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)

Tags: , ,

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

  1. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Widespread Panic is trying out the paperless tickets for their Wood Tour.

    Not sure how this can work. Seems like a pain in the ass. I , for one, would not like this.

    Here is the press release:

    Tickets will be available on-line at, at The venue Box Office, and by phone. There will be NO OUTLET SALES for these shows. Each venue Box Office location and phone numbers are posted on the Tour Dates page. Tickets-for-Charity will also have a limited number available for each venue.

    Tickets MUST be purchased by CREDIT CARD. There are NO CASH SALES. You will NOT receive hard printed tickets in advance.

    You will need your ID and CREDIT CARD USED FOR PURCHASE at the entrance each night to gain admission to the venue.

    You MUST arrive at the entrance to each show with your entire party (this includes you and all tickets associated with your order – up to 4 total) for everyone to be granted admission at once.

    There will be NO EXCEPTIONS to this process of ticketing these shows. Check this Q & A section out for more information about Paperless Ticketing. Paperless Ticketing Q & A

    Showtimes are 8:00PM. Doors will open early at 6:00PM each night to allow proper time for everyone to gain entry by show-time.

    There is a strict 4 ticket limit per purchase.

  2. garretc Says:

    It’s cool Silly, I wasn’t really in a headspace to make even quarter way decent conversation that set break… Haha. Me and my friends were too busy being amazed at how many voices we could hear simultaneously.

    That and watching the cops on the parking garage watching us. That was pretty funny

  3. Guyute711 Says:

    Can Phish just put barcodes on us already? I don’t want to wait in lines anymore.

  4. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Kimock is playing on 12/28 after Phish.

  5. voopa Says:

    Man, I remember what a pain it was ordering will call tix for Vegas ’03 and ’04…well ordering wasn’t so bad, quite convenient actually. Making sure I had the right card on me to pick up the tix day of show was an unneeded hassle.

  6. WolfmansFather Says:

    $219 is a steal to get into Phish’s biggest show of the year..and only their huge shows are priced that high. Try going to an NFC/AFC championship playoff game, a round of 32 US Open match, a first round of the Masters or shit, any night to see the Book of Mormon.

  7. WolfmansFather Says:

    * for that price

  8. tela'smuff Says:

    Phish Fan Club microchip implants. Count me in

    Guyute – San Diego still scares me. They can put up big numbers.

  9. SillyWilly Says:

    right on, garretc

    those cops were pretty funny

    such a weird, weird venue

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ok, this is just too cool to not share

  11. garretc Says:

    “such a weird, weird venue”

    It really was… We got trapped in various dead ends trying to find a rear escape route after the show, which is bizarre since the venue was like, 300 ft x 300 ft, if that…

  12. bob dylan Says:

    Man, feel so out of the loop. Can’t check news sites or read BB (my main news source)

    So occupy wall st got kicked out by bloomberg?? Judge says that’s not legal. Now what? Does bloomberg have to buy them all new tents? 99% getting fudged again.

  13. bob dylan Says:

    P.s. miner, was just showing what other bands are doing. Us 99% of ticketless fans want reform.

    Doesnt matter if the band doesn’t care, I still do.

  14. gavinsdad Says:

    nice to see the Pence drive-by. og BB’er

  15. Mike in Austin Says:

    I was wondering what calendar day it would be before a “bomb threat” required evacuation.

  16. Guyute711 Says:

    Ugh, the Chargers are terrible. They were absolutely manhandled by the Raiders. Yeah the fucking Raiders, pfft. Their wins are over….Minnesota, KC, Denver, and Miami. That is garbage right there.

  17. Jtran Says:

    Silly qustion?: Do subways run 24 hours a day in NYC?

  18. MrCompletely Says:

    that Kimock lineup with Bernie Worrell (!!!!!) is intriguing to say the least

    Steve is really good when he has a good lineup around him

  19. garretc Says:

    “Do subways run 24 hours a day in NYC?”

    I think no

  20. DukeOfLizards Says:


    Yes, but trains run less often and local-only late night.

  21. voopa Says:

    Jtran, I assumed yes, confirmed by teh googlez:

    “The New York City Subway operates around the clock, about every 4 min during rush hours (06:30-09:30 and 15:30-20:00) and every 20 min after midnight.”

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    agreed C… Duke just caught that lineup at the BK Bowl a week ago and said it was great.

  23. bob dylan Says:

    “city that never sleeps”

  24. bob dylan Says:

    ^had a free ticket to that kimmock show and didn’t go. Pfft

  25. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    “city that never sleeps”*

    *but does occasionally pass out for short periods in a drunken stupor

Leave a Reply