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. kayatosh Says:

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

    I might consider it, if I knew what you were talkin about.

  2. Mr. Palmer Says:

    how much were tickets Duke?

  3. bob dylan Says:

    Jtran, what venue? May wanna secure a ticket anyway cause Phish kids like post shows and there’s no book signing on the 28th…

  4. gavinsdad Says:

    we saw kimock at bb’s post the dec 09 run and got in ok. cant vouch for hiro.

    Bisco post show on 28 too. mmmmmmolly.

  5. Jtran Says:

    Hiro Ballroom/Auditorium/somehing

  6. bob dylan Says:

    Hiro is SMALL. Id have made the text small to be dramatic but can’t.

    Really swanky tho. Nice insides but pricey drinks.

  7. DukeOfLizards Says:

    $25 plus fees.

  8. gavinsdad Says:

    ^good show too. someone school me but Kimock had somebodys son (his?) on drums…was about 18 years old and KILLING.

  9. bob dylan Says:

    It’s attached to the maritime hotel*

    *where I wanna stay on 12.31

  10. butter Says:

    oh shit we’ll have to have a group intervention if anyone drops the fishscale

  11. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Yah @gdad, when I saw this lineup a couple of weeks ago Kimock’s kid sat in for most of the show on a second trap kit.

  12. bob dylan Says:

    Maybe the band will cover ghostface and do fishscale > ghost

    Id rather see the place electric than sniffy/yappy

  13. albert walker Says:

    Sobriety is lame butter

    This time its gonna be different

    I’m only breaking my sobriety for the straight freeze yo!

  14. bob dylan Says:

    ^miners band, well, the one he has playing the after party

  15. albert walker Says:

    You wouldn’t be yappy on the scale bobby d

    You’d be stuck

  16. bob dylan Says:

    Note to self: don’t ride with AW to Harlem of invited

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:


  18. bob dylan Says:


  19. kayatosh Says:

    love when the BB goes right over my head.

    hot MMW show and basstastic recording:

  20. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Bob- what did you do to my HD last time to correct it? Its doing the same thing again. Thanks.

  21. Tom Says:

    Any word if there will be an 18+ option for the book signing?

  22. Mike in Austin Says:

    Are we still talking about marijuana?

  23. Mike in Austin Says:

    Are we still talking about marijuana? jazz cigarettes?

  24. bob dylan Says:

    Fishscale + jazz cigg = primo

    Palmer, clicked my heels 3 times and knocked on wood.

    Go to your prefs in your torrent and make sure it’s pointing to the right drive.

  25. dorn76 Says:

    @gdad you had electronik mail from me earlier.

    Out of sheer laziness I’ve taken to putting the ondemand jazz station on during dinner… actually a decent mix, some great charlie parker and older stuff. TV’s off so we usually have no idea what’s playing, unless we recognize it.

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