groove to set in as it got really dark out. We returned to the trail and eventually to where the stage was set up and there were people hanging out throwing beats in different drum circles,the forest had some trees that had glowing bark, at least in the state we were in, people were chilling in the woods making up lyrics to a song about the "glowing in the dark bark". Years later I thought back and figured someone must have opened a glow stick and sprayed it. Fun at the time though. The rest of the night into the early morning we strummed so guitars and met a bunch a cool heads. We left the next day not really appreciating the event we had just been a part of.

Todd

Amy's Farm was the freakin best, so unreal.....I've seen 300+ shows and it ranks easily in the top 5. I've got a blog of old phish stuff that I just started (www.backinmyday.net) and am also doing an Amy's Farm post...Shit was the bomb.... Here are some brief memories:

- Amy riding around on horseback asking fans for a $5 donation to seed the fields
- Trey riding to the stage on a Harley (how sick was that?)
- All the cool different campsites on the mounds/hills that were between the stage and campground
- Incredible weather on show day, only to wake up to torrential downpour on the second day
- Dead cover band "Double Dose" who were two twin brothers-- they played in the campground that night, do you remember?
- Also remember the water truck and the killer seitan stand
- Introduction by Amy is classic, also the only time I ever saw Sofi on stage (I think)
- I also remember the incredibly lax atmosphere-- zero security, zero police, naked girls, and bong hits 5 feet from the stage. It was so relaxed, you could be standing at the stage and not have a person within 5 feet of you, it was just so chill.

Andrew W

Yes...it's hard to believe it has been 20 years. I was 19 years old and working at a summer camp in Casco, Maine about two towns over from Amy's Farm. I was very excited to be able to get to it, because it was my very first Phish concert. Phish was supposed to have played at my school (Clark University) earlier that year in April, but it was cancelled for some reason. I was very much a novice fan in 1991. I had one bootleg cassette tape from Cutler Quad (4/22/1990), and I was certainly not well versed in Phish's song repertoire. I found out about the Amy’s Farm show from a friend who was touring for a few shows in July. He wrote me a letter (no cell phones, email, etc back then) that the band had organized this free party at their friend's farm to celebrate their signing to Electra records, and that it was right near where I was working. I quickly made sure that I could get the day off.

A couple of other counselors and myself got in the car and drove on over. There were a few handmade signs pointing us in the right direction once we got closer to the entrance. Parking was kind of a free for all. I remember getting out and seeing lots of people setting up tents to stay for the night. Everybody was super friendly. Many strangers were inviting us to come and party with them. There was, however, not any lot scene or "Shakedown Street" that I can recall. The crowd did not even seem particularly "hippie" to me either- something, I feel, that became more prominent after Jerry died.

We walked on over to the stage area. I remember having to walk through some wooded area to get there. One of my most vivid memories of that day happened next. In the woods, there was a fairly obese, shirtless, and exceptionally wasted fan hanging from a tree welcoming everybody to the show. From the top of his lungs he announced to all- "I AM THE LARGE ONE!!" It was the first of many surreal moments I would have at Phish concerts. (Sidenote- I did the "Large One" later that year when Phish played the Sommerville Theater. He was hanging from the curtain and swinging around during Tweezer)

The show began and I'd say that there were probably about 1500-2000 people in attendance. TONS of space to move around. I know that at some point I walked all the way up to the front with no problem. Again, not being too familiar, I only recognized a few songs, but was just really blown away by their playing, and by the very warm, low key vibe. Having seen a bunch of stadium Dead shows (and growing more unimpressed with the Jerry forgetting the lyrics), I specifically recall me telling myself, "Out with the old and in with the new!" One last specific memory about the music was watching the Dude of Life and thinking..."what the fuck is this?" (sorry Dude of Life)

I went over to the merch table. I had my heart set on getting one of those black Phish t-shirts with the neon green logo. My friend Adam had one I thought it was just the coolest thing. But they were only selling commemorative Amy's Farm shirts. I was really bummed, but bought one anyway. Well, I wore that t-shirt to every show for years. Trust me, that shirt has many miles on it…it’s paper thin at this point and barely hanging on a hanger. But wearing it made me feel like I was in some secret club. Amy’s Farm has taken on some sort of legendary status among Phish shows. People would comment on the shirt and say, "man…you were there! That's awesome."

