Weekend Nuggets: The Spectrum ’97


The Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA

The Spectrum - Philadelphia, PA

In all the madness of Fall ’97, this Philly weekend sometimes gets left in the dust.  Surrounded by Hampton and a legendary Cleveland > Detroit > Dayton run, The Spectrum shows don’t always get the credit deserved.  Both second sets were monsters, strewn with all sorts of improvisation.  and ten tons of cow funk.

12.2.97 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA < LINK

12.2.97 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA < TORRENT LINK

I: Buried Alive > Down With Disease, Makisupa Policeman, Chalk Dust Torture, Ghost, The Divided Sky, Dirt > Taste, The Star Spangled Banner

II: Mike’s Song > Simple > Dog Faced Boy > Ya Mar > Weekapaug Groove, Bouncing Around the Room, Character Zero

E: Ginseng Sullivan, Sample in a Jar


12.3.97 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA < LINK

12.3.97 The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA < TORRENT LINK

I: Punch You In The Eye, My Soul, Drowned, The Old Home Place, Gumbo > Also Sprach Zarathustra > You Enjoy Myself

II: David Bowie*> Possum > Funk Jam, Prince Caspian, Frankenstein, Harry Hood

E: Crossroads




3.6.09 “The First Tweezer Back”

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77 Responses to “Weekend Nuggets: The Spectrum ’97”

  1. AintNoTele Says:


    I have VIP camping but need a ride from the airport, you only need one pass per car so if I can ride with you, I’ll give ya free camping

  2. snigglebeach Says:

    MY first song at first show was Oh Kee Pah Ceremony. Last night of the “98” Island Run.

  3. dyda Says:

    camel walk

  4. BingosBrother Says:

    Divided Sky. Missed the Icculus opener by 30 seconds. Pretty sure it will forever haunt me. C’est la vie.

  5. cottle Says:

    1st Song 1st show: Ha Ha Ha…only one I’ve seen to date.

  6. hairy pood Says:

    Ain’tNoTele: which airport? Sea-Tac? I’ll give you a ride from SeaTac to the Gorge if me and two friends can share the VIP camping

  7. Minibowmatt Says:

    I will miss the Spectrum. I will be lucky enough to see Phish a few times this summer, I only wish they would have played here one more time before they take the ‘Big Joint’ down.

  8. hairy pood Says:

    AC/DC Bag

  9. Wax Banks Says:


    (Are you from Boston? Did I get my 12/30/97 tapes at a dubbing party in Porter Square with you present?)

    I often consider Dirksen’s opinion when listening to Phish, as he was the most influential person on RMP for me when I was just getting into the band, and he literally spun me as many as 75 tapes over the years. Through 95-98, his reviews were something I looked forward to, and that always helped turn me on to new shows I may have overlooked due to their setlists or obscurity, etc.

    Seems I’ve followed the same trajectory – treated Charlie as an authority when I was a n00b (before I’d heard enough to know how narrow his tastes in Phish are), got tons of tapes from him for which I’m forever grateful, used his Mike’s/Tweezer/YEM reviews as guides when collecting shows on analog, etc. His 3/1/97 and 12/14/95 tapes, with their bright yellow J-cards, destroyed my mind back in the day. (They’re right across the living room as I now sit, afforded a place of honour though I don’t actually listen to cassettes anymore.)

    And my appreciation for post-99 Phish didn’t begin until I started reading Miner’s site. Various disagreements aside, I’m really grateful for that too!

    Still, I don’t think Charlie’s writeups have great value beyond the historical and the taxonomic (I admire his perverse completism). Never mind silliness like his ’12/31/95 FOTM tease’ obsession (I hear why he hears it, I just don’t think it’s more than a little nod of the head if anything at all); most fan writeups are about ‘How I Felt,’ and tend not to dig into how the music works. Charlie’s in particular are absolutely devoid of rich musical description, not to mention the usual assortment of inaccuracies and missed calls; most egregiously, he talks a good game about tension and release but has nothing to say about the content of tense music.

    (I cut a long comment about Charlie’s and others’ writing and the heyday of RMP. Short version: the amateur-enthusiast spirit of Phish fandom is half of what made it accessible and enveloping in those days, but its unsubtle anti-intellectualism definitely hamstrung the fan discourse, and is – I suspect – responsible for some or much of the mass-culture sense that Phish fans are tolerant and unsophisticated. ‘Sophisticated’ is far from my ideal, but there are worse things, you know?!) 🙂

  10. Bandnana Says:


  11. Bapslap Says:

    Runaway Jim

  12. Hooks Says:

    mymymymymymymymymymymySOUL it’s my SOUL. can still see it and loop the intro from the show over and over in my head

  13. AintNoTele Says:


    I’ll take that deal, I havent secured my plane tickets yet but the flight I am looking at gets in at 10ish on friday and leaves out late night sunday. If you can guarantee the ride to and from the Gorge I’ll make sure my flight time matches with yours. Email me back with the details: hlhaun@edisto.cofc.edu

  14. Mugician Says:

    It’s wonderful to think about the fact that I’m going to HAVE a First Song First Show in a couple months. It keeps me up at night still.

