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Link Wednesday, 12/03/1997
CoreStates Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA

Set 1: PYITEPunch You In the Eye > My Soul, Drowned, Old Home PlaceThe Old Home Place, Gumbo > 2001Also Sprach Zarathustra > YEMYou Enjoy Myself

Set 2: BowieDavid Bowie[1] -> Possum > Jam -> CaspianPrince Caspian > Frankenstein > HoodHarry Hood

Encore: Crossroads

[1] Simpsons signal. Unfinished.

Teases:
· Couldn't Stand the Weather jam in Drowned
· Take Me Out to the Ballgame and Baby Elephant Walk teases in David Bowie
· Super Bad tease in Also Sprach Zarathustra
· Charge! tease

Noteworthy Jams: Drowned, Gumbo, David Bowie, Jam, Prince Caspian

Average Song Gap: 9.5

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

Notes: Drowned included a Couldn’t Stand the Weather jam. 2001 contained Super Bad teases from Trey. Bowie was preceded by a Charge! tease, included Take Me Out to the Ballgame and Baby Elephant Walk teases, a Simpsons signal, and was unfinished.

Song Distribution:
2 Stash
2 Junta
1 Billy Breathes
1 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday
1 The White Tape

Songs by Debut Year:

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

, attached to 1997-12-03 Permalink
(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

The previous night had a smoking second set, so the bar was high for night two. This show is a stellar performance. I had a good seat: a few rows from the floor, even with Kuroda on Page's side. I had used my previous night's ticket stub to get down to the lower level instead of my nosebleed seat. “PYITE” and “My Soul” were a good team for a high-energy opener, but “Drowned” is where I first got excited. Any music fan worth his salt knows that Quadrophenia kicks the crap out of Tommy. “Drowned” is one of the best songs off this album and has the best jam potential, as Phish demonstrated. An absolutely awesome jammed-out “Gumbo” came up soon after, similar to the 11/26/97 version. This segued nicely into “Also Sprach Zarathustra”. Now, this song is really cool and funky on its own merits, but it's also a chance for Chris Kuroda to solo. If you hear “2001” at an outdoor venue, it's just not nearly as good.
On this night, Chris blew everybody away. I love to hear this song indoors; the only thing that could have made it better would have been a straight-on view of the stage. A fairly straightforward “YEM” ended the set. An incredible “David Bowie” led off Set II. This version of “Bowie” is totally different then previous ones in Philly (12/15/95, 12/29/96, and 12/10/97). If this isn't proof of the band checking out old setlists before the show, I don't know what is. It clocks in at around twenty-eight minutes and it flew by for me, always an indication of a good jam. A raging “Possum” follows, and then the real highlight for me, the start/stop funk jam. This was utter musical euphoria. Especially during the first build-up, when they all started hitting the crescendo, Page did the build on the organ, and it all cuts out and the spotlight hits Trey. Wow. Unbelievable. Still probably the best moment for me at any concert. The end of the set was good, the “Harry Hood” was fun, but the real magic was in the first forty-five minutes. A rare Clapton cover (“Crossroads”) for an encore topped off the night.
Score: 3
PeopleforaClearerPhish , attached to 1997-12-03 Permalink
In all, this is my show. The One. I do love it so.

The Drowned on 12/3 is top 5 Phish jams ever for me. If the regular '97 funk (if one can even say those words convincingly) is like mid-tempo dance music, a la Mushroom Jazz, then the Drowned funk here pushes past groovy house into something more akin to breakbeat. No, not in a strict tempo-equivalent way, but y'know, by 'analogy'...yeah, it's deep. *grin*

It is the most frenetic, quick funk improv in the canon, while never losing its soft touch or getting ahead of itself. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The 2001 is short....BUT, not short like post-hiatus 2001s, which are short because the band just isn't selling the song anymore. Rather this one is short because there's a fine YEM to come and, almost as if they realized that they shouldn't have tried to squeeze it in but simultaneously wish they had time to give it they HEAT it deserved, Trey (with Mike jumping in to help with the most perfect expression of his underwaterenvelopefilter tone in my memory banks) manages to crystalize the essence of the tour's groove into one single lick -- just one lick, repeated just the minimum number of times so that that they can move on to YEM while knowing that asses were properly moved...

Yes, the lick. You'll know it when you hear it.

