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 probably should only sleep 5 hours. Went through 90% of college on about 4 hours a night. Now if I sleep for more than that, my back gets sore. Sucks getting old.

    What I should be doing is walking the dog more at 5 AM in the morning, instead of wanting to punch all the people on CNBC.

  2. JeffieM Says:

    In the course of my daily morning coffee and oat meal routine, I left the coffee pot in the sink. Thank Jah for the invention of the spring, or it would have been a hot mess, literally.

    I need coffee in the morning to make my coffee in the morning.

  3. poop goblin Says:

    You have U-Roy Dread in a Babylon SW?

    dusted off the old vinyl copy last night and was loving it

    really great album through and through

  4. marcoesq Says:

    morning joe: awfulness

  5. poop goblin Says:

    WTI Dec futures blowing out MIA

    palmer’s WNR gapping down hard

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    i haven’t heard that, poop

    but i can probably spin it on spotify right now

    thanks for the rec

  7. butter Says:

    my grandpa always used to say “people die in bed”

    and i’ve always taken that as there’s so much life to live, so i dont wast too much time sleeping

  8. DryIceFactory Says:


    not broke, just cashless. do you know how hard it is to find an ATM in the catskills when you’re a city boy like myself? been surfing lately bro? I was getting barreled off my tail halloween weekend.

  9. dorn76 Says:

    Anyone have experience with the wooden vapes that use a battery on the side to power up? Like this?

    Doing some early holiday shopping. Any recs would be appreciated.

  10. SillyWilly Says:

    doesn’t look like spotify has Dread in a Babylon,

    I guess I’ll listen to U-Roy meets King Tubby instead

  11. marcoesq Says:

    ah, gotcha @dryice

    and no, haven’t gotten wet since august. where you at again? I travel pretty hardcore throughout the fall and havent gotten to a beach since then

  12. Mike in Austin Says:

    AW, That USO trade was 180 degrees off. I needed to run that by you before I hit the buy button. Fuck the squid though. I don’t trust it.

  13. BingosBrother Says:

    That reminds me of part of a song I wrote butter.

    Old and in my sleep
    is the way I want it to be
    In a dream so deep
    I wouldn’t even know it was me

  14. DryIceFactory Says:

    I’m up in Boston but I do most of my surfing on Cape Cod (heaviest waves north of OBX, fact. Just dont tell anyone.) and MA South Shore, with the occasional strike to Maine, NH and the less crowded spots in Rhode Island.

  15. poop goblin Says:

    How bout big youth – screaming target SW?

    I’ll throw you a link later for that U Roy

    there’s a killer version of him toasting to the Have Mercy riddim that’s sick

  16. tela'smuff Says:

    @Silly – i put Dread In A Babylon up in my mediafire for ya. I had copied my vinyl a few years back. Sounds may need a boost, but it’ll do.

    @Dorn – i have used those wooden vape deals. kinda tough a first as far as getting a productive hit. but after some practice, it’s a nice little tool.

  17. Fly Says:

    I like that Bingos

    Mornin’ all, peacock routine today, then back to clandestine indulgence

    never got too crazy with the drugs, although I do remember a cocktail of whiskey, hash, and K getting me pretty wicked

    lots and lots of wild boozing stories, but we all have those


  18. poop goblin Says:

    Also Scratch Perry – The Return of Pipecock Jackson

    I know you’ve been digging through the scratch catalog but this one’s been getting tons of recent spins.

    Not only a classic title but an amazing album.. Recently pressed on a vinyl reissue I got that sounds great.

  19. BingosBrother Says:

    Found footage of AW’s wedding reception.

  20. EL Duderino Says:


  21. poop goblin Says:

    That video instantly captures why I hate both phishies and white people bingos. Totally fucked. FACT.

    I swear it’s so embarrassing I never watched the dance. If you offered me a free elbow of fresh OG and all I needed to do was bust the meatstick I swear I couldn’t. really have no idea how it goes. Not one move of it.

  22. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    @ Dude, Nope i played hard and was quite the recreational chemist.

    mostly a psychenaut though after I got through my years playing with purified/processed plant materials.

  23. SillyWilly Says:


    I’m not seeing it, but thanks for doing that!


    just started spinning Screaming Target, now

    loving it.
    thanks, man.

  24. EL Duderino Says:

    Face it dude… you’re white, from the suburbs, and like Phish.

  25. tela'smuff Says:

    mediafire link broken. try again.

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