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

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/ph1997.11.28_d1t02_You_Enjoy_Myself.mp3]

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.

=====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

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. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah who’s going to step up and do the work? be a phishthoughts hero! you can do it! rah rah rah!

  2. KWL Says:

    off topic: there was discussion of headphones a while back. Can anyone recommend a good set of speakers for computer & mp3 player? Looking for good value rather than top of the line.

  3. cason Says:

    minor you and i had different impressions of this show.

    you can literally hear the excitement get sucked out of the crowd with the ghost opener. and then to follow it up with dogs, piper, and dirt was lamer than lame. and then throw in a mid second set first timer of velvet sea and i was super disappointed. except for the leroi moore sit in, which was cool to see though musically a joke, va beach 97 was the worst show i saw in 97.

    the band more than redeemed themselves over the next two nights as walnut creek and lakewood were some of the best shows i have ever seen.

    ghost 7.23.97 is still my favorite phish jam ever.

    end of rant.

  4. Dr SF Jones Says:

    The poster Dyda sent this to me back on March 25 (so I can’t take the credit at all) but this is a good start.

    4.1.86
    10.31.86
    3.12.88
    7.3.88
    11.30.90
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    3.14.93
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    7.31.93
    8.6.93
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    4.17.94
    5.28.94
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    10.29.94
    11.4.94
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    12.30.94
    6.9.95
    6.10.95
    6.15.95
    6.28.95
    6.29.95
    7.1.95
    10.13.95
    10.14.95
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    10.25.95
    11.11.95
    11.25.95
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    12.2.95
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    12.15.95
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    12.17.95
    12.29.95
    12.30.95
    7.11.96
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    7.23.96
    8.4.96
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    10.26.96
    10.29.96
    11.6.96
    11.30.96
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    12.29.96
    12.30.96
    2.17.97
    6.13.97
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    7.29.97
    7.30.97
    7.31.97
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    11.13.97
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    11.26.97
    11.28.97
    11.30.97
    12.6.97
    12.9.97
    12.11.97
    12.12.97
    12.13.97
    12.28.97
    6.30.98
    7.1.98
    7.9.98
    7.24.98
    8.3.98
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    10.15.98
    11.2.98
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    6.30.99
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    12.11.99
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    12.31.99
    5.21.00
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    6.9.00
    6.13.00
    6.16.00
    7.14.00
    9.11.00
    9.17.00
    9.24.00

  5. Pencilneck Says:

    whoah.

  6. bhizzle Says:

    first, ridiculous dates

    next, what’s this Duanne Betts talk all about? Dickey is coming to town Thursday. I am definitely checking him out but an older friend, who definitely digs the ABB is skeptical saying his shows are hit and miss. I trying to convince him to go and rock out. I’ve seen Betts & GS a few times now and haven’t been dissappointed.

  7. EL Duderino Says:

    Duanne Betts is Dickey’s son. The first time I’d seen Duanne Betts was in ’94 I think. His dad would bring him out for Same Thing. This went on for a couple of years. I’m a little skeptical like your friend, but I’ve heard nothing but great things these last two weeks about Dickey’s band and am very curious to find out if it’s really the HEAT.

  8. Chalkdustin Says:

    Phish album art! Woohoo!
    http://www.glidemagazine.com/hiddentrack/phish-release-album-art-for-joy/

  9. R1 Says:

    two great YEM’s from same tour: 11.13 and 11.17

  10. Comrade Says:

    Phish on Forbes

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/21/phish-widespread-panic-camp-bisco-opinions-contributors-grateful-dead.html

  11. Selector J Says:

    @cason: The energy was definitely odd during the first four songs– I wouldn’t say that it was “sucked out.” Yes, it got quiet but in a good way. Around me at least, no one had heard the new songs yet and were really intently listening and getting the feel for those alien sounds. The first set felt like it ended abruptly to me (probably because of having so few familiar tunes) but the ensuing set break was filled with chatter about those new tunes. And 2nd set was no slouch. I remember being really impressed with both the Bowie and the Theme. Maybe it was the worst show of ’97– I don’t know– but that’s still pretty good.

