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. sumodie Says:

    Musically the band pumped out great garage rock. They all took tje lead’s antics very calmly

    On to Neko Case! Play Iron Fuckin Maiden!!!!!

  2. gavinsdad Says:

    Very paranoid. I made the headlines of the morning paper the following morning (never happened). There weren’t uniformed cops there as there usually were so the plain clothes had infiltrated our crew (didn’t happen), id broken a bone in my hand (did happen). Garcia was diming out my friends who were delivering drugs to the GD road crew (some of that Happened but not the diming out part and def not that nite) and I explained many of these hallucinations to my entire crew who really didn’t like that type of talk.

    Massive luke vs darth overtones and symbolism. Went outside to SF djs in the lot (wicked crew) and decided on the spot not to ride home to CO. (May or may not have happened)

    Really gnarly nite. Vince and the Heartbreaks opened?

  3. jtran Says:

    afternoon/evening comrades

    settlig in after day at the beach. sunny and 73 (duh), good surf, boxed wine, and chips and guac. Threw on Ventura 97 as the stanley cup soundtrack.

    Have a Left Coast Brewing (san clemente, ca) trestles IPA to try in a minute.

    Go Bruins!

  4. voopa Says:

    Wow gdad. The most intense experience I remember that night was getting shit for smoking a cig on the floor of the arena during set break.

    Moved about a QP of mid grade sativa before the show, bought two water pipes, a killer lot shirt made just for that show, and a long sleeved T w/a VW logo in batik (lol). On my way in, I got sparechang’d…reached into my back pocket blindly and ended up giving the dude a $20. Dig it brah.

    Vince’s band. I had blocked out that.

    Next night I saw Black Crowes and Jayhawks at Concord Pavilion. Got lit up on cheap beer before the show, ate shrooms, and then ended up snorting some poor couple’s entire crank stash. I gave them the rest of the shrooms, ’cause I sure as hell didn’t need them then.

  5. kayatosh Says:

    greetings, BB.


    Have fun, get lucky.

  6. MiA Says:

    Took a 3 hr nap today. 6 pm wake and bake.

    Need Cali freshies.

  7. jtran Says:

    play CDT like ventura 97!

  8. kayatosh Says:

    rapped out w/ buddy from SD yesterday in NJ. solid guy. He has recently gotten very into the phish (past few years), has seen some qual 3.0 shows, and was even in a phish cover band for a bit til he decided to do his own tunes and only a few covers. He was a gd fan first and resisted phish. once the gd was no more, the doors were open and now he’s up all night to get lucky. for me it was phish and gd in tandem; love for both bands growing equally as i progressed through the 20’s. but phish was always the happening band while the gd was a relic. never a conflict btw. the two.


  9. Slicksasquatch Says:

    Guest bedroom is all you Mia

  10. kayatosh Says:

    by relic i mean never my band. sd friend has few years on me and cam eup w/the gd. i enjoyed a few of the relic era shows — dean dome for one. phish was my band. is.

  11. DavidSilver Says:

    Hawkeytown, USA

  12. voopa Says:

    Hangtown Fest lineup announced today, the weekend before Halloween in Placerville (in the foothills east of Sacto).

    RRE all 3 nights
    Marco, Stanton and Dillon

    …could be fun…

  13. kayatosh Says:

    To be clear, I love the gd. Grateful to have had a vehicle show. The two work well togethrr. Never did a phish that way.

  14. Mr. Palmer Says:

    2 weeks form this moment we will be rocking night 2 @ Spac. Excitement level rising.

    Lots of work to be done before…. Going to be a bad ass summer. I strongly believe this will be a nice primer for an explosive and dynamic Fall tour… One for the ages.

  15. phlorida phan Says:


  16. voopa Says:

    Yes Plams. Banner year ahead. We all know about expectations, but this should pay off nicely.

    Gdad made another good point, about Brent’s organ playing. While I love Keith to death, that’s a color that was sorely lacking in their palette back then. Ironic, considering how much it was being used in rock then (Boston, Kansas, Walla Walla, etc.)…

  17. jtran Says:

    thought about spac for the first time today, almost. Realized my parents just bought a camper van they’re taking out to utah this coming winter, so I’ll get to wook out and have a nice place to sleep wherever I please before it goes west.

  18. Slicksasquatch Says:

    I’m pretty sure when Brent was out of tune he was doing it to melt face . At least that’s my.2.

  19. voopa Says:

    And now the jealousy of being a West Coast phan starts to set in, like every time before tour.

    Keep it together voop, stay positive. You have 5 shows in 2 of the best venues in the world coming up.

    Well, at least two great parts of the world.

  20. gavinsdad Says:

    We’re all lucky to have made it.

    Wild times Voopa and yeah get psyched for your west coast shows. A nimble band, a pretty decent crowd base (compared to Phish crowd a la 98 darkness) and more than likely deep improv. Good stuff.

  21. voopa Says:

    Not sure what you mean Slick. I mean the rinky-dink honky tonk sounds he used regularly, as opposed to an actual piano. Not the stuff going on in Space (which was mainly the guitarists anyway, of course). Hearing synthesized pi-aner on songs like Half-Step makes me cringe.

  22. RoosterPizza Says:

    This year is like last year for me voopa. I am excited for tour to start, but my shows are still over two months away. I think the payoff will be well worth the wait for both of us.

  23. phishm Says:

    Just bring the Phish over to my part of town for fall. I’ve heard rumors, but nothing solid. Not that I don’t mind driving to see a show, it’s just hard being a single dad and finding a block of time to do something without the kids. Getting older and more mature kind of sucks sometimes.

  24. phishm Says:

    Just gave that CDT from Ventura another listen. Love the little thank you Trey gives at the end (at least I think it’s Trey, but probably Fish). Very high energy version. Yes Jtran, I hope they play CDT like Ventura sometime soon. Wonder how the game is going. Guess I’ll watch some hockey now. Neighbors are having a party, but not interested. The life and times of a bored phish fan. Can’t wait to get my kids tomorrow night. That is when the real fun begins. Until then you all take care.

  25. voopa Says:

    Ventura Drowned accompanied that stretch of Period 2 well.

    During the show I was at yesterday evening, I was up near the stage taking photos around 8pm, and a dude tapped my shoulder and handed me a joint. “From one Deadhead to another.” I was wearing my Giants/SYF shirt that Mrs. V bought for me at Phone Company Ballpark, during a game that we went to during the park’s inaugural year (the year 2000- went to a game a month that season. How the fuck did we afford that?)

    I took 3 hits, then made my way back to the part of the park where Jason was chilling, eating a fantastic food truck sando…sat and chilled for a bit, then a woman in a black and white striped skirt walked by, and that simple pattern tripped me the fuck out, reinforcing the notion that I really do not need to take acid again, ever.

    Of course, smoking a different variety of weed is probably why I felt semi do-see-do’ed, but it was good reminder that I in fact have done enough, just need to spend more time tapping back into that area. Tap tap.

    Tap tap

    Ventura Maze

    Tap tap

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