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. Mitch Says:

    the mango call is for the gorge. I saw Trey the other day and mentioned team mango will be at the gorge for those of you who remember my shirts. That’s why I’m hoping. 😉 a dude can dream. I didn’t ask him to play it because I didn’t wanna be that guy. I’m hoping he picked up on it.

    As far as pirate bay goes, I remember when they got caught and have been wondering how they are back up. I’ve been reluctant to join since.

  2. Mitch Says:

    I think miner is right. “technology generally works.” it’s the stupid end users that can’t use it or break it. We have a term in the tech industry “pebkac” problem exhists between keyboard and chair.

  3. Leo Weaver Says:

    Definitely Sand at RR…sure wish they’d give me one at the gorge…along with Mango, Lizards, and a BIG ghost…

    @mitch…that’s cool about your buddy – they put on an impressive show that night, I’ll never forget it…tell him good job and thx (made a nice impromptu wine-soaked date with my now-wife)

    @shafty…nice call with the harpua>ocelot (jammed out, right?)>harpua. and yeah, cortona=tuscany, on the backside of the mtns from umbria…and cortona (Mr. Tonino’s) wine = consistently the best red wine I’ve ever imbibed over a 3-month period…my lips were purple all fucking summer…oh, and ain’t much to orvieto but the church is stunning

  4. Mitch Says:

    I have two of the cheap seats (really good location for that price range) for Trey and NYC philharmonic.

    tickets at facemelt dot net

  5. nonoyolker Says:

    @ Mitch – Mango/Gorge call, hope you get it man! I’m thinking a four night run in a venue like RR will see a few nice bust outs. Tracks like Mango, Llama, Sloth, Funky Bitch, etc have to get dusted off sooner or later. You legit “saw” Trey the other day? Awesome man.

    I heard Pirate Bay was a semi-shady organization, but i didn’t actually use it til this week. Grabbing vid footage of 12/29/97 was too tempting. Told some budies and they let me know it got busted already this year. Prolly not going to use it again.

  6. Corey Says:

    @Leo Weaver —

    I leave for Rome (Viterbo is the final destination) tomorrow night.
    My wife is performng in the Tuscia Opera Festival, a 6week long program.
    I am planning on seeing a few colleagues, namely Jerry Bergonzi at the Jazz Festival that’s happening around town.

    Do you know of any “hangs” I should check out in Rome?

    I’ll fly back to Beantown on 8/3 then it’s off to San Francisco on 8/4 for Round II. Can’t wait, but I hope my time n Italy goes reallll…..sllllowww.

    Oh, regarding the 1997 Tourtalk: I did the entre summer tour…3 1/2 weeks and 13,000 miles or so. It was my first and only complete tour.
    It was solo all the way. What a great time. My hottest memory was driving from Austin (“hey, there are trees in the field!?!”) to Phoenix in 100+ degree heat in my ’87 Dodge Grand Caravan. I had no functioning air conditioning, no cruise control, and the heat had to stay on full blast for most of the travel. I’ve never driven so close to naked before or since. What a journey.

    Oh, the Phish was pretty amazing too. If any of you are Bostonians, you can check out Bob Gulloti on drums with The Fringe EVERY Monday night at the Lily Pad. He sat in for those 2 shows in TX that summer.

    Leroi Moore, though I never dug his sound, was fun to watch on 7/21.
    7/22 was wet, really wet.
    Since someone just posted a giant list of dates, I won’t write anymore.

    Anyone else do that whole tour? The drive from WA to Chicago was quite a journey (went to Chitown to see girlfriend before MO show.
    I must be up for punishment b/c I’m doing it again this year.
    Anyone else driving from the Gorge to the IL show?

  7. Mitch Says:

    Legit saw him. He’s really nice but I always feel like I’m bothering him. As long as you aren’t asking stupid stuff and are just talking he’s always seemed like he didn’t mind.

  8. Mugician Says:

    Man I’d love to meet him. Hey, is there any OTHER way to download that Phish Destroys America collection? It’s taking for-goddamn-ever.

  9. T. Leo Says:

    I live in Cleveland, and being so close to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, I did a quick search on Phish and the rock hall to see when they might be eligible. I came across a site that said that they would be eligible in 2013 but had space for comments afterwords. I noticed that most of the posts were incredibly unintelligent, but it got me thinking: Is Phish a first ballot Rock & Roll Hall of Fame entry?

    I know we all probably think they should be in the rock hall, but really what is their impact on music in general? I really think that their impact is bigger than the average fan knows. That coupled with the number of years that they have been a top touring act makes them a really good candidate. However, with as little bias as possible, I would really like to see everyone else’s opinions.

