The First “Four-Song Set” of Fall ’97

Fall '97 Advertisement

Fourteen years ago tonight, Phish stunned an undersized audience in West Valley, Utah, with their first four-song set of Fall ’97. Fans were left counting songs on one hand after the last notes of “Slave” crashed down, and what we had witnessed was the beginning of history. Phish went on to play several more four-song masterpieces that Fall and beyond, but with Utah’s second set—a frame that featured creative jamming on songs old and new, and the onset of several fall tour trends—the golden road of Fall ’97 was just getting started.

Following a truly stellar first set, the band came out to open the second with “Wolfman’s Brother.” The last we had heard from the song was the epic Great Went version and when the guys began taking this set-opener into uncharted waters, one couldn’t help but think back to the Limestone’s monster. Pushing far beyond the funk in consecutive renditions, this final stages of this jam sounded, momentarily, as if it might land in “Simple,” just as its predecessor, but the guys crafted a melodic bridge into “Piper” instead. This “Wolfman’s” jam was a significant signpost at the beginning of the road of Fall ’97, as its foray into a deeper, groove-based psychedelia began an evolution of “funk” jams from summer’s less refined pieces into the multi-faceted excursions that became a signature of the fall. Additionally, “Wolfman’s,” itself, would blossom into reliably exploratory vehicle by tour’s end.

The band had debuted “Piper” in Europe at the beginning of the summer and it quickly became a staple of setlists throughout the season. After the previous night’s “Mike’s Song” in Las Vegas sounded as though it might merge with the new school piece, Phish used it as the landing point of a more profound jam in “Wolfman’s Brother.” Still (most often) consisting of a drawn out intro and a raucous, though circular guitar peak, the band tore through a climactic version of greater magnitude than we had heard in the US that summer, and this proved to be the onset of another emerging beast. “Piper” dissolved into its kindred song, “Twist,” and it would be this jam in which Phish dove into the cosmos.

Fall '97 (C. Taylor Crothers)

Navigating the jam’s groovy textures and far beyond into original planes, Phish gradually worked their way into space.  As the band reached a wildly abstract soundscape, Trey tore into a soul-bearing guitar solo that spoke to a new stylistic paradigm—Fall ’97’s psychedelic spectrum was just beginning to develop. Staggering in both sound and scope, it felt as though the band had broke through a portal in space-time and Trey was offering universal information in a seething, six-string prophecy. Finding into a different dimension than many summer jams, this psychedelic abstraction foreshadowed a far more expansive style that would grace so many jams of fall. Dark though deeply spiritual, this version of “Twist” warmed the psyche of fans to centerpiece jams that would routinely transcend funk during Fall ‘97—a tour that gets too often pigeonholed as Dance Party-only.

Fall '97

And to resolve the creative madness that had ensued since Page’s opening notes of “Wolfman’s,” Phish dripped into a massive version of “Slave,” rounding out the four-song suite. More nuanced than the linear builds of many “Slaves,” this version concluded the set with exclamatory beauty and drama. Jams were huge on this night in Utah and fans were floored. It was only the second night of tour and it felt like Phish had elevated their game from an amazing summer with a deep and cohesive adventure into a parallel universe. The band’s four-song set in Salt Lake City— 14 years ago tonight—immediately raised the bar for Fall ‘97, and provided a starting point for so many of the tour’s iconic show to build from.


Jam of the Day:

Twist > Slave” 11.14.97 II

The second half of Utah’s early-Fall explosion.



The Mimi Fishman Foundation’s Online Charity Auction

The Mimi Fishman Foundation

The Mimi Fishman Foundation has launched a new charity auction that features many items including ticket packages to the end-of-year, sold-out Madison Square Garden shows. The online auction is currently live with the bidding period closing on Thursday, December 1st. Proceeds from this auction will benefit the Delta Gamma Center for Children With Visual Impairments, Phish’s WaterWheel Foundation, as well as the Vermont flood victims.

To view and/or bid on the auction, as well as read about the charities the auction supports, please visit the Mimi Fishman Foundation Auction Page.

In addition to the MSG ticket package, other items up for auction include:

  • Signed Summer Tour 2011 posters
  • Greek Theater Pollack Package: A numerically matching set of the three Pollock prints from the Greek Theater shows in 2010
  • A signed poster from the recent Phish Vermont benefit (9/14/11)

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846 Responses to “The First “Four-Song Set” of Fall ’97”

  1. Beantownboy Says:

    Big Up BB Massive!

    Hope everyone had a good weekend.

    Also, BIG thanks to Mr. C for the Garcia/Saunders mix.
    It is a thing of beauty.

    I’m only a few songs in and the “Just Kissed My Baby” funk jam already blew my mind.

