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”

Tags: ,

269 Responses to “When The Funk Came Home”

  1. msbjivein Says:

    DUDE Jason SMART is the shit!!!! Love that dude. Always has some halarious faces while he’s funkin it up!

  2. msbjivein Says:

    I’m a drummer. And anyone influenced by Johnny Vidachovich is my influence also. Smart,Russo,Stanton,Dietch all are my influences on drums. I saw Smart & Reed w/ Marco’s trio this past Spring. SICK SHIT!

  3. Frankie Says:

    Don’t want to hijack the thread anymore with the Fred but have you heard their 4 Improvisations For The Ghosts bonus record?

    Don’t know if it’s up on their site but this is to me JFJO at their very best and really great improvised music, if it’s anybody’s thing… 😉

  4. Jay Says:

    I heard that Roundabout from the duo. Awesome shit.

  5. Frankie Says:

    No way! Oh man i got to get down to Jazz fest one year… 🙂

    Did you see Garage A Benevento also?

    At Berkfest ’03, i had the chance to see JFJO w/Bob Gulloti sitting in on drums for a few songs… a highlight of my music-seeing career for sure and it’s not just the brownies talking… 🙂

  6. msbjivein Says:

    I’ve been to Jazz for the past 9yrs!! I’ll never miss it!! Haven’t heard anyone mention Berkfest in a while. I went to one a while back. Saw Lettuce for the first time there. WOW! Also Topaz for the first time and Garaj Mahal I think it was 2000.

  7. Frankie Says:

    2003 was the last one because i think they had trouble with the promoter… the partial lineup was Duo, The Slip, JFJO, Kaki King, Flaming Lips, MMW, STS9, Warren Haynes, The New Deal and Greyboy Allstars, etc… just nuts!

  8. voopa Says:

    SBD of 4/15/92 posted today at bt.etree.org.

  9. Leo Weaver Says:

    with all this talk of others (perc/drummers more specifically) and the mention of europe in Miner’s article (esp. Paradiso poster photo), I recall my summer of ’98…saw Phish in Barcelona, WSP at Paradiso, Ben Harper in Rome…but the best of the bunch was a night at the Umbria Jazz Fest in Italy…caught Steve Winwood with Tito Puente (yes, in a tux) and Arturo Sandoval…in a small piazza in Cortona with about 200-300 other folks. HOLY SHIT WHAT A SHOW!

    Moral of the story…if you’re ever in central italy during this time of year (mid-late July as I recall), plan to catch a show or two at this great fest (it’s spread out over several small towns in the region).

  10. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Less than one week until I head to CO for a very special extended weekend with the missus. I am taking a newbie, former neighbor of mine in on Saturday. He lives in CO and got the hall pass. He has enjoyed them listening wise for 10 years.

    I am moist with anticipation.

    Red Rocks bust out call: Magilla or Walk the Line

  11. Bapslap Says:

    My band had the pleasure of opening up for JFJO a few years ago. A great thrill as I was a big fan of JFJO at that time. Reed and Jason are really great guys. Brian was a dick.

    I appreciate their new configuration, just not that into it.

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Bap said:
    “Reed and Jason are really great guys. Brian was a dick. ”

    this proves you actually did meet them

    “I appreciate their new configuration, just not that into it.”

    agreed, from what I’ve downloaded

    Reed = a beast

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah and Phamily – I finally just got confirmation that an old close friend is coming to the Gorge – he has been to just 1 phish show and it was with people who weren’t into it and dragged him down. So practically speaking it’ll be his first. Also went with him to his first Dead shows, etc. Really very exciting! I’m SO looking forward to it!

  14. Frankie Says:

    Me too, i don’t find myself listening to the new Fred lineup that much… i like the sound of the slide though but it feels more like the Brian Haas band than anything… Josh Raymer is a sick drummer though, up there with Joe Russo, Jason Smart and Andrew Barr for sure…

  15. notkuroda Says:

    If you get a magilla at red rocks I may kill myself.
    1) Red Rocks is my favorite venue, still hurts not to go
    2) 16 years-No Magilla

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    funny what you guys wrote about the BR duo and their reaction to Phish fan expectations…it sounds exactly like MMW circa 1996-7 or so.

  17. Mitch Says:

    Haven’t caught up to all the comments yet but I have the latest Phish Companion that goes up to vegas 04. Its kinda cool to have different copies because they have different reviews.

    I have ghost on vinyl. Good stuff.

  18. msbjivein Says:

    If you get a Forbins>Mockingbird @ The Gorge I may kill myself also. Been seeing Phish since ’97 and no Forbins>Mockingbird for me. I think they’ve only played it once since “97?????………..

  19. msbjivein Says:

    Looks like they’ve played it twice since ’97 8-7-98 & 9-30-00.

  20. msbjivein Says:

    Unless you were seeing the boys pre ’94 your chances of seeing a Forbins>Mockingbird were very slim. 3x’94 3x’95 2x’96 Apparently in ’97 at the Merry Prankster show they did a Col Forbins w/ out a Mockingbird.

  21. Mitch Says:

    As far as calling songs goes… I call Mango Song at the Gorge. Mark my words. I’ll explain after they play it, I just want it documented.

    In other news, Did anyone catch JFJO in NYC the other night? I ended up missing it.

  22. voopa Says:

    9/30/00 shouldn’t even count, it was botched so badly…likewise that Esther. My last Forbin’s Bird was 8/7/96 Red Rocks. That one was ugly too.

  23. Bapslap Says:


    I didn’t realize Brian’s temperament was common knowledge. I was quite surprised when I saw it first hand. What set him off was that the house Rhodes wasn’t to his liking. He threw a fit like I have never seen before in a professional music setting. Screaming, throwing stuff….and he DEMANDED a better Rhodes be found and rented. It was a Sunday in Northampton, MA and the venue/JFJO mgmt. went through extremes to find want he wanted. It was embarrassing, but they did sound great that night.

  24. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah walnut creek right? the lucid dream jello zipline narration? funny stuff

    enjoying Phish Destroys America. It’s so different from the ’95 Miners Picks stuff I’ve been listening to…

  25. msbjivein Says:

    I just want to hear it and get it over w/. That was one of the songs along YEM that really got me into Phish when I started listening in ’94 as a a youngin. Ever since my first show I’ve been saying Forbins>Mockingbird. I’ve heard some really good versions (5-17-92) and I’ve heard some not so good.

Leave a Reply