I could not stay all night at the show, so I have no input into the after show scene. I headed back to the camp soon afterwards. Looking back, it’s hard to reflect on exactly how I felt at the time concerning the show’s impact on Phish and their history. It’s not like now when you are going to a Halloween, NYE, or a festival and know that it will be legendary. This one was sort of out of the blue. Being my first show, it stands out in my mind as everybody’s first show stands out in their minds. But, I went to sleep that night knowing that I had just been to something very cool. Not necessarily historic, but cool.

From the Maine's Sun Journal

(excerpts from Article that ran in Maine's Sunday newspaper following the show, full scans available at bottom of article)

"It could have been a one-band Woodstock right here in Auburn, Maine, with thousands of Birkenstock and indian-print-clad fans groovin' to music that sounded like no other band's. But this crowd was fishier. More than 2,500 fans from New England and beyond were drawn to the free admission Phish concert on a Larrabee Farm field on Broad Street Saturday afternoon. The concert was hosted by Amy Skelton, a Larrabee Farm resident, who said she'd been friends with the band long ago, before they had kicked up a path of faithful, Grateful Dead-like followers to rival groupies of all but the best-known bands."

"It was just finalized ten days ago"

"The free concert is just a gesture to Phish fans who have been faithfully buying tickets over the years," said Paluska.

Marybeth Stocking and Parker Harrington were two fans who'd followed Phish from first to last gig this summer. Harrington said Phish's three-week tour, which began July 11th, ran from the New England States to Virginia and Georgia, and the he expected the Auburn concert to be the highlight of the tour. "I've got a sticker on my car that says, 'Sharin' in the groove'," said Harrington, pushing his shoulder length brown hair out of his face and sticking a hand in the pocket of his fatigue shorts. "Havin' a good time- that's what it's all about."

The air was filled with the smell of patchouli. A young woman dressed in a flowing white dress and beads strung jerked into a arm-flailing, head-dizzying dance. The funky music had begun, and she was lost in her own dancing world, barely noticing the the entire crowd had joiner her.

Sadly, the "fourth set" never came to pass. It seemed a forgone conclusion that everyone was looking forward to and talking about. Amy was in the fields and chatting with some of the fans and said that apparently the music had attracted a handful of locals "that were not welcome" and "looking for trouble". So rather than risking late night issues in what had been a stress free, laid back, and enjoyable day, the late night set was canceled leaving people to their own drum circles, camp fires, hanging out or listening to "Double Dose".

As the cars poured out on Saturday, in typical Phish fan fashion, several dozen people, who were in no rush to leave, hung back and helped leave the Farm as it was when everyone arrived: Pristine, clean & devoid of trash or traces from the mass of humanity that called the farm home for the past 24 -48 hours. The next show back after Amy's saw the band debut Brother, It's Ice, Sparkle, & All Things Reconsidered at the Colonial Theatre in Keene, NH. A new era was beginning to unfold, and an exciting period of Phish history was starting to be written.

Maine Sun Journal

Maine Sun Journal

Phish Newsletter from Summer 1991. Note no mention of Amy's Farm

Me driving out of Amy's on Sunday..Summer over, and looking forward to the Fall.

What about you? Were you at Amy's Farm 20 years ago? What were your memories? What stuck with you after all these years?

Not at Amy's? Feel free to comment on the music, ask questions, or anything else

Comments

deBebbler Reply
deBebbler I had received my copy of the Amy's Farm show about two months before I was at the Great Went, and I listened to it constantly. The whole time I was at the Went, all I could think of was how much cooler it would be with just 1000 - 2000 people, lol . . . . . and Marley.

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forbin1 Reply
forbin1 truly an awesome read..along with the feedback from people that were there...anyone that attended must have had such an awesome time...I can't imagine what it must of been like...such an intimate festival..What a great post this was..Gonna play Amy's Farm now..since it's been a while since I listened to it...thanks again
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ocelotvswilson Reply
ocelotvswilson Phistorty :-) I love Maine. What an awesome state. I remember when they were just coming into the light. The very 1st show & mine in VA at the Jade Elephant in Richmond, VA (1st show in VA). I was a tweener. I didn't know what to make of it. I was into the Dead but I knew there was something soooo special there with this band. It was different. I liked it. I kept going to every VA & NC show they palyed and then I was hooked. I never could have imagined that they would evolve into what they are now. I've had the privilage of meeting them personally a couple times when they came to Hampton (Father's in the business), but I never knew they would grow into such a special thing. Trey has a special place in in my heart as we have been through the exact same probs at the exact same time. Funny how thing happen.
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GAMEHENDGEPHONICS Reply
GAMEHENDGEPHONICS unlikely, but how cool would it be if they did another under the radar fest announced a week prior in the middle of nowhere. I think the phish could gain a lot of inspiration from it.
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joechip Reply
joechip Wow, what an awesome read. Thanks so much.

