I caught a documentary on the Sundance Channel called Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub. And man, that brought back several vivid flashbacks and warm memories.
The documentary told the history of Wetlands (1989-2001) which was a club in lower Manhattan. I saw my first Phish show at the Wetlands in 1989 when I was 17 and a senior in high school. In fact, that might have been the first time I was ever in the Wetlands.
I can't tell you how many random bands I saw at the Wetlands in the 1990s including moe., God Street Wine, Disco Biscuits, Deep Banana Blackout, Jupiter Coyote, the Ominous Seapods, and Medeski Martin & Wood. I even saw Robert Hunter there a couple of times including countless other Dead cover bands. And then at the turn of the century, I caught local acts like Soulive and DJ Logic and also saw Robert Randolph get his start in the jamband scene with shows at Wetlands.
The Wetlands closed its doors in 2001 and I recall that my friends were super bummed at the sad news. It was one of the few places in town where you could have fun at a show instead of being harassed by surly security guards at places like Irving Plaza or getting squeezed out by the hipster acts at Bowery Ballroom.
A big celebration with Rat Dog was supposed to mark the closing but the events of 9.11 interrupted the final week of festivities. And if you didn't know, Mike Gordon played in the last official show at the Wetlands on September 10, 2001. He sat in with DJ Logic and Warren Haynes. Robert Hunter would play a couple of nights later to unofficially play the last show at Wetlands.
Anyway, if you get the chance look for Wetlands Preserved: The Story of an Activist Nightclub on the Sundance Channel.
Here's a bit...