  12. Little Buddy Says:

    KWL –

    I bought some Bose computer speakers for $100 at Best Buy like 5 years ago and I absolutely love them. I plug my laptop or ipod into them and they sound great. Not sure what price range you are looking at but $100 was a steal for these.

  13. Walfredo Says:

    Cason-

    That summer 97 tour was off th e hook. I didn’t catch up with them until Shoreline when they were firing on all cylinders. I got the Virginia Beach show by tape XLII ahead of time- and enjoyed the new songs. I would say- that new songs as centerpieces for a show may not get the crowd’s immediate attention- but it was a great group of songs to debut- and showed just how vibrant Phish was at that time.

    That was my first run- 7/30, 7/31, 8/2, and 8/3 following the band from Ventura through the Gorge shows that summer. Got me completely hooked- all great shows. Hopefully can get some more magic outwest this summer/fall.

  14. voopa Says:

    3 great post ’95 Type II YEM’s come to mind: 7/31/97, 9/17/99, 10/10/99.

    I’ve got Summer Tour on the brain, and a week and half before the next reporting period, so I’ll gladly kill time here at work by compiling what shows have been posted here (the above list is a nice start- thanks Dyda and Dr. Jones!). Doubt I’ll finish it today, but we’ll see what happens.

  15. fat bastard Says:

    highlight for me in 97 was alpine valley- scent of a mule and crossroads to end 1st set. that place was bouncing like ive never seen before or since. i liked the new phunk sound but loved the viscious pace after all that space.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    I like the album art.

    An article like that Forbes one comes around every few years, remarking on the business model…

  17. fat bastard Says:

    if anyone has that alpine show, listen to that scent of a mule its top notch stuff.

  18. Jay Says:

    “Tickets were first available through Phish’s Web site, which reserved up to 50% of tickets for each show for the band to sell itself before making tickets available through Live Nation and Ticketmaster.”

    This is good to hear. Was worried that they did not have that kiund of deal with those ticket rackets.

  19. Walfredo Says:

    Voopa- that Shoreline set was off the chain 7/31. Anytime you had to break out the 100 minute XL II’s- you knew something was going down…. When that YEM started the place blissed out- and it was one of my fav YEM’s ever.

  20. notkuroda Says:

    I question the accuracy of that number

  21. Exree Hipp Says:

    I agree YEM feels fairly predictable lately but I’d say the 7/23/97 and 12/2/99 YEMs are great by any standard, and the IT YEM never ceases to rock me. I think that’s the best post-hiatus version I’ve heard. Trey’s tone on that one just rawks in a way he rarely does.

    @SFJones – is that a list of things you’d like to see archived? It is obviously missing the great live phish releases, so I assume that’s a list of unreleased gems (?), though it includes shows available on SBD, etc (and is missing 11/29/97)

  22. EL Duderino Says:

    It is true. I had the 100min Maxell XLII for that first set.

  23. Jay Says:

    “Phish’s entire summer tour–over 400,000 tickets–sold out in a matter of hours. That’s over $200 million in ticket revenue–for just three months of touring.”

    These stats are staggering.

  24. whole tour! Says:

    i always liked trey’s pre set two banter from bing 92: ‘help me im melting and i cant solidify’

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Texas Run ’97 is definitely worth owning

    Highlights”

    7-25 Set One Gin>Makisupa> Bag to close was tits out.
    7-25 Set Two ALL I was lucky enough to get to Spin DAUD1 of the Master DATs and enjoyed that I ran the GHost out on Side One so I could auto-reverse, nearly seemlessly.

    7-26
    Set One LxL, Stash and YEM>Izzabella to close with a willie teh pimp tease at least the Jean Luc Ponty’s violin line. Sun was setting. good Times!

    Set Two
    Timber & Bowie. That blister in the Sun verse/tease which lead ultimately into Free ruined the bliss potential of that Hood. The set fizzled and they really pushed hard to make up in the encore.

    The Arizona Antelope is highly underrated in the annals, though at the time it got worthy kudos amongst aficionados at the time.

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