  2. BingosBrother Says:

    You guys ever hear of White Denim? i’m blown away right now.

    White Denim is a four-piece rock band hailing from Austin, Texas. Their music draws influence from dub, psychedelic rock, blues,punk rock, progressive rock, soul, jazz, experimental rock with home-based recording and unusual song structures.

  3. EL Duderino Says:

    forgot about the Saints as well

  4. SillyWilly Says:

    Good morning, kids

    thanks a lot for the Garcia/Saunders stuff, Mr. C

    hope everyone is doing well

  5. BingosBrother Says:

    Been waiting for this band for a long time. Pretty sure Mitch is their drummer. I will pimp these fuckers all day long until I get an Amen!

  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I have just unearthed a long lost scroll from the Book of Phish. I hope to finish the translation later today or perhaps later this week to be able to share it with the phaithphul. from what I have discovered thus far, it is an account of the great migrations toward the circa cubiculum. there seems to be a parable or something too (which there always is with scripture, amiright?)

  7. SillyWilly Says:

    yesssss, typeIII

    Phish scriptures are my favorite.

  8. BingosBrother Says:

    so awesome and would rule.

  9. bob dylan Says:

    Well, it’s a sad day in my BB life. My job has taken all of our computers from our work stations so I’m no longer going to be able to post during the day.

    It was a great run and hopefully I’ll find a workaround or new job that facilitates my BB enjoyment.

    Cheers flegionaires.

  10. SillyWilly Says:

    damn, bob

    maybe you and your co-workers should unionize for computers at your work station?


  11. tela'smuff Says:

    @Bingos – i’ve heard of them and will seek them out based on your rec. thanks!

  12. SillyWilly Says:

    remember when I didn’t know that Pablo Moses’ A Song existed?

    yeah, that was a dark 24 years of life

  13. marcoesq Says:

    morning everyone. 4 song sets and 2.5hr shows!

  14. Jtran Says:

    Roger Waters tickets going on sale now FYI (some shows)

  15. Phamily Berzerker Says:


    You Got Mail. Let’s lock in it down.

    Out for a jog.



  16. Phuzzy Says:

    Back at work after Bear Creek. I’ve been to probably 20 festivals at the Spirit of the Suwanee site and this one was, by far, the best one I have attended. Trey’s show was great. MSMW was the bizness. Was hoping for some kind of collaboration from the two bands, but, nothing. Other highlights were: Rubblebucket, Marco Benevento Trio, MMW sans Sco, Soulive, Karl D covering Sticky Fingers album, New Mastersounds, Funky Meters, Galactic, Garage a Trois, as well as a handfull of local bands from FLA. Great weather, good tea, good herbs, no kids= Phuzzy having an amazing weekend! Don’t know if anyone else from this board made it, but, if they come up with a lineup like this again, especially w/ Trey, I would highly reccomend coming to this fest. There could not have been more than 7K-8K people there. Lots of room no matter where you were. Trey doing his thing underneath the natural live oak canopy on Saturday night was perfect. Even jaded non phish fans were bopping along. Trey was extra smily and jumpy. Sick Sand, Simple Twist up Dave and Mr. Completely. Real good Trey show. Trey talked more than I have ever heard him. Told two stories about meeting Tony and Russ 30 years ago. They wrote Sand together the first time they jammed together. Ok. I guess I should actually attempt to look like I’m working now. Take er easy dudes!

  17. Dr Pronoia Says:

    Kiddo passed me some nasty pink eye and chest cold combo. Been too zonked on sizzurp to check the BB for a while

    How was furthur and the new MSG?

  18. SillyWilly Says:

    sounds rough, Dr. P

    hope you’re feeling well.

    we missed ya last night. we could have used some psych insights no doubt.

  19. angryjoggerz Says:

    So. Jetlagged.

  20. kenny powers Says:

    “Me? Oh, no pink eye for me. No, I’m just rrreally hhhhiiiigh”.

  21. SillyWilly Says:

    you rock, AJ

    you ever read “You Shall Know Our Velocity” by Dave Eggers? really fun read about two friends flying around the world in a week handing out 100$ bills.

    the pace of the travel is pure Angry Joggerz.

  22. angryjoggerz Says:

    Sounds great, gotta check it out. I am in the US for a good 3.5 weeks then back to China, then home, to VA for holidays, train up to NYC for work and MSG, then home.

    Tired thinking about it.

  23. butter Says:

    morning guys

    kp my buddy told me Hampton is on, he’s a good source

    nobody wants to believe it now, since that kid stepped forward claiming he started the rumor — its working brilliantly as a detour

  24. BingosBrother Says:

    bd can’t post anymore cuz he’s the drummer for White Denim.

  25. SillyWilly Says:

    “we know time!”

    neal cassady/dean moriarty/angry joggerz

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