  15. Bandnana Says:

    @Mugician Christmas will come sooner if you go to bed.

  16. Mugician Says:

    Yeah, but I keep having Phish dreams too. Last night, Trey let me borrow his rig, and I got to play it at home.

    I’m gonna go watch Waking Life…

  17. whole tour! Says:

    anyone with comcast on demand:
    concert TV — phish in vegas!

  18. wizzle1986 Says:

    Runaway Jim>Free 9-29-99 Memphis, hometown show, only one at that venue, and last show in Memphis to this day

  19. Bandnana Says:

    @Wizzle that show is awesome! The mike’s with kung/catapult/i didn’t know. That cities is pimp too, nice show. I actually wish the pyramid was still running. Probably the only person who wishes that.

  20. Mitch Says:


    Charles Schumer, NY Senator is trying to pass legislation to ban the resale of tickets until 2 days after they go on sale. I guess its a step in the right direction.

    I saw this on the news and they quoted the Bruce tickets selling out in less than a minute and U2 going on sale tomorrow. Schumer is trying to get it passed by october so Mets / Yankees fans will be helped. Still no mention of Phish and its happened 28 times this year alone. They did reference ticket brokers as being the problem tho.

    I’m just glad to see the ticket issue is actually getting some attention.

  21. Henry Holland Says:

    First song: 7/8/03, Chula Vista: Guyute. Nice! So, my tour this summer is lining up to be:

    Shoreline > Gorge x 2 > Chicago

    I’m hoping against hope that they add a Los Angeles area date, it would be nice to not have to fly/drive a long distance to hear a show.

    This isn’t an episode of LOST, so I can’t travel back in time, but I get the feeling that like Charlie Dirksen did a little later, if I’d been a huge phan back in the early 90’s, I would have gotten off the bus by 1998 too. Hell, 1997 would have done it too. I might be the only one here, but those long 2-chord “funk” jams bore me to fucking tears. It drives me crazy that they have a killer drummer and he turned in to a drum machine, playing the same thing over and over and over…..

    I got in to Phish via the prog rock angle: all the Junta epics, Maze, Guyute etc. My collection of live shows for Phish is almost all 1993-1995, it drops off drastically after that. Too much sloppiness was starting to creep in, the tempos start to slow down and for me, the jams just go on and on. Plus, words are unable to describe how much I hate that fucking looping pedal sound, that whining repeating fingernails-on-the-chalkboard sound that Trey slathered all over everything starting in 1996.

    That’s one of the reasons I loved the Hampton 09 shows so much, lots and lots of songs, tight focused jamming within the framework of the song, very few long jams. I, for one, hope the days of 4 song 2nd sets are gone.

  22. EL Duderino Says:

    I’m seeing five shows this summer, which is enough for an old timer like myself. Alpine Valley x 2, The Gorge x 2, and Toyota Park.

  23. Mugician Says:

    Henry: I hear ya on those long jams. They aren’t much fun to play either, though I can totally see why the band did so much of it. It keeps people dancing. Also, any live show is gonna be hard to listen to as opposed to actually being there.

    Long jams can actually be pretty fun at times, and the longer you go, the more ideas come out. I think they said it somewhere on the IT DVD, where if you don’t keep going, whatever could have happened musically never ever happens, and a lot of the time, some of those great ideas start to come out the further into the jam they go. Take any of those epic Tweezers for example, but particularly the version on A Live One, some REALLY incredible stuff happens in the last ten minutes of that thirty minuter.

    And again, people like to dance. Think of it from the musician’s perspective, those guys went as long as they did playing as much as they could, and touring really beats every ounce of energy out of you. Sometimes you just wanna stand there on stage and fuck around on a progression for a while.

    I don’t know what non-musicians think about it, but I know from experience that not just the touring aspect or the standing on stage for 3 hours saps your energy, it’s also *playing*. The actual act of making music, ESPECIALLY improvisational music, is incredibly taxing physically and mentally. Playing music is HARD no matter how good you are, and no matter how much you get into it, it still takes energy. I don’t blame the guys at all.

    As for Hampton 09, more than the sheer number of songs they played (or WHAT songs they played for that matter) and how focused they were, the thing that really sold me was 1: the energy and emotion involved and 2: the music, the actual SOUND of the venue, the crowd, the air, the band, sounded SO much healthier than I’ve ever heard it. They sounded stellar and better than I’ve heard despite the many mistakes they made during those three nights. I’m excited for them, because we all know they are absolutely in love with what they do, and this summer is just gonna be so good for everybody involved.

    Now that Page is higher in the mix and we can hear his beautiful playing better, let’s get some more FISH. I always wanted a drum solo out of him. He’s just so goddamn good, and he never really gets to SHINE. There are DEFINITELY moments, but I want MORE of them! Who knows.

    Another thing I’d love to see is more A Capella…

  24. Woah Says:

    Toyota Park reserved tix are still on sale thru ticketmaster. Close stage seats too…check it out. Not a bad seat in the place.

  25. Harpua Says:

    Not sure if you’ll hear a drum solo, Mugician. Fishman is known for absolutely detesting drum solos.

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