On this day in 1996, Phish kicked off their summer tour with a performance at Joyous Lake in Woodstock, NY, beginning a serious run of performances that would go down as some of the best shows in the band’s history, and certainly their 1.0 era.
During the month-and-a-half period which the band had off from touring their 1996 performance at New Orleans Jazz Fest, Phish continued to work on new material that would end up on their next studio effort, Billy Breathes, which went on to arrive that October.
On June 6th, Phish played at Joyous Lake unannounced, as billed under the name, “Third Ball.” It was there and then that the band debuted a pair of Billy Breathes classics that have remained in the setlist rotation ever since with “Waste” and “Character Zero”.
Both songs appeared for the first time during the night’s second set. It wasn’t long before “Character Zero” quickly gained a reputation as the new rocker, especially when juxtaposed with a softer ballad like “Waste”. In the audio recording from the June 6th show, fans can hear that “Waste” didn’t quite have its ending finalized at that point, as Trey Anastasio notes during the performance. Still, both “Waste” and “Zero” have earned places in the hearts of many Phish fans in the years since.
Revisit the band’s full performance with the two live debuts below.
Phish (a.k.a Third Ball) – Joyous Lake Club – 6/6/96 [Full-Show Audio]
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, Highway to Hell
II: AC/DC Bag, You Enjoy Myself, Chalk Dust Torture, Sparkle, Stash, Waste, Character Zero, David Bowie, Fee > Sample in a Jar
E: Ya Mar, Fire
 Trey on keys for portions.
· 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]