On July 7, Phish presented the second set of their May 1, 1989 show in Northampton, Mass. for their Dinner And A Movie broadcast series.
The 67-minute set took place at Pearl Street club’s Universal Joint basement space; Phish performed at Pearl Street seven known times between May 1, 1989 and May 10, 1990. The groups former manager, John Paluska, attended college at nearby Amherst and the region of New England where Pearl Street is located was a favorite stop in the band’s early days.
This was the first time official video of the performance has been released. It also marked the oldest official video release in Phish’s career. The previous record holder was the band’s broadcast of their June 19, 1995 show at Deer Creek (which was used for the June 15 edition of Dinner And A Movie).
The show was filmed in an unconventional manner; Phish’s Page McConnell elaborated in the announcement post:
As I recall, the video for this show came into being rather spontaneously, without too much forethought or planning. As we were setting up our gear, in a basement club in Northampton, MA, we were approached by a well-dressed, diminutive gentleman. As best I can remember, his name was René. And he was there to pitch his video idea to us. For a nominal fee he would shoot the band’s set with one camera, artistically. He spoke with a French accent, almost spitting at us in a kind of broken English, with an urgency that was quite compelling. As his pace and volume increased, he kept saying it would be “avant-garde.” And the more times he said “avant-garde” with that thick accent, the more I believed him.
Needless to say, he got the gig. And we got the video.
The audio was recorded by our friend and former manager, John Paluska. The audio and visual sat in our vault since 1989, but had never been properly synched up (the videotape lacked audio). Jared Slomoff did a great job matching them up, so you all could enjoy it this week. According to Kevin Shapiro, we have used all the existing audio, but there are still a few audio pauses and hiccups along the way. Our apologies.
Rene’s use of the fisheye lens, the “negative image” effect, the odd angles and abrupt movements…I’m not sure it all adds up to “avant-garde.” And, at times I wish he would settle down. But, he went for it, and there is no denying that Rene’s camera work brought a certain excitement to the overall shoot.
After watching some of the video, I looked to see what sort of shows we were playing back then. It was a really fun time for us. We were starting to get gigs every month around the Northeast at clubs and colleges, and still playing regular gigs in Burlington at The Front and Nectar’s.
This video captures some of that youthful energy that is nurtured and developed in small clubs like this one all across the country. Some of the places we played are still around, but many clubs are just barely hanging on now, which is why this week we are proud to be supporting the National Independent Venue Association. #saveourstages
Watch the full set below, while it remains on YouTube.