Hartford Fall 97 was my first show, which I attended because Billy Breathes seemed like a rad album. I didn't understand what this Phish was all about; the Hartford show seemed like one weird Jam. I immediately got the tapes in the mail and listened to those every night until this Providence show the following spring. My parents probably thought I was nuts.
My dad made the 90 min drive from CT to drop us off at the show-- me and a few friends who were also recently into Phish. Now, I'd seen a handful of real concerts by this point (Steve Miller, Deep Purple, Neil Young) but I knew Phish was different. My fondest memory of this show was Trey pumping his fist after Taste-- clearly getting off on the tension/release jam he had just led. I felt like Trey had connected with all of us, which blew me away; this place was full of people! Did everyone else just feel that too?
The monster jams mostly went over my head, but once again I mailed away for the tapes...and realized, even then, that this show was a monster. To this day, it is the benchmark against which I judge every show I attend or hear. It was my soundtrack for my junior year of high school. It made me love music. And I've never heard anything quite so good.