Unfortunately, I missed Amy's Farm, I was actually at a cousin's wedding in Maine that day, and my brother and I knew about the show and were talking about sneaking off before the reception to make it over there, but it never happened. I was at the Battery Park and Townshend shows that summer, which were both great. Especially at Townshend, you could really observe the band in the process of outgrowing their roots, I'm fairly sure that the show was over-crowded, with a lot of people jumping the fence. You walked across a footbridge to get into the show, and many people just waded across the river, walked up the bank and hopped the short wall to get in rather than pay $10 or however much it was. It was fairly obvious that this was going to be the last time around for the family park.
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itsice Reply
Unfortunately, I missed Amy's Farm because I was only 11 years old at the time, but if I had a time machine I would go back in time and go to this show.
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Harrynuggs Reply
Harrynuggs This was my first experience with live phish and cannot express how accurate the above reading is. It was great to be able to contribute my remembrances and hear others. I had forgotten about double dose and do not recall any of the "trouble makers". Thanks for putting this together.
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Matt_Leaf Reply
Matt_Leaf Summer of ’91. I had just graduated high school, was looking forward to college and was spending the first of four summers working at the camp of my childhood in Maine. Even on the most superficial levels, you could say it was a time of “transition” in my life. Below that surface, however, there was even more going on.

The winter and spring of my senior year had gotten off to a shaky start. After dating a girl seriously for 2 years, I had been unceremoniously dumped. On Valentine’s Day. Two days later an older friend I traded Dead tapes with demanded I go to see some band called Phish in NYC. From the moment they took the stage I was hooked. I had to see them more. I had to hear them more. Unfortunately, the next time they came around during the school yeaf I was away and tapes were very few and far between.

I had a suspicion I would find more like minded people working at camp, and I was right. On the first day I met my friend Wyatt who was dying to see them again just like me and some older counselors who had tapes they were willing to share. Getting our hands on tapes only made the jones worse. We lucked out, however, when the tour with GCH came through Portsmouth during the first session of the summer and a bunch of us took a coveted “Night Off” to head down to the gig and buy tickets at the door ($5!). There were some epic adventures that night and it was a blast. I also left KNOWING I was going to see this band MANY more times and significantly bummed that neither my work schedule nor their touring schedule was going to make that possible for a while.

Session 2 of camped rolled around. My days were spent either taking kids on camping trips or helping to run the ropes course back at camp. Some nights I would tinker in the photography “room” (very primitive set-up) learning how to develop film and prints. It was in the darkroom that I could blast the tapes from Hunts and the Paradise I had just copied from my friends and obsess even more over this amazing band.

Something weird happened that session. Never in my 4 summers working there did I not have my 2 days and 2 nights off planned well in advance (perhaps having tour dates handy in future years had something to do with that). That July/August I still had at least one day off that I hadn’t planned and one of the directors was pressuring me to sign up for it soon because the end of the summer was coming. I half-heartedly penciled my name in on the calendar and was making my way to the top of the hill when my friend Alice came tearing out of a building. “They’re playing for free! In Maine! Tomorrow!” I turned right back around, erased my name from whatever random date I had chosen and put it in the next day’s box. Now I just had to find a car.

Wyatt had just returned a day early with the kids from Long Voyage, our oldest campers. He did not have any days off left and I had to break it to him about the show and ask to borrow his car all at the same time. I wasn’t even halfway through my pitch when I could see the wheels turning in his head.

Somehow, he and another counselor in the cabin convinced the directors that taking the oldest kids in camp to a free concert in Auburn would be a really good idea. They were, after all, back a whole day early from their session-long trip and the kids really were too old to join in the daily activities at the camp. Miraculously, they convinced these kids this was what they wanted to do, too. To this day, I question whether taking those kids to the show was a good idea, but it wasn’t my decision to pitch or make. A few minds were warped that day and I still run into some of those “kids” at shows today.

The plan was this: I would ride with Wyatt and another frined in his car (somehow he had converted his remaining Night Off into a morning). At some point the Long Voyage kids and other counselors would show up in a camp bus. They would stay for a while and then Wyatt would give me the keys to his car, he would ride the bus with kids back to camp and Charlie and I would drive his car back after the show. Ahh, the best laid plans….

