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. EL Duderino Says:

    Miner talked about the GCH earlier this week. They’re posting all the ’91 sources up @ bt.etree in lossless format for some of you that didn’t know. JFYI.

  2. KWL Says:

    Thanks Little Buddy. $100 is about my upper limit, I’ll check those out.

  3. T. Leo Says:


    I also have the Bose Companion 2 Series II computer speakers, I absolutely love them as well. I paid about $100 for them at Best Buy as well. I see them on amazon for $80.00, I’d jump at it.


    For what it is worth, the Bose Sound Dock Portable, is worth every penny of it’s price. I used Credit Card points to purchase one for my wife, but ended up hijacking and taking it to the few Phish shows I went to on the first leg. Man that thing can put out the sound.

    On that note: For anyone who stayed at Sleepy Bear 2 at Deer Creek, I am really sorry if my loud music kept you up till 6:00 am.

  4. sumodie Says:

    @ Comrade: thanks for the forbes link -good article.

    Love this comparison:

    “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. And it’s not so far behind mainstream pop’s biggest star, Britney Spears, who sold 614,949 concert tickets in the first half of 2009”

  5. T. Leo Says:

    Does anyone remember the Pharmers Almanac? My most recent volume is vol. II which ended with the ’95 or ’96 setlists. I know you can get all this info from Phish.Net and ZZYZX, but I’d like to have a hard copy of the updated information. Is that what is in the Phish Companion?

  6. KWL Says:

    word T Leo thanks for the link.

  7. Mr.Miner Says:

    “Miner posted all of Phish’s performances at Red Rocks throughout the years a few months back so if you can figure out a way to search on this site you should be able to find the show you are looking for here.”

    ^^ for now, using the search window with MM.DD.YY / YYYY will bring you to posts that contain that date. Sometimes it will be contained in text though…bottom line- I need an archive…

  8. Mr.Miner Says:

    ive got a thurs night red rocks for your spac pavilion

  9. Jay Says:

    Phish Companion only goes up to 2000 I think.

  10. Frankie Says:

    Wow! Cool cover art! Kinda look like what i saw last saturday during my laser eye surgery…

    I really hope they release it on vinyl too, would love to have a Phish LP…

  11. T. Leo Says:

    Thanks Jay

  12. msbjivein Says:

    Phish companion doesn’t have any record of Curtis Lowe in it at all. WTF?
    I know it was played in the early days. Anyone know why they don’t have anything on it??

  13. notkuroda Says:

    My Phish companion does

  14. msbjivein Says:

    WTF!! I’ve looked through mine more than once and can’t find anything. Where in the companion?????

  15. Frankie Says:

    I always liked the Pharmers Almanac too but it also only goes until the Island Tour… is there a hard copy that covers everything up to Coventry?

  16. T. Leo Says:

    Yeah Frankie, that would be nice to have. I have a hard cover copy of DeadBase that I bought about 15 years ago. It looks like a text book. I use it all the time. Especially when someone gives me a show with no track names and/or wrong date played.

  17. Pence Says:

    Here is the companion on google. I just remember when stealing time from the faulty plan was played first I searched it and found this link


  18. msbjivein Says:

    I’ve looked all through my companion looking for the last time they played Curtis Lowe. Couldn’t find shit. It’s not on PT either.

  19. whole tour! Says:

    my pharmers almanac from 97 is still kickin’….i had to tape the spine, but still kickin!

  20. whole tour! Says:

    last curtis:

    12.29.99 cypress soundcheck

  21. notkuroda Says:

    msb- this is going to sound stupid but are you looking under B for Ballad of Curtis Lowe or T for The Ballad…?

  22. msbjivein Says:

    When was the last time Curtis Lowe was played?????

  23. whole tour! Says:

    before that… colorado 93!

  24. msbjivein Says:

    Nither!!! Just Curtis Lowe. DAmn that’s the problem! Thanks dude.

  25. Jay Says:

    curtis lowe in 93 right?

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