For collectors and fans, finding bootleg audio of Phish playing the Capitol Theater isn’t too difficult.
But out of a half-dozen performances here, the Oct. 6, 1990 show might be the most memorable — it was the band’s first appearance in Port Chester, and complete recordings of the set are elusive, even on the internet.
The Capitol performance serves as a career marker for the band, seven years after it was formed — while Phish is primarily known for headlining large outdoor festivals, on that night its members were playing an intimate venue, opening for a band best remembered as a two-hit wonder during the height of the grunge era.
Some 1,800 fans filled the theater to capacity that night, drawn by fliers promising “1 killer show” as the Vermont-based rockers warmed up the stage for headliner Blues Traveler.
The latter band’s singer, John Popper, joined Phish on stage for the first known performance of “Don’t Get Me Wrong,” contributing deft harmonica licks for the new tune. Phish frontman Trey Anastasio told the the audience he wrote the track when Popper was in Burlington, where Phish had formed seven years earlier.
Returning the favor, Anastasio joined Popper and Blues Traveler, contributing guitars and vocals for a cover of Van Morrison’s “Gloria.”
Phish’s set list included fan favorites “If I Only Had a Brain,” “David Bowie” and “Carolina.”
Two weeks before the Capitol show, Phish released its second album, Lawn Boy. Songs like “Squirming Coil” and “The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony” debuted on that album and were a part of the band’s set list in Port Chester.