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Link Sunday, 02/23/1997
Fillmore, Cortemaggiore, Italy

Set 1: Carini, Axilla > ATRAll Things Reconsidered, SlothThe Sloth, Love Me, Rift > Fluffhead, Frankenstein, BowieDavid Bowie

Set 2: Daniel Saw the Stone > SuzySuzy Greenberg > Maze, HorseThe Horse > SilentSilent in the Morning > PeachesPeaches en Regalia > Mike'sMike's Song > Why Don't We Do It in the Road? > HYHUHold Your Head Up, GTBTGood Times Bad Times

Encore: Billy Breathes > Rocky Top

Teases:
· Tweezer Reprise tease in Good Times Bad Times

Noteworthy Jams: Suzy Greenberg, Maze, Mike's Song

Average Song Gap: 28.62

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon

Notes: Carini started off as a pre-recorded tape playing through the P.A. system. Phish took the stage and picked up the song from where it was on the tape and continued to play. This show also featured the first Daniel Saw the Stone since August 28, 1993 (288 shows) and the first Why Don’t We Do It since June 25, 1995 (144 shows). GTBT contained a Tweezer Reprise tease.

Song Distribution:
5 Rift
2 Junta
1 Billy Breathes
1 Stash
1 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "1997 Winter European Tour."

, attached to 1997-02-23 Permalink
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

Even months before the tour started I was worried about Cortemaggiore. Getting around Europe is so easy, the rail system goes to every major city and the train stations are always centrally located. However, Cortemaggiore is not a major city. Unlike every other stop on the spring tour there is no rail station in Cortemaggiore and it isn’t located on any maps available to your average American tourist.
It wasn’t until we actually were on tour when we got the details. The closest train station was in Piacenza, about fifteen miles away, and there were buses that went back and forth to Cortemaggiore. However, the show was on a Sunday, and there were rumors that the buses weren’t going to be running. No problem, many people (including those working for Phish) suggested that the promoter was going to charter some buses to haul all the fans on tour. Other fans were talking about renting a car/van and charging people for rides (a.k.a. “Antelope Express”).
We decided to “wing it” as we had been doing all along on tour and went straight to Piacenza by rail. The promoter didn’t have buses waiting for us, and the public buses weren’t running on Sunday, but there were several taxis at the train station that were eager to take us to Cortemaggiore. When we arrived, we discovered that Cortemaggiore was a tiny town of a few thousand with one hotel (seven rooms total), two cafes, one pizzeria, a movie theater (which doubled as the venue), three churches, and two restaurants. One was about thirty feet from the door to the venue, the other was closed on Sunday. You could walk in a circle around the whole town in about fifteen minutes.
We got to the venue just after the band had finished soundcheck. We heard from others who had watched the soundcheck through the open door that the band had performed a long version of a brand-new song that had only had been played once, in the middle of “Down with Disease” the previous week in Amsterdam. It was later named “Carini Had a Lumpy Head” at the 2/28/97 Berlin show. Someone mentioned that immediately afterward they saw Trey sitting at the console mixing the soundcheck, which was playing back over the PA, a highly unusual event that we soon forgot about.
After a lazy afternoon playing Frisbee in the park, we went to the restaurant next to the venue to have dinner, along with seemingly every other American on tour. I had the urge to wash my hands, so I went off in search of the bathroom. The restaurant wasn’t very large and was completely filled with Americans going to the show. There was a banquet room off to the side connected by a short hallway. The bathrooms were also off the little hallway so on the way to the bathroom I peeked into the banquet room where the whole Phish crew was having dinner. By this point I was frustrated with trying to find the correct bathroom in each country, and this restaurant didn’t have the international symbols printed on the doors. One bathroom door was held open so I assumed it was the men’s room and besides, I was only washing my hands. So I went in and started washing my hands when someone came out of the one stall. I turned my head around and sure enough, it was Trey. We quickly exchanged the standard automatic greetings (“How’s it going…Fine and you, etc.”) and he left to have his dinner. Immediately afterwards an American woman strolled in and exclaimed “What are you doing in the ladies room?”
The venue itself was a movie theater, but the chairs had been removed from the floor in front of the stage. The floor was tri-level and Paul Languedoc’s mix position was at the front of the middle section so anyone standing even with or behind the board was well above the heads of everyone in front of the board. The third tier was a cafe/bar setup with tables from which you could watch the show. There was a balcony hanging over the cafe section but it was closed off. I would estimate somewhere between 750 and 1,000 people were there.
Pre-show all the tapers were buzzing. It appeared that a Walkman-sized DAT recorder was attached to the soundboard and everyone wanted to know who was lucky enough to get a patch from Paul. We soon found out what was really happening. Just before the lights went out, Chris Kuroda went to the tapers' section and said, “Now would be a good time to start your decks!” Shortly thereafter the lights dimmed, the intermission music faded out, Paul pushed “Play” on the Walkman DAT hooked up to board, and out of the PA came a portion of the “Carini Had a Lumpy Head” the band had recorded and mixed down during soundcheck! The band came out on stage and got into position while the soundcheck was playing and on cue launched into a red-hot version of the song using the prerecorded portion as an intro!
The show was amazing and for the second set Fish wore his dress the only time for the whole tour. After the show there was an Italian bootlegger with a table set up right in front of the crew’s tour bus selling bootleg T-shirts and other items with the Phish logo. He literally had his back against the bus! Needless to say, sales were not brisk that night for him. The band had made arrangements for a bus to take everyone back to Piacenza because the town of Cortemaggiore did not want the Phish-heads hanging out all night waiting for the public shuttle to start again in the morning. All in all, with the size and intimacy of the town, the mood of the other fans, and the intensity of the show, it was one of the best overall Phish concert experiences I think I will ever have!
Score: 10
n00b100 , attached to 1997-02-23 Permalink
n00b100 Phish small-venue shows are often worth seeking out, as the band tends to take a different path with both their setlists (packed with more rarities as there are no expectations to their song choices) and their jamming style (more detailed and considered). One such fine example of that form is this show, played during the first (!) of two (!!) European jaunts in 1997; yes, the 3/1 and 2/17 (maybe also 2/26) shows are stronger, but this is certainly not a show to be missed, possessing both an atypical setlist and some pretty sweet jams.

