Author Topic: May 1991 Wesleyan  (Read 1307 times)

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Offline jmitchell

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May 1991 Wesleyan
« on: April 08, 2012, 10:03:49 PM »
I got a pretty interesting set of emails today, but I don't really have a good answer.  Thought this would be the place to get some conversation started.   I am just looking for a bit more info, if anyone has any let me know.  Here are the emails that I got today...

Dear Jeff,

I found your name via Lossless Legs -- where I'm a member and you seem to be the go-to person for all things Phish. In trying to track down an older Phish show I was at, I came across an odd date mix-up I'm hoping you can clear up.

The show in question is Phish performing at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut in early May 1991. I was a student at Wesleyan at the time, as well as one of the folks involved in booking the band to play at the school's annual, outdoor, free "Spring Fling".

Yet the Wesleyan show that pops up online -- and with well-notated (and excellent sounding!) audience recordings to boot -- is listed as being from 9/16/90. It's possible a very small, indoor show did happen on campus on that 9/16/90 date which I was unaware of. (I was much more of a punk rock guy at the time. Phish were not on my radar.) But it goes against all my memories of what led up to the May 1991 booking. (A funny story in itself!) And the circulating online setlists don't mention any May 1991 Wesleyan show at all.

FWIW, a Google search brings up this interview w/ Phish's soundman where he mentions the May 1991 show in question:

http://business.highbeam.com/967/article-1G1-122874686/life-after-phishing

If it helps in avoiding any further confusion, that May 1991 show featured three other bands -- NYC's Boss Hogg, Connecticut's Crystallized Movements, and the headlining Zimbabwean musician Thomas Mapfumo. The openers (including Phish) all played single sets. I wasn't familiar with any of Phish's setlist at the time -- though I can still distinctly remember the looks of incredulity on many people's faces (including mine) when one of the band members began bouncing on a trampoline while playing. 

If memory serves, the 9/16/90 recording is way too long to actually be the May 1991 Wesleyan show. I recall Phish playing an abbreviated set that afternoon, performing for maybe an hour. We were on a pretty tight schedule to cycle through the three opening bands. My hunch is that the show labeled as 9/16/90 is actually from another date entirely.

My recollection of the booking of Phish was that they hadn't played Wesleyan yet at all. Which was why a group of their on-campus devotees were so focused on getting them to play there in the spring of 1991.

(Even if my memory is off here, the only place they could've possibly played at Wesleyan in September 1990 that I didn't know about, was a small indoor cafeteria with a low ceiling -- which isn't what the 9/16/90 recording sounds like.)

It's likely that *someone* made a (as-yet-uncirculated) audience recording of the May 1991 Wesleyan show. There were a group of students there who were already fanatical about Phish, as well as plenty of taping-inclined Deadheads around.

It would have been very easy to get a nice pull too: The band played on a stage at the bottom of a large hill, with folks standing (and dancing) in front, and then many more people sitting on the hill itself as it sloped up steeply. (Folks used to go sledding down this hill in the winter ;) If you set up a mic stand about halfway up the hill, you'd have an unobstructed sight line to the (loud and clear) PA, still be fairly close to the action, yet also be way above and apart from most crowd noise.

Phish Lossless Audio Sources
http://tinyurl.com/8gc3xdy

Offline twatts

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Re: May 1991 Wesleyan
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 10:26:55 PM »
I can ask Rob Sharron again, but if my memory serves correctly, he made his DAT copy from Andrew Marckel's cass(m) almost immediately after the show:

Quote
PHISH


Wesleyan University
Middletown, Connecticut
September 16, 1990


Source:  Nakamichi cm100/cp-1 > Sony WM-D6 > Cass(m) [Maxell XLII] > ??? > DAT(m)
Transfer:  DAT(m) > Tascam DA-20mkII > SPDIF > Tascam HD-P2 > Audacity (16/48 > 16/44) > CDWave > FLAC
Cass(m) sourced by Andrew Merckel
DAT(m) sourced and provided by Rob Sharron
DAT(m) transfered by Terry Watts
16/48 Master FLAC available

If you go back and look at a calendar, PH played these dates (http://phish.com/#/tours/1991):
Thur May 2
Fri May 3
Sat May 4
Thur May 9
Fri May 10
Sat May 11
Thur May 16
Fri May 17
Sat May 18

They may have played the last weekend in May and the Wesleyan show mentioned above may be one of them???

