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…

[audio:] Tags: ,

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

  1. little umbrellas Says:

    Funny timing T3.. i just got stung by a bee… been since I was a kid. Kinda Burns. Whatevs.
    echoing Voops thoughts on being a West Coastie and missing everything until they come to me… but yes, the West generally gets hooked up with at least one great jam. Think my 7/26 B day is going to be the one.

  2. little umbrellas Says:

    As for never getting spun again, i got past that. I’ve had the experience of ‘losing it’, being afraid to ‘go there’ again, and slowly building back my ability to be in my own mind and be calm under vastly different states.
    Of course how much is a big part if it, and may I never get puddled again. Feel very calm and accepting of the goodness now. No need for fear and delusions.

  3. little umbrellas Says:

    Thanks Sumo for that article. Nice seeing M.A.P.S get a little shout out.

  4. tela'smuff Says:

    very similar history @LU. ride the wave.

  5. RoosterPizza Says:

    I could try to explain th night I just had, but you wouldn’t believe me. Alcohol, hookers,, and yakuza.

  6. voopa Says:

    Funny lum, I was thinking about that after I posted, and realized that they started Fall ’95, Summer ’98, and Fall ’98 and ’99 on the West Coast. So it hasn’t always been like that. But yeah, it’s usually like that. But what can you do?

    I’ve considered moving east, just because of this damn band! Then I remember why my parents moved west. I was reminded again yesterday while researching the family farm. Learned all about the quaint little town where my Father was born, where the Klan dedicated the local public school 5 years before he was born. No thanks.

    Learned all about Hurricane Agnes and the resulting flood too. Now it’s time to reacquaint myself with the land via mowing. Before the Klan comes.

  7. RoosterPizza Says:

    It god bad

  8. RoosterPizza Says:

    I karikoed abc123, momma I’m c’mon home, and bohemian rhapsody. Game over

  9. RoosterPizza Says:

    A hooker may have tried to touch my gotta jaboo. Rooster out!

  10. RoosterPizza Says:

    Cock a doodle doo

  11. phlorida phan Says:

    @rooster, you need a gopro helmet cam to capture all these shenanigans.

  12. RoosterPizza Says:

    It’s out of hand

  13. RoosterPizza Says:

    I need a go ho cam

  14. phlorida phan Says:

    The town I went to HS in lasts hanging was 1988. When we moved there in ’92, was only 3 black kids in a school of 1,000. By the time I made it there, count was in the 20s. Mud boggs right up the road. Lots of rebel flags and cowboy hats. Whew, Land ‘O Lakes fl. Stay classy.

  15. little umbrellas Says:

    Im of an age where first seeing them in 99 was while in high school. So the 95-98 is in the history books for me. Crazy to realize I’m turning 30 with the band. (We’ll see if my feelings about getting spun remain the same 20 years from now)

  16. little umbrellas Says:

    I do remember coming back to school after seeing Phil and Phrieds at the Warfield (my first time seeing Trey) and feeling like other people had no idea about what was really going on.

  17. voopa Says:

    “You have no idea.”

    I love that.

  18. little umbrellas Says:

    Sunday morning, reading the paper, commenting, realizing that I communicate with yalls on the BB more than I do with some of my ‘closest friends’…. Guess we have a great medium for communication here, just big enough of a container to create the perfect space for like minded heads. Thanks Miner!
    Maybe if more of my friends cared more about Phish… Actually forget that! Tickets are hard enough to get already.

  19. voopa Says:

    The front lawn is tight
    So don’t fuck with me, okay?
    Ventura again

  20. little umbrellas Says:

    Telas back from Beyond the Rainbow and ready to get down.

  21. kayatosh Says:

    herbs for life.

    rosemary, thyme, basil, mint, and cannabis, to name a few — nature’s medicine

  22. kayatosh Says:

    11 30 96 uncle pen- $$$

  23. kayatosh Says:

    Crazy to think my phish love began in 1991 and is still going strong.
    July is near. Woo hoo!

  24. kayatosh Says:

    Spinning DCU roses. great moment for the band and fans.

  25. kayatosh Says:

    You tucked it once, why tuck it again?

Leave a Reply