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. EL Duderino Says:

    blue sky and hippies Kaveh

  2. kenny powers Says:


  3. voopa Says:


  4. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Honey Badger Don’t Care!

  5. tela'smuff Says:

    @kaya – l lost interest in Mike’s deal after he made me sit through Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmm.


  6. kayatosh Says:

    honey badger doesn’t give a shit.

  7. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    asked earlier with no response: anyone have a rec for an equalizer/preamp program for mac? free is best but not necessarily necessary

  8. kayatosh Says:

    “The honey badger is really pretty badass. They have no regard for any other animal whatsoever.”

  9. Guyute711 Says:

    but Hey Ya is ok tela’s?

  10. snowbank Says:

    Thanks for the Movin’ On Project Mr C. I’m stoked.

    ::Vibes:: for PhamB

    baker open thursday or Friday. Time to put summer tour on ice. Well hopefully powder. Though Ice Dance to Phish is uncharted territory.

    Hell ::Vibes:: for the whole BB crew while I drive by…

  11. tela'smuff Says:

    no, i am holding out hope TAB will become the TAB of old. although they can still bring it. Hey Ya is an abomination. also not a fan of Clint Eastwood. i could go just to see Case Of ICe and Snow, which is a masterpiece from Trey imo.

    Mike’s original band/tour with the tap dancers and Gordon Stone, that sht was pretty damn good.

  12. kayatosh Says:

    I think I’m ready for a snakehead kiss. Wtf, you only live once.

  13. Guyute711 Says:

    Keep holding out hope brother, in the mean time enjoy ooh child.

  14. DukeOfLizards Says:

    The band knows that they will be playing to a room filled with (mostly) people who will enjoy a good performance.

    Like Miner said, beyond that, I don’t think they give very many fucks about what each end-user is ultimately paying.

  15. Jtran Says:

    Help me out here peeps. Found an ad on CL (not my local) for NYE and 30th tickets. Guy somehow chooses/responds to me to buy the tix. I offered face + fees for all of them. He gave me a call this afternoon and we talked for 18 minutes…he sounds like a good dude/not a scalper, but he 1. doesn’t have paypal and 2. won’t accept me writing and sending him a check

    He said tickets are through his dad who works for Upstaging ( I believe), so they’re shipping on/around 12/7.

    He is/wnats to sell me 3 tix to the 30th and 3 to NYE at face. He also told me he’d ship 2 to the 28th for me to sell for him and get him back the money..if I couldn’t do it he said to miracle them.

    After talking he was adament about sending payment via Western Union since he sold his brothers ticket at some point and the check he was sent didn’t clear. We did agree that I could send 1/2 the payment now via Western U and the other 1/2 by check once I get the tickets.

    He’s in SC, wants the money to go to his coworkers account with a FL address. He is originally from Chicago, as is his friend. Dad’s business is still in Illinois (confirmed on website what he told me).

    Sketchiness factor 1-10? He wants me to send the money today as there are a couple more people that will send it today and apparently aren’t as hesitant as me. I stalled him saying I got busy at work and couldn’t do it this second.


  16. Mike in Austin Says:

    Sketchiness = 10

  17. Guyute711 Says:

    abort, abort, abort!!!!!

  18. Mr. Palmer Says:

    “He’s in SC, wants the money to go to his coworkers account with a FL address.”

    ^ huh? wtf is that? color me skeptical.

  19. Jtran Says:

    Yea, that’s a weird part. Quoted:

    XXX sw prado ave port st lucie fl 34983
    st lucie fl 34983
    but the money is being sent to greenville, sc 29609. Thats just his id. Know it by heart… been buds since grade school in chicago.

  20. kayatosh Says:

    2.19.2011 TAb – The Way I feel. must be heard for the $$$ trey work.

  21. Beantownboy Says:

    @ JTran

    Sorry to say, but if it sounds like a trap, looks like a trap, then it is a trap.

    Craigslist turned sketchy years ago and I only do transactions in-person from that site.

    Basically, the only site you can trust for mail transactions is the BB and that’s only with an established “regular”.

  22. kayatosh Says:


  23. kayatosh Says:

    sketched to the max

  24. tela'smuff Says:

    Bail Now @jtran

  25. Jtran Says:

    Thanks guys, thought it, just wanted to hear it from other people. Makes it easier to let this deal “go” (not that it ever was a deal, probably…)

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