When The Funk Came Home

Summer 1997

Summer 1997 (S.Nissman)

The day had finally come.  We hadn’t seen the band for six months- six months that had changed everything- and we had finally made it.  We were in Virginia Beach, and it was July 21st!  It was here.  After waiting over half a year that seemed more like an eternity, we would finally see what this new funk was all about!  Unless you were lucky enough to make it to Europe earlier in 1997, you were in the same boat- fiending for Phish and more curious than ever.

phish-amsterdam-97-subwayAfter finishing off 1996 with a smoking New Years Run, peaking at the Fleet Center amidst unreasonably cold temperatures in Boston, the band disappeared from the American scene.  Only two months later they were off on their first of two European tours before we’d have a chance to see them in the states again*.  Their twelve-show winter run continued the transformation to groove-based playing that had begun during the second half of Fall ’96.  And once we got a hold of that 2.17 Amsterdam tape, we knew something special was going on.   That “Disease” slowed down into some thick music we’d never heard before- and then segued into a dark, new song called “Lucy Had A Lumpy Head”- who was this band?!  This was different music than we heard in Boston- that was for sure- and it was very engaging!  Phish went on to play their infamous Markthalle show captured on Slip, Stitch, and Pass, but at the time, that Amsterdam tape was all anyone could talk about. *(Phish did play a small benefit in Burlington on 3.17)

6.19.97 Arena, Vienna, Austria

6.19.97 Vienna, Austria

We got some of the other winter tapes as well, and then we waited.  The band took off across the pond once again in June- this time armed with an array of new songs that spilled out quickly over their first two nights in Dublin.  “Ghost,” “Twist,” “Limb By Limb,” “Dogs Stole Things,” “Piper,” “I Saw It Again,” “Oblivious Fool,” “Vultures,” “Velvet Sea,” “Water In the Sky”- and come Virginia Beach, most of us had never heard them!  These were not the days of instant uploads and digital Phish; the tapers were all in Europe.  With only ten days separating the last European show and Virginia Beach, most of us didn’t have time for a blanks and postage deal.

(R. Bleckman)

(R. Bleckman)

But while we weren’t getting Phish music instantly online, it was around this time that Phish internet space- and the internet in general- began to catch fire.  On message boards and over email, we heard stories about twenty-minute funk jams played really, really slow; about this new song called “Ghost” that was all the rage; about bass led grooves coming from everywhere!  But they were just stories.  With each passing day and setlist, excitement amongst fans grew exponentially.  After six and a half months of no Phish coupled with tales of legendary jams, our imaginations were about to burst- we couldn’t wait any longer.  And we didn’t have to, because the day had arrived.

The Gorge '97 (J.Schwartz)

The Gorge '97 (J.Schwartz)

When we got into the amphitheatre, the energy was palpable as the entire crowd seemed to be on the verge of explosion.  How long would we have to wait before we heard all these new songs?  As a rainbow appeared over the lawn, breaking the day’s inclement weather, Phish stepped on stage with the first stateside drop into “Ghost.”  The music felt immediately addictive- its deep bass and slow grooves coursing through your veins.  It was a new high you’d never felt before- and Wow!- it felt good.  You had to dance, no matter how awkward it might have looked; this shit was funky!  And as the band entered the jam, we experienced the first gooey excursion of what would be a stellar summer tour.

Ghost ————————————— [audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/ph97-07-21d1t01.mp3]

1997-07-21gnFollowing up with “Dogs,” “Piper,” and “Dirt,” the band was as eager to introduce their new material as we were to hear it.  When listening to just the abbreviated version of “Piper,” you could feel the magic in that song from day one.  And finally, to welcome everyone to their US Summer Tour, Phish ripped apart a funktatstic “Bathtub Gin” that saw Trey jokingly chant “USA! USA! USA!” at the end.  Spirits were soaring; the band was as ecstatic to start a long US tour as we were, and a new era had truly begun.

Bathtub Gin ———————————– [audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/ph97-07-21d1t06.mp3]

7.21.97 Virgina Beach, VA – 12 Years Ago Today

I: Ghost, Dogs Stole Things, Piper, Dirt, Ginseng Sullivan, Bathtub Gin*, Character Zero

II: Wolfman’s Brother > Magilla, David Bowie, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Theme From the Bottom* > Funky Bitch*, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Loving Cup

*w/ Leroi Moore

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

You Enjoy Myself” 11.28.97 Worcester SBD


Perhaps the greatest version of “You Enjoy Myself” from Fall ’97, this one will get anyone’s head bobbing.  Coming in a show opening combo of “Curtain > YEM” to begin Worcester’s three-night stand, Phish got the party started right.  While not necessarily a dark-horse, a run through the SBD of this impeccable jam brightens any day.  With a fierce and funk-laced “Crosseyed” segment, this one is a keeper.



