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Link Sunday, 11/30/1997
Worcester Centrum Centre, Worcester, MA

Set 1: Guyute, Funky Bitch[1], Wolfman'sWolfman's Brother[2] -> Love Me, CoilThe Squirming Coil, Loving Cup

Set 2: NICU, Stash[1] -> Free > Jam -> Piper > CircusWhen the Circus Comes, AntelopeRun Like an Antelope

Encore: Them Changes[3]

[1] Unfinished.
[2] Heavy metal style jam.
[3] Phish debut.

· Heartbreaker, Sanity, and Esther teases in Wolfman's Brother

Noteworthy Jams: Funky Bitch, Wolfman's Brother (highly recommended), Stash, Free, Jam

Average Song Gap: 8.15

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

Notes: Funky Bitch and Stash were unfinished. Wolfman’s included a heavy metal style jam, with a Heartbreaker tease from Mike, and Trey quoting the lyrics to Sanity and Esther. Them Changes made its Phish debut at this show.

Song Distribution:
2 Lawn Boy
1 Farmhouse
1 The Story of the Ghost
1 Billy Breathes
1 Stash
1 Hoist
1 A Picture of Nectar
1 The White Tape

Songs by Debut Year:

This show was part of the "1997 Fall Tour (a.k.a. Phish Destroys America)."

waxbanks , attached to 1997-11-30 Permalink
waxbanks The kids make noise for the Wolfman's Brother jam, and it was indeed a thing to see, but the final ten minutes are just about insufferable on tape. Oh well: the twenty minutes preceding the lights-out rock riffing are majestic Fall '97 Wolfman's Bro material, and the 15-minute Funky Bitch lead-in is even better - stiff competition with 11/22/94 for best-ever status if you ask me. Page takes out some weird sexual anxieties on the keyboards, it seems; Trey tears a hole in the Centrum roof; and the outro is gorgeous wedding-reception stuff. And you've gotta love that a quartet capable of doing those terrifying math-nerdy things with their instruments can still belt out the final cadence of Love Me like every middle-aged barroom dude band in America.

The second set might not be better but it does go deep: the dark-as-the-ocean-floor Stash > Free > Piper run can stand with the rest of the winding segue sequences of Fall. 11/28 circulates as a tasty SBD and 11/29 has the once-in-your-touring-lifetime Jim Symphony, but this is the strongest Worcester show of the run. It's hard to avoid hyperbole when talking about Fall '97; it was just that deep, varied, and exciting. This isn't the marquee show of tour but it's bold material from the middle of a three-week-long minor miracle.
Score: 13
n00b100 Staff , attached to 1997-11-30 Permalink
n00b100 This is the sort of setlist that would cause cardiac arrest if it were played today, which makes me wonder why there isn't more talk about this show - especially considering it's part of the mighty Fall 97 jaunt. I've listened to it before without much opinion on it, but it's really started growing on me recently (especially with the discovery of Stash -> Free in SBD form). Let's see how it stacks up in this finest of finest hours for the band.

The first set starts with Guyute, which is Guyute, then rolls into Funky Bitch, which (rather than end in normal fashion) slides into a typical Fall 97 groove, Mike really leading this jam by the hand, and then goes upbeat and melodic (again thanks to Mike) and builds up to a beautiful finish before hitting a dead stop. It's a Funky Bitch definitely worth hearing, and without pause the band rolls into Wolfman's. Trey's soloing is dirty and nasty from the start, and the band explores that space before (again!) going upbeat and melodic, the resulting jam something you might hear in 3.0 (which is meant as a compliment, duh). The band floats on a cloud for a few minutes, playing one of their most gorgeous jams ever (seriously, it's remarkable stuff) before, much like the 11/19/97 version, Trey grabs the jam by the neck and yanks it in another direction. At least here it's not quite as jarring - there's a full five minutes of Trey soloing before they make the switch - but then they go into the heavy metal jam, which is neat for a minute or two, and then keeps on going...and keeps on going...and keeps on going...and then they're playing Love Me and you're jolted awake. If ever you needed a reason why jam length ain't be all end all, it's this jam - a truly amazing 20 minute jam, but a reasonably good 30 minute jam when you consider a full third of it is hot garbage. The rest of the set is fine, but goddamn, two jams of that high a caliber (mostly) in Set 1 should be heard as soon as you can.

The second set starts brightly with NICU, then comes a second-set Stash (I do miss second-set Stashes), which luxuriates in the usual Stash jam for a fair bit before sliding into a relaxed funky groove (reminiscent of the 11/17 Tweezer), Mike once again taking the lead as Trey works his wah wah and Page plays some droning notes. It's a weird alternate-universe Stash, where the band would use the jam to kick back and relax instead of tunnel into the earth, and as the jam dies away Free emerges, and this Free *also* has its own super-chill funk jam, Trey playing chords instead of soloing away, the band totally in tune with each other. They go into the usual Free ending, and then fall into a lovely ambient jam, a little slice of what awaited the fans at Lemonwheel nine months later, Page taking the lead as he so often does in these ambient excursions, before a beautiful segue into Piper. Piper hadn't gotten its sea legs as a jam vehicle yet, so this is a typical slow-build old-ending Piper. Circus and Antelope close out the set, and the one and only Them Changes they ever played serves as a fine encore.

I don't think you can really call this a best of tour contender (you probably could if you snipped that 10 minutes off Wolfman's), but there is a host of beautiful jams, a massive helping of funkiness (easily one of the funkier shows of the tour), and some A+ segues throughout. Drop this show in many other tours, and its praises would be sung to the heavens. As it stands, it's just another reason why Fall 97 is the tour to beat.
Score: 4
GVOldTimer , attached to 1997-11-30 Permalink
GVOldTimer Guyute opener was totally sick at the time....this was before they decided to play the shit out of it. But in the mid 90s Guyute was special.
Score: 3
TwiceBitten , attached to 1997-11-30 Permalink
TwiceBitten I'd like to chime in to say that "insufferable" and "hot garbage" are not the words I would use to describe the "heavy metal record stuck on a loop" jam in Wolfman's. I don't think we should encourage inquisitive young fans to ignore this jam. Phish is a band that is truly committed to being weird and we should applaud them for it. If you can get yourself in the right mind state when listening to this jam and imagine this happening to you live, during the third song of the first set, you'll have better results. This kind of contextual listening is one of the most rewarding things about being a fan of the band. Once you've been to a handful of shows you can listen to any show and put yourself in the building when you blast the tape in the right setting.

This show is such an odd duck and I count it among the most special gigs the band has ever played. Stash -> Free -> Jam is some of my favorite music from the whole tour
Score: 1

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