Reader’s Picks: Chris “Topher” Mont

Junta Promo

Junta Promo

All selections and text by Chris “Topher” Mont

The 80’s Like Totally Didn’t Suck…

Hello. I feel I should preface this by saying that in no way am I actually qualified to speak facts about Phish in the 80’s. While I was alive and well during that decade, I did not even discover Phish until ’97. I don’t want to give anybody the wrong idea. That being said, I do love to study up and do lots of research on the band. So, I hope this can help to expose people to an era of the band that I feel is very underappreciated. I tried to choose songs based more on historical interest as opposed to “best versions.” Hopefully it will be enjoyable regardless. A quick shout out to all the ATLiens. I look forward to another great summer this year. Be excellent to each other, and party on dude!


Whipping Post” 5.3.85 II, UVM, Burlington, VT

No better place to start than the beginning, and for me this show is it. This was Page’s first time playing live with the boys…boys being the operative word there. It is very interesting to listen to the band at such an early stage. It is quite unpolished, but you get to hear the potential that was eventually fully realized. Plus, it’s interesting to hear two guitars.



Run Like An Antelope” 10.15.86 III, Hunt’s, Burlington, VT

In the next year, Phish made some changes and entered a new phase. Jeff Holdsworth left the band in the summer, and they added Paul Languedoc into the mix. This was his first show as the band’s sound engineer. Perhaps he was partially responsible for bringing some new effects to Trey, which help to put some fire on this otherwise very humorous, early version.



Peaches En Regalia > David Bowie” 10.31.86 II, Goddard, Plainfield, VT

It seemed like a tradition for a while to play “Bowie” on Halloween, which I would assume is because this concert was its official debut. I wish they actually would play some Bowie for a musical costume, or in my wildest dreams some Zappa. But, I guess this is as close as it gets.  There is some different treatment in the composed section that makes it especially fun to hear. Also, “Peaches” was played a little differently, albeit not really as good as the later versions in my opinion.



Punch Me In The Eye” 4.24.87 UVM, Burlington, VT

That’s right! It’s not a typo. No, not those few times Trey called “PYITE” by this name. There was one time when Phish had an entirely different version of this song. Can you call this the same song? It definitely somehow brought about “PYITE,” and also some sections from other future Phish classics. It was just too interesting to resist putting on this playlist.



 “Melt the Guns -> Dave’s Energy Guide” 4.29.87 II, Nectar’s, Burlington, VT

First off, this entire show from Nectar’s is quite enjoyable. It is simply an awesome setlist, plus there are pretty decent recordings as far as audio is concerned. I chose “Melt the Guns” because it is absolutely my number one, single most desired bustout. I friggin love this song! Speaking of bustouts, I felt very lucky to be at the Charlotte show for the bustout of “Fuck Your Face,” which debuted at this show. Shout out to the Queen City.



Skin It Back -> Low Rider -> Back Porch Boogie Blues -> The Sloth” 8.21.87 II, Ian’s Farm, Hebron, NY

One, two, buckle my shoe…Rock on Marley, and rock on Ian, wherever you are!



Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley” 2.24.88 II, Gallagher’s, Wattsfield, VT

This certainly is not the best version of this song, but, I thought it was interesting to hear since some other dude named John Carlton sat in on the drums allowing Fishman to really let loose on the trombone!



The Curtain (With)“5.24.88 I, Nectar’s, Burlington, VT

This is another one of those old school classic shows, and this song opened up the first set of three. This is probably my favorite version of “The Curtain.”



Jesus Just Left Chicago” 5.24.88 II, Burlington, VT

This song opened up the second set, which was a rare example of a three-song set from concerts pre-97. Don’t think Phish didn’t jam back in the day. Much thanks to Fish and Mike for playing along with the drunk dude in the audience who was yelling “slower…”



Reba” 10.26.89 II, Wetlands, NYC, NY

I went in chronological order for this playlist since I figured it is worth noting how much growth the band made in the three years from May ’85 to May ’88. But, as far as saving the best for last goes, I’m so glad that this works out to have the final spot because this is really what I was most excited about. This is what really started my idea for an all old school playlist. I really wish they kept in the “Don’t Get Me Wrong” segment. I absolutely love it! For those of you who have not heard how Reba once was…

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392 Responses to “Reader’s Picks: Chris “Topher” Mont”

  1. voopa Says:

    Cool, thanks!

  2. MiA Says:

    Gorge seems like its always stacked to have at least one great jam every show.

    A pristine Soundboard woukd be 1/5th of the senses needed to understand the whole experience.

  3. Slicksasquatch Says:

    My nine month old turns out to be a huge fan of James brown and the funk in general. Stops Whatever he is doing and bops and jigs w a big smile. Haven’t searched yet but any leads appreciated .