Pulling into the “venue” we immediately knew we were in for something special. There were already plenty of cars there, several tents (a sign of things to come) and a very laid back vibe permeated the air. We walked around chatting w/ people, listened to the soundcheck through the trees (what the hell is this “Bitching Again” song? That wasn’t on any of the tapes we’d been listening to) and waited to be allowed into the field with the stage. While we were waiting Mike walked out and chatted for a while. Apparently, our buddy Charlie had interviewed him once for his school paper. Mike had been impressed that Charlie seemed to “get it” and thanked him for the write-up.

Finally, we crossed the little bridge into the field and made our way to the stage. These were the days before people bolted and pushed their way to the stage so we had no problem securing an awesome spot right up front. What a cool set up there was. Vending booths, spray trucks and hale bales for security. Trey drove in on his motorcycle with Amy on the back. Weird announcements were made and this unbelievable event was underway.

I’ll spare you the song-by-song recount, as the tapes (remember those?) speak for themselves. There was a fully naked woman walking around at one point, much to the delight of the teenage campers attending. The whole vibe was so laid back I actually just wandered back stage during one of the set breaks and no body said anything. The band was just all hanging out around the JEMP truck goofing around.

The camp bus was scheduled to depart at some point during set II. Wyatt decided that he wasn’t quite ready to leave at this point. I had a brief moment of panic as I thought I was going to have to leave early or be stranded there. “Relax,” said Charlie, “we’ll figure something out.” Now, I’m not sure how I was convinced that a solution would present itself, but I was and I just let go of all concerns. Somehow, hitching a ride on those back roads seemed like a completely viable solution at the time.

I enjoyed the hell out of the show. Zero man made an appearance, someone played the didgeridoo during “Buried Alive”, I was introduced to the Dude of Life and his ridiculous songs, and the band played with genuine intent and heart. I could tell they were sincerely grateful for the fans who had supported them the last 8 years. I was equally appreciative for being let in on the secret that was soon to be unfurled on the rest of the world. This whole event was truly something special.

At some point during the encores Charlie ran into someone he knew. She could drive us back to camp! As Harry Hood (a first for me) played out under the starry sky, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the day. The song, the setting, and the spirit behind this whole scene left me speechless.

I would have loved to have camped out, but work said otherwise. The only other perfect option for ending to this whole day was driving back to Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro for coffee and pie. It was there that Charlie told me the story of the Harry Hood song while I played with the Hood creamers that our waitress had left on our table.

I can’t believe this whole thing went down 20 years ago already. As I sit here typing I am playing the show (not on the worn out tapes I once got through a tape tree thanks to the earliest days of phish.net) I am grateful for so many things. I’m forever grateful to all the great experiences I had at Camp Kieve, both as a camper and a counselor. I have my own kids these days and I want them to have the same opportunities and experiences that Kieve and the beautiful state of Manie made possible. I’m grateful for all the amazing experiences I had thanks to the band, one of the few that somehow capture the spirit of adventure and fun that play an integral part in my life. I’m also grateful that we have Phish back. They are playing more like they did on that night in August 20 years ago. They are just have a bigger bag of tricks to pull from these days. Thank you, JEMP.

