Ten Tunes For Friday: Summer ’97


Summer 1997 (S.Nissman)

With summer on our minds this week with the announcement of Summer 20011 Leg I, this Friday we focus on Summer tour from fourteen years ago—1997. Phish had just returned from Europe, where they funked out every song imaginable, beginning to hone their new playing style. When the pulled into Virginia Beach on July 21 to kick off their US tour, they were a well-oiled groove machine that was ready for business. Here are some of my favorites selections from a transformative summer tour that criss-crossed the nation.


Down with Disease > Mike’s > Simple” 7.22

One of the most adventurous jam sequences of the summer from Walnut Creek, with, arguably, the best segue ever executed in band history.



Run Like An Antelope” 7.29 II

A fierce rendition from Desert Sky in Phoenix.



Cities > GTBT”  8.10 II

The Cornfields

My favorite jam of the summer when tour ended, and still right up there with the best of the best of Summer ’97.



Gumbo” 8.13 I

This is, perhaps, the most liquid “Gumbo” ever played, including some of the danciest music of the summer and a legitimate nod to “Franklin’s Tower” towards the end of the jam. My personal favorite, I don’t think any version even approaches this one.



Harry Hood > jam” 8.14 II

Darien Lake

This version from Darien Lake gets my vote for the “Hood” of Summer ’97—and there were more than a few gems. And that is not even considering the sublime jam that oozed from the song’s peak; some of the most intricate interplay you’ll ever hear.



Wolfman’s > Simple 8.16 II

One of the defining jam sequences of the Great Went.



Tweezer” 8.17 I

One of only two “Tweezers” in a massive US tour (the other came at The Gorge), this version dropped on the final day of tour in the Great Went’s afternoon set.

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/ph1997-08-17d1t08.mp3] Tags: ,

855 Responses to “Ten Tunes For Friday: Summer ’97”

  1. kayatosh Says:

    spinnin 2.20 jibboo now to see if i missing anything.

  2. sumodie Says:

    @aw: actually I agree with much of what you said in your longer retort to neemor’s post (I know, I find agreement on both sides of the acoustic fence, such is me)

    Trey acoustic is rare enough that I’m willing to grant him the space to do something outside his comfort zone, even when it’s not always well played. He’s obviously put some thought into making the acoustic sets different – I can’t say if he should have practiced even more beforehand (I’m neither a musician nor do I know how much work Trey is really putting into his music). The acoustic portion has been good enough for the two shows I caught, while also unfortunately taking away precious electric time where the band could relax a bit and improvise….

    Hearing a phish song stripped down to its bare acoustic structure helps to illuminate the basic beauty of the tune -that’s very cool. But the real surprise this tour has been when different TAB members come out and play with Trey -a whole acoustic set mixed up like that would’ve really been something refreshing

    In the end, though, I’ll always prefer 2 sets of electric TAB oozing with jam.

    For now I’m willing to accept where Trey’s at, but in the back of my mind I am curious as to what Trey really wants going forward…..?

  3. DavidSilver Says:

    maybe keys with a sick drum machine? Dude of Life rapping? andrea dancing in the background?

  4. EL Duderino Says:

    now, if he’s gonna do this, maybe show us what’s going on in his head instead of Phish classics

  5. kayatosh Says:

    oh it’s from the heart. however, he’s seemingly uninterested in blowing minds with his acoustic finger magic. fairly straightforward. the nuance is in the tone and the right hand.

  6. EL Duderino Says:

    “the nuance is in the tone and the right hand.”-kaya

    TMI dude! 😉

  7. sumodie Says:

    as usual the convo marches on while I organize and post my thoughts, grr….

    @voopa: if it’s just a matter of a few clicks to re-seed Trey Bonnaroo, I’d gladly take whatever source you’ve got

  8. butterflyeffect Says:

    The important thing to remember is that Trey wrote the progressions and tab (heh) for these Phish songs to be played on a Languedoc. Now, when working it out, he used an acoustic, as a lot of musicians do. So Trey is having fun going back to the nascent state. These are not songs that were originally meant to be performed on acoustic; a lot of them are very complex and no one in their right mind would plan to perform them on an acoustic guitar.

    This is what is happening. Add the fact that Trey is not known for his vocals, and you have an endeavor of relatively mediocre musical quality. Is it musically way better than most people could perform? Yes. Is it anywhere near Trey on his Doc? No.