    Foreplay long time was great first time around . I ve always considered it a one timer but I would welcome round two no doubt

  4. Slicksasquatch Says:

    I agree about the gorge . It a ” you have to be there” place . I feel bad for any phish fan who has not been .

  5. Slicksasquatch Says:

    That lawn on the way into the gorge is an excellent place to blast off w the deems. Last time I was riding on the back of an interstellar eagle until I was sucked into the vortex of his eye. Absolute beauty

  6. BNCB Says:

    Slick I have an awesome mix from Mr C. ‘What it is’



  7. BNCB Says:

    Bad link. Stay tuned.

  8. DavidSilver Says:

    3 page article in todays RS about The Dead. It’s called the Deads best year and covers 1977. I thought 72,73, or 74 was the best?

  9. DavidSilver Says:

    What It Is is my lot soundtrack in 3.0. Chron

  10. Slicksasquatch Says:

    Hope to see mr c this summer . Good guy

  11. gavinsdad Says:

    In this era of “I’m a husband and father and must now pick and choose my adventures” I couldn’t be more happy that I made the Gorge in 09. Very special time for me. Thanks Phish.

    And I stills stings a little I can’t revisit gorge, Chicago or Bill G, and for natures sake alone I wish I could join you all hitting Tahoe. What a place…been there a few times along the way.

    Yet my return to CO after leaving it for rehab in May 93 will be triumphant and seen thru very new eyes.

    Make your shows special! Be present for them!

    Shout out to duke of Lizards, Purplehump, Frankie says, from the tub, she div, stitchstash, fee4zy, Negev, nonoyolker, vtsn0wboarder, chef Bradford, Lycan, uncle Eb, mdawg, revise, cable hogue, guitarpicker, and a handful of others who I haven’t heard from in a minute but bring their vibes to the shows.

  12. DavidSilver Says:

    If anybodys gonna play Billy Kreutzman in a movie, it better be Nic Offerman.

  13. DavidSilver Says:

    Weir thinks the late 80s were the Deads peak. Interesting.

  14. Slicksasquatch Says:

    I hear you the g$. Hoping to make it to co to close it out . We ll see I know the wife will be happy to see her (our ) family and the phish is the bonus. I don’t anticipate tix for that being a problem .

  15. Slicksasquatch Says:

    I am gonna have to agree w bobby on this one thing. Love me some Brent

  16. DavidSilver Says:

    Never listened to much 80s Dead. Great shows?

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Peak financially perhaps?

  18. voopa Says:

    80’s Dead is weird, man. They clearly saw the disco backlash and used Brent to help shake away that era. But his incessant use of slightly out of tune piano patches and other “modern” keyboard sounds makes much of his era unlistenable to me. But I have listened to plenty in my time.

    83 and 85 are wildly uneven, with a great show one night and a hideous one the next, throughout both years. But post-coma, things really did start getting better. More strong shows than not during 87-90, with my favorite era being late ’89-early ’90, probably because that’s when I first started to listen to the Dead (as opposed to just “hearing” them).

  19. BNCB Says:

    Agree with Voop-Star

  20. BNCB Says:

    Supposed to be a Greenskybluegrass stream from Oregon at 8:15 PST

  21. gavinsdad Says:

    i’m with Voopas 2nd para as i dont have a trained music ear to know much about para 1. i liked his organ work the most obvs. Im a Brent era guy but dont put it ahead of my love of 73, 74 and 77.

    kids in my town saw 80-85 GD so those tapes got pushed hard cause of proximity of experience. i personally saw lots of hot shows 87 as a rookie thru 90 then there was Vince, the 2nd coma, and the decline.

    i saw alotta heat 89 and 90 too. most definitely.

  22. gavinsdad Says:

    sweet custy crib in Tahoe too Voopa nice work.

  23. voopa Says:

    ^^^Weir/Hornsby/Branford Dark Star at last year’s GOTV. Loved Bruce’s piano (not a fan of the accordion), but gdad nailed the post Brent era.

    I think Jerry was scheduled to play Squaw again a couple weeks after that second coma. That was a bummer. The come back JGB Halloween show at Oakland Arena was fun though. But it was pretty clear that the end was near.

  24. sumodie Says:

    Foxygen’s lead singer is out of control. Band is loose & much more raucous than their dreamy psych pop album

    Lead singer was spazzed out yet very magnetic. Climbed the side stage vertical support beam only to have security guy run up, pull him down, & throw him onto the stage floor. WTF?

    Dude shook it off, kept going, jumping around, knocking over mic stands, stools, running into the audience. Dude went balls out if a bit adolescent at times, couldnt not watch him

    More impressed than I expected to be. Very entertaining performance

  25. gavinsdad Says:

    Voopa – I had some extremely serious insights that nite at Oakland coliseum that nite..ones that would put me on a new path by the following Summer.

    I never thumb printed but I did get a bit of the wizards wash bottle that nite. Extremely intense.

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