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terms_of_the_dance Reply
What a great article!! Love the old newspaper articles and hand-written setlists. Very cool.
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bryontreece Reply
I was only 18 & not clued into the Phish just yet; took me 2 more years to hear & 3 to see. But damn, did I ever wear out my cassettes of this show!
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HarpuAdam Reply
HarpuAdam This was the first show I remember owning. I had a handful of recordings when I first started listening, but this one got played quite a bit.
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ColForbin Phish.net Staff Reply
ColForbin What a fantastic post. Thank you!
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PlainDan Reply
PlainDan This is totally weird but I wanted to see if I could google the names of the people in the pic above to see what they are up to today. It looks like Becca Golden, the sun-dress clothed wook on the tailgate is now in charge of philanthropy for Ben and Jerry's.
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tmwsiy Phish.net Staff Reply
tmwsiy @plaindan said:
This is totally weird but I wanted to see if I could google the names of the people in the pic above to see what they are up to today. It looks like Becca Golden, the sun-dress clothed wook on the tailgate is now in charge of philanthropy for Ben and Jerry's.
Hilarious...did you get any hits on "Dreamer" from Reading? I wonder if Dreamer knew Brad Sands?
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Peek326 Reply
Peek326 I remember listening to the tape of this show fondly way back when. I always thought it was amazing they did shows like this - Ian's farm, Amy's farm. Gave me the first sense of the community before seeing the band for the first time. Well done.
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adamicculus Reply
adamicculus This is great work. Thank you and thanks to all the contributors!!
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justinwendt Reply
justinwendt Awesome stuff, thank you!
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mcdjoy8 Reply
Great Story! I wish I had been one of your campers!!!@Matt_Leaf said:
Summer of �91. I had just graduated high school, was looking forward to college and was spending the first of four summers working at the camp of my childhood in Maine. Even on the most superficial levels, you could say it was a time of �transition� in my life. Below that surface, however, there was even more going on. The winter and spring of my senior year had gotten off to a shaky start. After dating a girl seriously for 2 years, I had been unceremoniously dumped. On Valentine�s Day. Two days later an older friend I traded Dead tapes with demanded I go to see some band called Phish in NYC. From the moment they took the stage I was hooked. I had to see them more. I had to hear them more. Unfortunately, the next time they came around during the school yeaf I was away and tapes were very few and far between. I had a suspicion I would find more like minded people working at camp, and I was right. On the first day I met my friend Wyatt who was dying to see them again just like me and some older counselors who had tapes they were willing to share. Getting our hands on tapes only made the jones worse. We lucked out, however, when the tour with GCH came through Portsmouth during the first session of the summer and a bunch of us took a coveted �Night Off� to head down to the gig and buy tickets at the door ($5!). There were some epic adventures that night and it was a blast. I also left KNOWING I was going to see this band MANY more times and significantly bummed that neither my work schedule nor their touring schedule was going to make that possible for a while. Session 2 of camped rolled around. My days were spent either taking kids on camping trips or helping to run the ropes course back at camp. Some nights I would tinker in the photography �room� (very primitive set-up) learning how to develop film and prints. It was in the darkroom that I could blast the tapes from Hunts and the Paradise I had just copied from my friends and obsess even more over this amazing band. Something weird happened that session. Never in my 4 summers working there did I not have my 2 days and 2 nights off planned well in advance (perhaps having tour dates handy in future years had something to do with that). That July/August I still had at least one day off that I hadn�t planned and one of the directors was pressuring me to sign up for it soon because the end of the summer was coming. I half-heartedly penciled my name in on the calendar and was making my way to the top of the hill when my friend Alice came tearing out of a building. �They�re playing for free! In Maine! Tomorrow!� I turned right back around, erased my name from whatever random date I had chosen and put it in the next day�s box. Now I just had to find a car. Wyatt had just returned a day early with the kids from Long Voyage, our oldest campers. He did not have any days off left and I had to break it to him about the show and ask to borrow his car all at the same time. I wasn�t even halfway through my pitch when I could see the wheels turning in his head. Somehow, he and another counselor in the cabin convinced the directors that taking the oldest kids in camp to a free concert in Auburn would be a really good idea. They were, after all, back a whole day early from their session-long trip and the kids really were too old to join in the daily activities at the camp. Miraculously, they convinced these kids this was what they wanted to do, too. To this day, I question whether taking those kids to the show was a good idea, but it wasn�t my decision to pitch or make. A few minds were warped that day and I still run into some of those �kids� at shows today. The plan was this: I would ride with Wyatt and another frined in his car (somehow he had converted his remaining Night Off into a morning). At some point the Long Voyage kids and other counselors would show up in a camp bus. They would stay for a while and then Wyatt would give me the keys to his car, he would ride the bus with kids back to camp and Charlie and I would drive his car back after the show. Ahh, the best laid plans�. Pulling into the �venue� we immediately knew we were in for something special. There were already plenty