After recording the tracks for their four-song demo (and much of what would become Junta) in late December, 1987 at Euphoria Studios in Revere, MA, Phish spent the beginning of January in Vermont. They played only one documented show in January. The month of February was busier, and the band played a handful of shows in the Vermont area. At the time, Trey and Fish were students at Goddard College (Page had graduated a few months earlier). Mike was essentially managing Phish, booking mostly local gigs, relying upon their demo tape and word-of-mouth reports of their adventurous performances. The demo contained four original songs, Fee, Golgi Apparatus, Fluffhead and David Bowie and two live covers, Robert Palmer’s Sneaking Sally Through the Alley and I Know a Little by Lynyrd Skynyrd (see TMIPH March 1988). By this time, Trey’s senior thesis, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday, was written. The band would record it in the coming months.
On February 3rd, Phish played a three-set show at Gallagher’s in Waitsfield, Vermont, a local tavern where Phish had signed on in January for what was loosely a weekly gig. Although a friend of the band is believed to have recorded the February 3rd show, the setlist has yet to be unearthed.
On February 7th and 8th, Phish played at Nectar’s. The band played three sets each night. Highlights from the first set on the 7th included Alumni Blues, Pat Metheney’s Phase Dance, Dear Mrs. Reagan and David Bowie. The second set was punctuated by AC/DC Bag > Timber as well as Fly Famous Mockingbird (without Colonel Forbin’s Ascent which usually accompanies it) and Whipping Post. Set three featured Clod > Bundle of Joy > The Curtain (With) and ended with Good Times Bad Times. The show on the 8th began with Slave to the Traffic Light followed by Funky Bitch. Phase Dance was played again this night. Set two on the 8th kicked off with Fluffhead, > I Am Hydrogen > Clod > Fluffhead and continued with The Lizards and Run Like an Antelope among other classics. Set three was raucous, kicking off with The Sloth and closing with Big Black Furry Creature From Mars.
On February 10th, Phish again played their weekly show at Gallagher’s. On or about the 20th, Phish traveled to St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY to play a fraternity party. On the 24th, the band returned to Gallagher’s and played their regular Wednesday night show. The first set that night contained many classics, including The Curtain, Peaches en Regalia and Fee, among others. Set two kicked off with Mustang Sally > Sneaking Sally Through the Alley, featuring John Carlton on vocals. In a special Barney Miller friendly move, Mike dedicated Mustang Sally to Abe Vigoda, to celebrate Abe’s 67th birthday.
Phish’s last performance of the month took place February 26th at UVM’s Living and Learning Center in Burlington. They opened the two-set show with The Curtain (With) and featured Suzy Greenberg, You Enjoy Myself, Possum and Fluffhead, among others. Set two at Living and Learning began with The Lizards, followed by David Bowie and Ballad of Curtis Loew. Later, Fee > McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters > Dear Mrs. Reagan punctuated the set, which ended with Whipping Post.
Over the next few months, Phish played a broadening circuit around the Northeast, having met their Manager, John Paluska at a Nectar’s show (see TMIPH March 1988).