    So, we can have fun with it (I did), but be displeased with it musically. Is Trey a fundamentally bad acoustic guitar player? I don’t think so. He’s not a virtuoso, certainly, but most importantly these songs were obviously created for electric guitar. Pretty straightforward in my humble opinion.

  9. EL Duderino Says:

    That Bonaroo Show is available on the ‘noid in pro-shot dvd format fwiw

  10. kayatosh Says:

    2.20 jibboo is $$. but I feel like the jam is wearing a pocket protector. pocket gets established, trey works some shred w/in the pocket, horns lay down there riffage. song over; everybody stays safe. lacking in the risk factor. The excitement of the possibility of the train going off the tracks is just not there.

  11. EL Duderino Says:


    I get all that, but the music coming from the instrument still needs to be relevant, and this is not IMO. I get the effort in transforming these tunes from embryos as CAl stated to it’s mature Adult Red-Wood or what have you. But this isn’t a song writing work-shop at a Bluegrass Festival. The Neil thing is not working for him. He took Neil’s advice in ’99 about plain’ the piano and that didn’t turn out too well IMO either. Not ripping/hating on you just feel real strong about this

  12. EL Duderino Says:

    @ kaya

    As much as I got tired of the 45 minute Mr. Completely back in ’02 -’03, now I’m longing for it

  13. butterflyeffect Says:


    I agree with you. I was simply clarifying my remarks about Trey’s playing, in that I do not think he is a bad acoustic guitar player; rather that he is battling against the complexity of the songs, his exposed vocals, and perhaps a lack of rigor.

  14. albert walker Says:


    I thought you weren’t quite as annoyed as I am by it. just wanted to get a perspective from someone like you or Kaya that caught it and wasn’t put off by it

  15. albert walker Says:

    by the way Charlie Sheen ripping on AA = $$$$$$

    couldn’t agree more. every minute of those meetings I spent during my 28 day stints made me fucking crazy

  16. EL Duderino Says:

    New Alpine Valley ’96 source up @ BT fwiw

    I hope it’s an upgrade to the B&K

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    ” agreed he doesn’t suck on acoustic palmer. just not the proper setting for him.”

    ^^ this i agree with 100%. If you want to play acoustic, you need to do it in a more intimate setting. One where people can actually hear you. Play at the Bottom Line or some tiny place like that.

    Cramming 3k drunk dopes into a club in nyc or philly and expecting anything groundbreaking or moving is nonsense.

  18. EL Duderino Says:

    Charlie needs to figure out that he can’t party like this anymore… I hope it happens I’m a fan of him and his show.

  19. EL Duderino Says:

    more of the Symphony setting

  20. poop goblin Says:

    but as I’ve stated several times to many. the acoustic set is what it is and is what I expected. maybe a little rougher and less put together but close to what I imagined.

    the shock to me is I thought the 1 set would make the electric set shine with some high energy jams and more guitar heroics

    instead we get the adult contemporary lead vocalist band leader Trey with the horns just simple riffing all night long with not much improvisational interplay at all

    both shows I caught last year had way hotter shit

    the Spin from Wisconsin was sick. huge Sand in Chicago and that Love is Freedom jam from out east was great.

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    the electric set is the bigger let down ‘cuz there needed to be more up lifting if you get my drift

  22. EL Duderino Says:

    reminds me of the disappointment of the 70 Volt Parade band… all those great musicians and just not doin’ it.

  23. EL Duderino Says:

    I like the re-arrangement of the horn lines tho’… sounds tighter than the ’01-’04 years

  24. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Not a lot of improv in set II, I agree. But i wasn’t really expecting there to be too much either. Being in the room i felt there was some exploration in Jibboo, Ocelot, and Sand. Nothing groundbreaking, but wasn’t expecting TAB to be.

    In the past TAB was more exploratory. No doubt. I don’t need groundbreaking improv and exploratory jamming to enjoy my evening though. Shit, I don’t get out all that much w/ kids and shit. I’ll be damned if i’m gonna let some red headed freak ruin my night because he played an acoustic guitar or didn’t extend Sand an additional 4 minutes… I was still dancing my ass off.

  25. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Duder- how about a knicks/bulls playoff series? That would be fun.

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