3.20.92 Broome Co. Forum, Binghamton, NY SBD < TORRENT

3.20.92 Broome Co. Forum, Binghamton, NY  SBD < MEGAUPLOAD

Spring '92 (phish.com)

Spring '92 (phish.com)

Keeping with the early-era soundboard trend of yesterday, here we have one of the greatest shows from the hallowed Spring of ’92.  This Binghamton show was an analog staple back in the day, with a SBD source that circulated early on.  In a show strewn with highlights, the “Antelope” stands out as one of the greatest early-90’s versions.  The first set is absolutely flawless, and set two isn’t far behind.  Enjoy this gem!

I: Wilson, Reba, Brother, Glide, Rift, Fluffhead, Maze, Lizards, Mound, Run Like an Antelope

II: Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Sanity, The Sloth, The Mango Song, Cavern, Uncle Pen, Harry Hood, Terrapin*, Possum

E: Lawn Boy, Fire

* Trey explains “Secret Language” before “Possum”

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269 Responses to “When The Funk Came Home”

  1. T. Leo Says:

    Voopa, come on now. What you got against Cleveland? Besides the governing board is in NYC. The Rock Hall is in Cleveland because the term Rock and Roll was coined here. That and Alan Freed (who coined the phrase) started the Moondog Coronation Ball, which is widely known as the first Rock and Roll concert. Cleveland was a must stop for any rock band for the next 25 years. Hotel Swingos was known as the Rock and Roll hotel and was routinely destroyed by the bands coming through town. We have some great rock history, what has happened in the city since and otherwise is another story althogether.

  2. T. Leo Says:

    BTB, That stinks about your car. There is a reason why Little Italy has kept it’s identity for so long and been able to keep the ghetto away. Unfortunately, the reason is not that PC thanks to the Mafia.

    Anyway, I had my rehearsal dinner at Tratoria, I love that place. I have a hard time going to get Italian in other cities (outside NYC), it just doesn’t measure up.

  3. BTB Says:

    You at CIM or Case? My buddy, Dylan Moffitt, was a world percussionist drummer at CIM – kid is crazy good at drums (world)

  4. T. Leo Says:

    No, I have the musical talent of a chair. I am almost ten years out of college, I went to the University of Dayton, one of the best moments being when Phish came through on the ’97 fall tour (to tie this all in to the actual post).

  5. guyforget Says:

    Anybody who is renting a car in Denver, I just got a rate from Payless Car Rental for $30/day flat fee, plus tax. my total is $162. that is a smoking deal. If anybody has a rental that is more expensive, i suggest checking this out. Go to their website and click the “specials” tab. it gives you a midsize, like a toyota camry or similar. Cheaper than the compact and economy.

  6. voopa Says:

    @ T Leo

    I know, it’s just hard to get past that lake fire…

    …and the Browns…

  7. halcyon Says:

    California is back on the map.

  8. voopa Says:

    “California is back on the map.”

    California ONLY! Finally!

  9. Lifeboy Says:

    wow, just checked it a few minutes ago and nothing had changed. cali stealing it from washington just like water. i sure hope there is a video feed. can’t wait for the gorge!

  10. Chalkdustin Says:

    CA here we come!!!!

  11. fromthetub Says:

    Whooohooooo!!! See you all here in CA!

  12. guyforget Says:

    Sweet. Nice 4 hour drive from Arizona! Most convenient festi for me ever and i’m from the east coast!!

  13. Cactus Says:

    Nice.. Congrats to all you west coasters. Y’all were right.

    I love the Rift ending that ended all the madness….It’s officially over and done with.

    I wish I was going back to Cali…like LL said.

  14. Bandnana Says:

    Thank god thats over, now start really planning.

  15. Chalkdustin Says:

    Now they’re going to zoom in on the state and do the same elimination bit to reveal the city in CA.

  16. sumodie Says:

    But there’s no details……..I sure hope those show up tomorrow!

    The game felt a little anticlimactic………..lol.

  17. george de la porge Says:

    achh…the beginning of that YEM is pretty rough, lets see how it finishes

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    What do you know? California? 😉

  19. josephus mac Says:

    @ guyforget
    What days did you book for? I keep getting n/a for wed-mon or thu-mon. 30/day is a smokin deal

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