When I read the article, Brad Snow mentions the Spring Fling, which occurs near the last day of classes (now this occurs first week in June)...  There is also mention of a "Fall Ball" that occurs/occured at Wesleyan, which may be the set above via Andrew Merckel...

Who has a time-machine???

Terry
Oh! That! No, no, no, you're not ready to step into The Court of the Crimson King. At this stage in your training an album like that could turn you into an evil scientist.

----------------------

I want super-human will
I want better than average skill
I want a million dollar bill
And I want it all in a Pill

Offline antelope19

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Re: May 1991 Wesleyan
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 10:54:14 PM »
Paging Caravan
Quote
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment

Offline twatts

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Re: May 1991 Wesleyan
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 11:41:28 PM »
via gmail mining, from Rob Sharron:

Quote
The Wesleyan University show from 9/16/90 I have seen listed as being recorded by John Redmond, and while he may have taped the show, the copy that circulates with a somewhat lesser-quality "Contact" encore, was made by Andrew. Contact was recorded on a Normal Bias tape, as he had run out of tape (the show ran 97+ minutes).
Oh! That! No, no, no, you're not ready to step into The Court of the Crimson King. At this stage in your training an album like that could turn you into an evil scientist.

----------------------

I want super-human will
I want better than average skill
I want a million dollar bill
And I want it all in a Pill

Offline jmitchell

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Re: May 1991 Wesleyan
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 03:07:16 PM »
Dear Jeff,

Ah, now we all go down the rabbit hole together ;)

Sorry I can't be more precise about which day in May this show happened -- but the Saturday following the end of classes sounds right. The best bet for clearing all this up is if someone currently at Wesleyan hits the Olin library there and looks up back issues of the campus newspaper, The Wesleyan Argus. The Argus archives from the '90s are unfortunately not online, but the library should still have bound volumes available for browsing. The lineup for all the various "Fall Balls" and "Spring Flings" would be in there.

The Wesleyan university administration was always uneasy about security issues arising from non-students attending free concerts on-campus. So there was no formal advertising for this show at all -- just some hand-made banners around campus and mentions on WESU-FM, the campus radio station which (back then) broadcast from central Connecticut up through the Northampton/southern Mass. area. Again, the best "paper" confirmation would be from an old Argus.

Just a side note: That 9/16/90 poster linked to below is bogus and created years later. Its language is amusing, but there was never a "Supreme Student Council" at Wesleyan -- maybe in Libya but not at Wesleyan ;)

You'll find that same boxing-style design template used on scores of bootleg posters made for *tons* of bands. In fact, most of the rock posters found on ronposters.com are "fake" -- from the 1967 Doors show to the 1993 Nirvana show -- and created years, or even decades, after the concerts in question actually happened. Which their creator doesn't deny: www.ronsposters.com/info.html  I think ole Ron just pulled the 9/16/90 date from the same online lists as everybody else ;)

All My Best,
Brett
Phish Lossless Audio Sources
http://tinyurl.com/8gc3xdy

Offline twatts

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Re: May 1991 Wesleyan
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2012, 09:12:15 PM »
via email from Rob Sharron yesterday:

Quote
1. there were no opening act(s) that i, andrew (the taper) or the other person with us remember
2. this show most definitely NOT played at the spring fling! why would anyone (i don't mean you) question the september date of the show?? at one time you could buy a "bootleg" copy of the poster for the show, for crying out loud! the show was on a sunday, and it took place outside on one of the athletic fields. i don't remember anything about a "fall ball"
3. the transfer was done some time in 1995

Terry
Oh! That! No, no, no, you're not ready to step into The Court of the Crimson King. At this stage in your training an album like that could turn you into an evil scientist.

----------------------

I want super-human will
I want better than average skill
I want a million dollar bill
And I want it all in a Pill

Offline twatts

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Re: May 1991 Wesleyan
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2012, 09:19:10 PM »
The best bet for clearing all this up is if someone currently at Wesleyan hits the Olin library there and looks up back issues of the campus newspaper, The Wesleyan Argus. The Argus archives from the '90s are unfortunately not online, but the library should still have bound volumes available for browsing. The lineup for all the various "Fall Balls" and "Spring Flings" would be in there.

Anybody in the Middlebury CT area???  Feel like doing some digging???

Terry
Oh! That! No, no, no, you're not ready to step into The Court of the Crimson King. At this stage in your training an album like that could turn you into an evil scientist.

----------------------

I want super-human will
I want better than average skill
I want a million dollar bill
And I want it all in a Pill