  10. Mitch Says:

    Not to Jack your thread cause I’d like to hear peoples comments too but has anyone done the John Lennon in NYC exhibit at the NYC rock and roll annex? Supposed to be cool but I haven’t made it there yet.

  11. Mugician Says:

    I’ve got a Shoreline lawn for $40… devon . dejohn @ gmail . com

  12. T. Leo Says:

    You know, I guess I really started thinking of this because I am listening to 12/31/94 and they have the hotdog, fries and shake in the main entryway at the Hock and Roll Hall of Fame.

  13. T. Leo Says:

    ^^I meant “Rock” and Roll Hall of Fame. Although, we like pork a lot too in Cleveland.

  14. hairy pood Says:

    take the bus to the “Piramides” stop in Rome at night. Follow the throngs of people to a badass outdoor party

  15. BrandonKayda Says:

    Forbin’s in Red Rocks. Mark my words. Harpua>Ocelot opener would make the tour for me. Nice call.

    (Beating a dead horse here)

    If anybody is selling Merriweather’s for face, shoot me an email at bkayda@gmail.com. Please and thank you. Much appreciated.

    I’m going to post that in every topic until I get some emails/tickets 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    This Ghost is FUNKY. Once again, good choice Miner.

  16. T. Leo Says:

    By the way Miner, what happened to your ticket stub? Have you been using it for an oven mitt?

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    @nono – re: the Fillmore thing – yes there was apparently a longer version that was maybe a theatrical or broadcast release? I’m not clear on the details, IMDB might know…but some of the reviews of that DVD mentioned that it was missing some songs compared to some other previous version…

    @mitch, LOL @ “pebcak issues” – a constant source of amusement/annoyance at my work as well. such a great phrase.

    @T. Leo – unfortunately R&R Hall of Fame is a little short on credibility so Phish might get overlooked on the first ballot, but I think they obviously deserve it based on influence, fanbase, longevity, independence, and musical evolution over time.

    I think their best bet is based on the fact that the Hall really likes inducting bands that have lots of rabid fans with $$$ to spend and everyone in the biznis these days knows that Phish fans are a gold mine.

  18. BTB Says:

    T. Leo, where you live in Cleveland? I’m in Cleveland Heights, “the peoples republic of Cleveland heights”

    I would go with Hall & Oates over Phish, they just had IT…

  19. T. Leo Says:

    LOL BTB,

    They definitely had the private eyes watching their every move.

    I am right down the street in University Heights. I am a Cedar Lee regular, love me some Colony. Did you hear they are opening a Melt on Cedar and Taylor? I don’t think I’ll ever get thin if that happens

  20. Cactus Says:

    That 7-21 show was off the hook. It was my little brothers first show. He was 15. Hooked for life after that shit that went down…maybe it was the USA chant, or maybe the ginseng, or maybe the Ghost, or maybe the Bathtub, or maybe the loving cup….all of the above.

    One of the best shows I ever saw was that summer opener.

    Great write up miner, once again. The funk was in your face that whole tour after the opener.

  21. T. Leo Says:

    just out of curiosity, Completely, why do you think the Rock Hall is short on credibility? They seem to honor all across the board from what I have seen. The few times (and I men few) I have been to the actual museum, they have had some really nice exhibits on up-and-comers. I know there are other museums trying to steal the spotlight, but I think the Rock Hall does a great job of honoring anyone who has had an influence on Rock and Roll, but that is my biased opinion.

  22. voopa Says:

    …because it’s in Cleveland?

  23. Leo Weaver Says:

    @corey…shoot me an email cannondawg at gmail dot com…I’ll give you a short list of things to check out (inside and out of Roma…lots of great easy short day trips from there)

    @mitch…my sister and mom went a couple of weeks ago…both thought it was GREAT…I’m gonna check it out when I’m up there later this year.

  24. Cactus Says:

    On a side note about teaching children music early….

    I’ve recently been teaching my 1 1/2 year old Halley’s Comet…and he gets it…he starts with..Ba-ba-chooo, ba-ba-ba choo, ba….then I come in with the Haaaaley’s , then he comes in with’ Comet.

    I have to say it’s his favorite tune right now. He also knows numbers in spanish and english up to ten….cinco is his favorite in spanish. Gotta start them early.

  25. BTB Says:

    Oh no, the Cleveland jokes have started! Ha, I know all the good ones, I live there!

    Nice on the Halley’s Cactus, that definitely is a childish song if you think about it “I love meatballs and you better get ready!”

    T. LEO, Nice, the Melt is a classic. What, I lived in Little Italy for a year (last year) and I loved it, except it runs into the ghetto by E. 120th. My car got stolen and my car was robbed prior.

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