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. tela's_muff Says:

    While I knew of PMITE, I had never taken the time to track it down. Pretty interesting one timer and cool to hear it and see what they ended up doing with it. Great readers picks today!! Been a long time since I listened to Melt the Guns. Not sure I’d care if they brought it back but cool nonetheless.

  2. sumodie Says:

    PTBMs in hand!

    Bangor plus others

  3. little umbrellas Says:

    i just got 7/31/99 encore’d
    was all ready for this enticingly labeled “jam” of an encore. Free Tibet speech in English and translated into Japanese. Kosovo memories and all. Then some passing yodeler opens the air lock and everybody gets sucked out. Brian and Robert next? no thanks…

    ahh. but have you heard Rated X?:

  4. BNCB Says:

    The fact it’s being discussed means it already exists:


  5. gavinsdad Says:

    Melt The Guns was also Dirksen’s most sought after bust. It’s also a fun XTC song but i really have never spent a moment wishing phish would play it.

    ::cue the AW Dirksen dis::

  6. poop goblin Says:


  7. poop goblin Says:

    anybody telling other peeps they are waiting for a XTC bust out has already down all the dissing themselves. no need.

    fuck that band.

  8. Kaveh Says:

    PTBMs in hand!

    ^ Looks like mine will arrive today too! Bangor in hand…just no airfare, yet. But I’ll have Gorge and Denver.

  9. poop goblin Says:

    do we really need to diss the cat that makes jamming charts complete with a grading system of A through F

    bout to jump on this 4/21/94 B/B+ jam

    imagine what could be goin on in that nutballs head when he can’t decide between giving a jam a B or a B+


  10. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    I am so poppin the collar for today’s playlist!!

  11. poop goblin Says:

    sorry it’s a MIke’s from 4/21/94 with the B/B+

    actually fuck it. I’m going balls out.

    straight up B+ Mike’s from 10/21/94

  12. DavidSilver Says:

    DC04 my last too. DC is A+

  13. poop goblin Says:

    damn that daftside shit is must spin shit. better than I even thought. morning flying by.

    laterz comrades KYS

  14. dorn76 Says:

    Ambitious post! New material for me on most of these. Aside from Colorado ’88, Nectars and couple tunes, I’m an 80’s noob, but always loved the garage band vibe and frenetic energy.

  15. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    thanks for this playlist- i do not listen to a lot of ’80’s phish. i my opinion, i find it difficult to listen to anything pre ’88. in ’88 phish became listenable. in ’90 they became good. in ’92 very good. in ’93 outstanding. the rest is history. simply my opinion. this list is wonderful in a historical context. the potential of what will become is evident in all of these selections. thanks for the history lesson. well done.

  16. gavinsdad Says:

    AW you’re too easy bro

  17. angryjoggerz Says:

    Kanye and Kim really missed out on a great sponsorship opportunity by not naming their kid “South by South”.

  18. voopa Says:


  19. BNCB Says:

    Things coming together. Really hoping to meet the folks on here I haven’t met.

    Chicago night one (dibs on new wOOk couch)
    Bill Graham

    Let’s do this! Phish, one of the last great things b

  20. gavinsdad Says:

    9 Lessons from Phish and ICP for Deep Fan Engagement

  21. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    pg- thanks for the daftside link. good music.

  22. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    bncb- tahoe, bg, hollywood, and dicks. look for the dude with the hot girlfriend, baby, vw bus (complete with smokey quartz on the dash), long hair, and a dancing bear hat.

  23. BNCB Says:

    Fuck yeah Heady! I’ll bring some quartz. We can magnetize. I’ll be easy to find in Tahoe. Only one WW booth. I’ll be there.

    Gonna try and bring a pair of wave runners from Slick.

  24. DavidSilver Says:

    That dude in TOTD can really get me emotional. Some days you just miss the fat man. So weird to miss someone so bad that you never even met.

  25. ren Says:

    BB throwdown at Dicks is going to be a great way to end the summer!!!

    ::steps back behind himself so as not to get ahead::

    Bangor is so close (the irony!!!) that I can taste it!

    The wild card for me is JB. Hometown show so its got that going for it…and its on the ocean. Think I’ve been to every JB show yet…always some great highlights. Maybe we get a full on smoker for once?!?!?

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