Set 1 alternates between a run of rare songs (the last All Things Reconsidered, The Sloth, a hilarious performance of Love Me) and some darn fine Set 1 jams, including a red-hot Carini with a very cool gimmick of the band picking up from a pre-taped soundcheck performance, a well-played Fluffhead, and a Bowie that immediately turns into a Page and Trey duet showcase, then starts gathering up tension in the time-honored Bowie style before nicely peaking and serving as a strong closer to the set. Set 2 might look a tad pedestrian, but still makes for an enjoyable listen in the grand '97 style. Daniel Saw The Stone, another fun rarity, kicks things off, leading to a nice and funky Suzy Greenberg that actually has a cool, atypical jam between verses. This leads to Maze (always fun when Bowie and Maze show up in the same set), and it's a typically strong, energetic Maze, which manages to reach an even more white-knuckle peak than the first-set Bowie did.

Horsilent and an always welcome Peaches comes next, then a rare by-its-lonesome Mike's Song (which is enough to give the set a listen to by itself), which starts with Trey getting wild and crazy with his effects and leads into a shimmering, powerful jam in the grand tradition of late-90s Mike's Songs before mellowing out after the usual Mike's Song transition and entering a very chill, Page-driven jam space, which is not really the sort of jam you would expect from Mike's Song unless it's being played in a small venue. Fish plays a relaxed, jazzy beat, and Trey's solos are more contemplative and gentle than ferocious; it's almost as though the band is trying to reach their typical late-90s ambiance, but aren't quite ready to get their yet, which takes nothing away from how cool and unusual this jam is. And then, just for the hell of it, Fish steps up to the mic and warbles out the last ever Why Don't We Do It In The Road?, a hilarious capper on what was a very cool jam. The rest of the show is standard encore stuff. Give this one a listen - it's a charming listen, and the Mike's Song is really cool and worth seeking out.
Score: 2
Babyrattlesnakes , attached to 1997-02-23 Permalink
Babyrattlesnakes I dig this show. A fun setlist with a few very memorable build-ups, and one absolutely perfect gem of a jam. The Carini opener bodes well, and while there are a few hesitant moments in set one (listen to this ATR and you'll understand why they shelved it; also, Rift suffers from some out-of-sync playing), it's overall a fun, rocking small-hall affair. Fluffhead and Bowie, in particular, get the job done.

Set two provides the real meat. The bustout of Daniel Saw the Stone is followed by a Suzy with a little extra funk (hints of Summer/Fall?), a Maze that's well above par (Page's solos are particularly fine), Peaches is always welcome, and then Mike's Song. If you haven't heard this Mike's Song yet, I feel you need to. Is this the "second jam" that folks are always yammering about? I'd say it qualifies. At the point in the song where the band would normally slip into Hydrogen or Simple, they instead veer off into a seriously beautiful and calming six minutes of improvisational bliss . "Ethereal" is the best word I can muster to describe it. With the listener's guard now completely lowered, they thump into WDWDIITR, with Trey celebrating "the rebirth of Henrietta" after the song's conclusion. Top it off with a gorgeous Billy Breathes encore, and this one's a keeper.
Score: 0
zsmith0307 , attached to 1997-02-23 Permalink
Finally, Phish switches up the setlist from the fairly mundane tunes that had permeated the previous 10 days' shows and play some rarer and older-school tunes.

The question is, does the playing measure up? I would emphatically say yes. No jam segment matches 2/17 set II, but there are a lot of solid highlights.

The Carini in the first set, as others have noted, is a major highlight and an interesting version.

Set Two is solid all the way through. Daniel of course is a fun bustout. Suzy gets very funky. It's so fun to listen to this tour and hear the band slowly develop the style that would make later tours legendary. Maze is above average, and I love the "serene" jam that comes out of Mike's Song.

Get this show!

4/5
Score: 0

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