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. Mike in Austin Says:

    I’m a drug noob. Never could hang with the hip druggies.

  2. bob dylan Says:

    Mia, you’re right. For example, 5th ave train stop has exits at 5th ave and 6th ave. the station attendant and ticket stations are at 5th ave do they red light the 6th ave station cause nobody is there to help you. So you walk to 5th but its still the same stop. Trains are about 10 cars long so they can go a full block.

  3. Mike in Austin Says:

    I’m a drug noob. Never could hang with the hip druggies stoner fucks.


  4. joe Says:

    I knew I was getting old and out of touch when I didn’t understand half of what was being sold on lot

  5. Mike in Austin Says:

    Bob, that makes sense. I guess I forget there are some stations that seem like they’re 3 blocks long or something.

    “Wait, the Canal Street Station is on 6th Ave?”

    “No, it’s on Canal and Broadway.”

    I think it’s a Centre wait … Lafayette”

  6. gavinsdad Says:

    @jtran left u a vmail hoss.

  7. Mike in Austin Says:

    In 2003 I was such a noob I didn’t know what Molly was.

    Mike: “What’s Molly”
    DreadRasta Korean from Aspen CO at Gorge: “Ecstasy”
    Mike “Oh, E. Adam. MDMA. Why Molly?”
    Rasta “Molecule”
    Mike “I think that is a stupid street name for a drug. Worse name than Horse. You kids just gotta try to remarket the same shit.”
    Rasta “Whatever.”
    Mike “I’ll take some of that please. Whatever you young kids call it. And a marijuana cigarette please…”

  8. garretc Says:


    I believe the proper nomenclature is:

    “jazz cigarette”

  9. BingosBrother Says:

    mia def has an onion on his belt.

  10. Selector J Says:

    You crazy kids (i.e. old coots).

    LLFAz all around.

  11. Mike in Austin Says:

    That was the fashion of the time

  12. Calpain Says:

    no onion on the belt….that’s a paddlin’

  13. Mike in Austin Says:

    Ventura Summer ’98 –

    MiA grooving to Bathtub Gin: “This is awesome! Woot!”
    Cool kid next to me “Wanna paper?”
    MiA “Hey what? sure you need a rolling paper? Here ya go. Take what you need.””
    Cool kid next to me “No dude. ‘cid. You wanna ‘cid. Acid. Paper.”
    MiA “Nah, I’m cool. I’ve got my boomers”
    Cool kid next to me “Hey. Kings, Queens, Heads of State?!”
    MiA “What the fuck are you talking about? If I wanted anything I would have bought it on the lot.”
    Cook kid “Chill man. Just helping.”
    MiA “Quit talking then. Wait. How much for a 10 strip?”
    Cool kid “A what?”

  14. gavinsdad Says:

    lulz @mia

  15. Mr. Palmer Says:

    sierra nevada- Torpedo Extra IPA….not a fan

  16. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Charlotte- Rock and Roll> Ghost…big fan

  17. voopa Says:

    Agreed on both counts Palmer, Torpedo is a bit strong. So is Charlotte RNR>Ghost, but in a good way.

  18. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Just bought a ticket for Kimock on 12/28 and took 12/29 off.


  19. DukeOfLizards Says:

    I can confirm that that K&F lineup is absolutely worth seeing.

  20. tela'smuff Says:

    does anybody know of a better source for 11/30/95 other than what’s on the spreadsheet?

  21. albert walker Says:

    So which one of you NY kids droppin that phishscale post show 29th?

    Do it up!!

  22. phoammhead Says:

    anybody else have trouble downloading Mike Gordon’s 3/20/2011 show from The Orange Peel in Asheville, NC as a FREE DOWNLOAD at LivePhish dot com?

    downloads the first track then craps out

  23. Jtran Says:


    Think I may get tickets too. Is that the kind of venue that’ll sell out, or could I make a gametime decision on it?

  24. Jtran Says:

    Have been wanting to see Kimock since plord schooled KP and I on him coming home from Blossom

  25. DukeOfLizards Says:


    I’ve never seen a show at the Hiro but I don’t think its all that big. It’s not the type of show that would sell out normally in NYC, but with the circus in town… Better safe than sorry, IMO.

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