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. phoammhead Says:


    didn’t you and silly get scammed on CL last year for halloween?

    only do in person transactions on craigslist

    deal sounds too good to be true

  2. dorn76 Says:

    Total scam. The more intricate the story, the more suspicious I become.

  3. Jtran Says:

    Trusting people too easily


    Oh well, no harm no foul

  4. tela'smuff Says:

    move to Ohio for a week @jtran. that’ll fix that trusting to easy problem right quick. of course excluding Luther T and BTB.

  5. alf Says:

    western union = scam

  6. Beantownboy Says:

    Basically, if you have the faith to mail someone a check for 1/2 of the amount then they should be willing to do business with you as you’re taking the risk. If not, then it’s a scam.

  7. kayatosh Says:

    the big package makes it super suspicious. 1/2 price for those tix is a nice haul for a zero cost, zero risk scam.

  8. phoammhead Says:

    the kicker was “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.”

    i don’t believe anybody who has tickets that is planning to deliver them agrees to this

    he just wants your money, some money, any amount of money and the faster the better

    @jtran well done . . . this was well played proving it is a scam

  9. Calpain Says:

    Jtran- all I have to say is where is @AdmiralAkbar when you need ’em.

    Mr. C- your project looks really cool, can’t wait to dig in

  10. Kaveh Says:

    blue sky and hippies Kaveh

    ^NICE…business as usual I see @ElDude. Also your Bears are starting to make people nervous; heck of a game on Sunday. I didn’t catch it…up that is a solid division win; much like the pounding the Packers gave to the Queens last night. 🙂

  11. butter Says:

    friend in Brooklyn offered to share her sitter for the nights i need.

    i’m stoked

  12. phoammhead Says:

    ^butter dialing it in . . . nice!

  13. angryjoggerz Says:

    Phish will release The White Tape and Party Time on vinyl as part of Record Store Day’s “Black Friday” on November 23rd. Both albums will be available exclusively at participating independently owned record stores across the country.

    The White Tape (180g white vinyl) and Party Time (2-LP 180g vinyl) were first released on vinyl this past summer at Super Ball IX. Both LPs will be available in stores only beginning November 23rd, 2011.

  14. Pence Says:

    Anyone have an extra 12-30 and or 12-31?
    email me:

  15. Guyute711 Says:

    I have extra tix to all 4 nights. Send me all the money from your bank account and I will get your address later to send them out. 🙂

  16. Kaveh Says:

    @Miner: So much Stash talk recently: so I’m spinning 11.14.95 monster version.

  17. tela'smuff Says:

    i’m all over that @AJ. i’ll be in line by 4AM like i was for RSD.

    so, i was doing some analysis of the NFC North, and we’re looking at an interesting 2nd half.

    Green Bay has a 9-0 record, but only 3 of those wins are against teams with winning records, New Orleans, Bears, and Atlanta. Besides that, they beat Carolina, Denver, St. Louis, MN, and SD. SD being the only decent team with a losing record. MOST interesting is GB plays DET twice, the Giants, Oakland, and ends the season vs. the Bears.

    DET has GB twice, New Orleans, and Oakland as far as teams with winning records. 3 of those very well could be losses. Also tack on San Diego.

    The Bears only have 2 wins over teams with winning records, ATL and DET, but only have two teams left on the schedule with winning records. OAK and GB. Add in a tough SD team, and then the rest. KC, DEN, SEA, and MN.

    overall, in the next month the NFC North could look very different and the Bears are hitting their stride at the right time. San Diego could be the wild card in this between DET and the Bears.

  18. garretc Says:

    re: Tahoe, from a few pages back


    Ah, no way? Hell, I probably even saw you in there then, ships in the night, I guess…


    It’s probably better you didn’t go say hey, cause I wasn’t at night two. As I continued accumulating night one tickets I just kept adding more friends to the trip instead of flipping for night twos… If it actually happened night one, then you should definitely feel guilty, but night two you’re off the hook!

    And, on an unrelated (to Tahoe) note, voopa beat me to the vibes joke, but I’ll still make it anyways:


  19. Guyute711 Says:

    San Diego is not even a wild card team and will not be the wild card in the Bears v Lions battle. The bolts may lose out.

  20. Mike in Austin Says:

    Spotify has The Who Quadrophenia “Super Deluxe” 4CD which includes a bunch of demo versions and additional tracks that didn’t make the final 2 LP set.

    The “Drowned” is quite different but great.

  21. kenny powers Says:

    speaking of Luther T, where is he?

    just got this email from Phish:

    iriusXM To Broadcast Hampton/Winston-Salem ’97

    SiriusXM Satellite radio’s Jam_ON channel will broadcast Phish’s upcoming Hampton/Winston-Salem ’97 release, with audio commentary from Phish Archivist, Kevin Shapiro, beginning Wednesday, November 23rd at 2AM and 9PM daily, through November 28th.

    SiriusXM will broadcast one full show per night (11/21/97, 11/22/97 and 11/23/97) over Thanksgiving Weekend, before it’s released to the public. For more information, please visit

  22. BingosBrother Says:

    Some dudes were just playing Auld Lang Syne on bagpipes outside. Have fun you stoner fucks!

  23. SillyWilly Says:

    Dang, garretc

    then it must have been Night 1.

    my bad either way.

    hope to catch up this summer…looking to make an extended west coast run…hopefully (am I saying this?) I’ll be unemployed and able to see a lot of shows.

  24. Mike in Austin Says:

    Commencing AC 2001.

  25. SillyWilly Says:

    yeah, don’t get dinged like we did for AC, jtran

    of course, that situation was my fault, but don’t do it!

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