of cars there, several tents (a sign of things to come) and a very laid back vibe permeated the air. We walked around chatting w/ people, listened to the soundcheck through the trees (what the hell is this �Bitching Again� song? That wasn�t on any of the tapes we�d been listening to) and waited to be allowed into the field with the stage. While we were waiting Mike walked out and chatted for a while. Apparently, our buddy Charlie had interviewed him once for his school paper. Mike had been impressed that Charlie seemed to �get it� and thanked him for the write-up. Finally, we crossed the little bridge into the field and made our way to the stage. These were the days before people bolted and pushed their way to the stage so we had no problem securing an awesome spot right up front. What a cool set up there was. Vending booths, spray trucks and hale bales for security. Trey drove in on his motorcycle with Amy on the back. Weird announcements were made and this unbelievable event was underway. I�ll spare you the song-by-song recount, as the tapes (remember those?) speak for themselves. There was a fully naked woman walking around at one point, much to the delight of the teenage campers attending. The whole vibe was so laid back I actually just wandered back stage during one of the set breaks and no body said anything. The band was just all hanging out around the JEMP truck goofing around. The camp bus was scheduled to depart at some point during set II. Wyatt decided that he wasn�t quite ready to leave at this point. I had a brief moment of panic as I thought I was going to have to leave early or be stranded there. �Relax,� said Charlie, �we�ll figure something out.� Now, I�m not sure how I was convinced that a solution would present itself, but I was and I just let go of all concerns. Somehow, hitching a ride on those back roads seemed like a completely viable solution at the time. I enjoyed the hell out of the show. Zero man made an appearance, someone played the didgeridoo during �Buried Alive�, I was introduced to the Dude of Life and his ridiculous songs, and the band played with genuine intent and heart. I could tell they were sincerely grateful for the fans who had supported them the last 8 years. I was equally appreciative for being let in on the secret that was soon to be unfurled on the rest of the world. This whole event was truly something special. At some point during the encores Charlie ran into someone he knew. She could drive us back to camp! As Harry Hood (a first for me) played out under the starry sky, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the day. The song, the setting, and the spirit behind this whole scene left me speechless. I would have loved to have camped out, but work said otherwise. The only other perfect option for ending to this whole day was driving back to Moody�s Diner in Waldoboro for coffee and pie. It was there that Charlie told me the story of the Harry Hood song while I played with the Hood creamers that our waitress had left on our table. I can�t believe this whole thing went down 20 years ago already. As I sit here typing I am playing the show (not on the worn out tapes I once got through a tape tree thanks to the earliest days of phish.net) I am grateful for so many things. I�m forever grateful to all the great experiences I had at Camp Kieve, both as a camper and a counselor. I have my own kids these days and I want them to have the same opportunities and experiences that Kieve and the beautiful state of Manie made possible. I�m grateful for all the amazing experiences I had thanks to the band, one of the few that somehow capture the spirit of adventure and fun that play an integral part in my life. I�m also grateful that we have Phish back. They are playing more like they did on that night in August 20 years ago. They are just have a bigger bag of tricks to pull from these days. Thank you, JEMP.
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mcdjoy8 Reply
Thanks to all for sharing! Sounds like a magical experience :) One that I wish I had witnessed and one that is completely fitting for such an amazing band and community~
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PlainDan Reply
PlainDan Dreamer is Brad Sands @tmwsiy said:
@plaindan said:
This is totally weird but I wanted to see if I could google the names of the people in the pic above to see what they are up to today. It looks like Becca Golden, the sun-dress clothed wook on the tailgate is now in charge of philanthropy for Ben and Jerry's.
Hilarious...did you get any hits on "Dreamer" from Reading? I wonder if Dreamer knew Brad Sands?
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tmwsiy Phish.net Staff Reply
tmwsiy @plaindan said:
Dreamer is Brad Sands
LOL, he may have been a dreamer, but Brad wasn't at Amy's.
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waxbanks Reply
waxbanks It's sobering and instructive to hear recordings of shows from this era - indeed, through early 1993 - when Phish was simply an altogether different band, with none of the emotional depth of their current material, none of the patience and easy groove mastery of their post-'97 stuff, none of the mid-90s music's epic scale and stylistic depth...weird to hear so many versions of YEM played for comedy, so many monotonic versions of Stash, Page still in many ways an inadequate musician, Trey like he's auditioning for a pretentious version of They Might Be Giants, his sense of perspective in soloing not yet formed...

Nice reminiscence though. Must've been an incredible weekend for fans of the band.
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thelot Reply
thelot one of my first tapes back in the day. it took another year and half to get my butt to a show. thanks for sharing the maine sun journal article and memories!
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Davehengemania Reply
love this. Can't believe it has been 20 years. One of my favorite memories of yor. I drove up with my girlfriend at the time, Beth, in my rainbow colored subaru, which I had over filled the oil pan, and was blowing giant clouds of blue smoke out the back... good times. I still remember the friendly mellow vibe of the scene, and how people didn't really care how close they were to the stage, except.. well that naked guy. I feel so grateful I got to attend... Thank you Phish :-)
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