On this day in 1996, Phish kicked off their summer tour schedule with a performance at Joyous Lake in Woodstock, NY, beginning a serious summer stretch that would go down as some of the best shows in the band’s history.

With a month-and-a-half off from the road after their last performance at Jazz Fest, Phish holed up and wrote some of the songs that would comprise their October 1996 studio effort, Billy Breathes. They then played at Joyous Lake unannounced, billed under the name “Third Ball.” It was there and then that the band debuted two Billy Breathes classics that have been in rotation ever since: “Waste” and “Character Zero.”

Both appearing in the second set, “Character Zero” quickly gained a reputation as the new rocker, especially when juxtaposed with more acoustic songs like “Waste,” “Train Song,” and “Talk”. You can hear that “Waste” doesn’t quite have its ending written yet, as Trey Anastasio notes during the performance. Still, both “Waste” and “Zero” have earned places in our hearts for their roles in Phish’s catalog and setlists.

Thanks to fromtheaquarium, we can listen to the whole show, streaming below.

Phish (Third Ball) – 6/6/96 – Full Audio

[Video: fromtheaquarium]

Setlist: Phish | Joyous Lake | Woodstock, NY | 6/6/96

I: Split Open and Melt, Poor Heart, Runaway Jim, Funky Bitch, Theme From the Bottom, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Scent of a Mule[1], Highway to Hell

II: AC/DC Bag, You Enjoy Myself, Chalk Dust Torture, Sparkle, Stash, Waste[2], Character Zero[2], David Bowie, Fee > Sample in a Jar

E: Ya Mar, Fire

[1] Trey on keys for portions.
[2] Debut.

· Sunshine of Your Love tease in Scent of a Mule

Notes: This unannounced show was performed under the name “Third Ball.” BBFCFM featured Trey using a Rolling Rock beer bottle as a slide. Scent of a Mule included a Sunshine of Your Love tease and saw Trey on keys for portions. Waste and Character Zero debuted at this show. The opening act was Juan Hung Low.

[Originally published 6/6/17]