**Ba-DUnkadunk-DUnkadunk-
DUnkadunk-DUnkadunk-
DUnkadunk-Duh-duh-DUH**

You hear Trey break it out now and again even nowadays. My friends and I just call it "the Lick", but its full name, in Disco-Boogie-Heaven, is probably "The Essence of Phunk Lick". By whatever name, it manages to make you not even worry that the 2001 is among the shorter of the post-Awakening era Phish (everything that happened after the Wolfman's Brother you can hear on _Slip, Stitch and Pass_).

In Set 2 the Bowie falls apart tragi-wonderfully into Possum and then you get one of those great nuggets of ambient/pure boogie which dot the Great Fall tour and the killing-machine of a tour that is the Great Summer to come. And you will lick it up off of the greasy-nasty, sweat-stained floor...if you know what is good for you.

Thanks for listening.

-Chad (who was, is and will remain as full of shit as the next guy)
Score: 3
kipmat , attached to 1997-12-03 Permalink
kipmat When I rate a show, I try to weigh the performance by how much of the show I enjoyed/would like to listen to again, vs. how much I didn't enjoy/would not like to listen to again. The Spectrum shows from 97 are a good example of this in practice. 12/2 has some of the best improv of the tour during Mike's Groove, but the rest of the show (except for Ghost) is meh. This show, however, is grooving right from the start, and to my ears, doesn't let up AT ALL. That's why 12/3 is IMO a 5 star show, and 12/2 is not. Not to make a big deal about it; it's just semantics, certainly not an absolute. Anyway, download the show and listen for yourself.
Score: 3
n00b100 , attached to 1997-12-03 Permalink
n00b100 I'm with the other reviews that state that the first set is better than the second one in this show; neither of them match the astounding second set from the previous night's effort, but with the bounty of quality music from this show that's hardly anything to get upset about. The first noteworthy moment comes with the Drowned, which is one of the most pleasant surprises of a tour chock-full of surprises, as the band shifts out of the usual hard-rockin' Drowned jam into a funk extravaganza that might be the purest form of the cow-funk that everyone associates with Fall '97. Trey gets in his funky licks and Mike does very fine work, but this is Page's show through and through, as he abuses his clavinet, tosses out all sorts of nifty organ stings, and takes the lead in lieu of the usual Trey riffing. This is as superb a funky jam as the band ever played, and deserves much more attention. A nice Gumbo > 2001 > YEM stretch, with Gumbo's ending dark and downbeat before transitioning into 2001 and the YEM cool if not mind-blowing, ends a high-energy set.

The second set kicks off with Bowie (I wouldn't mind them giving Bowie the 2nd set opener slot and taking it for a ride again), which has a particularly elongated intro and stays in usual Bowie territory for a good spell (with the occasional spacey excursion) before launching into an uplifting major-key groove, Trey alternating between warm Weekapaug-esque chords and elfish soloing with Page (again!) doing some lovely work on the keys and Fish playing a nicely busy beat. The band works their way back in Bowie's usual jam space, and like a particularly charming phoenix rising from Bowie's ashes Possum works its way out of the jam in a great segue. Possum is its usual fiery self (boy, imagine the outcry if Possum showed up in this spot in a Set 2 today), and the jam that they launch into right afterwards is nearly as powerful as the first set Drowned, very close to the legendary Tube Jam from the Dayton show (even more wicked clavinet work from Page here). This nasty jam slows to a crawl, gets dark and spacey...and then Trey starts up Caspian, something of a buzzkill (some things never change, I guess), and Frankenstein and a sweet Hood close out another fine set.

Final thoughts: I'd still take last night's show (that second set is an out and out masterpiece), but wouldn't blame you at all if you preferred this one. The Bowie's major-key segment is truly great, and both the post-Possum Jam and Drowned are red-hot funk jams that demand hearing.

Oh yeah, I hope @MSDosque has heard the Drowned since the night of the show. Rough time to take a bathroom break, my friend.
Score: 3
MDosque , attached to 1997-12-03 Permalink
MDosque For some reason, this summer I have really gotten quite nostalgic concerning Phish experiences. I went back and listened to some of my early shows and was thrilled to relive them a little bit. After seeing them for the first time ever the year before at the Spectrum on 12/29, I returned to America's Showplace the next year. It was hard to know at the time, but the fall 97 tour is now considered stuff of legend. I have no idea where our real seats were, but we were 16, stoned, and scared shitless, so we headed as far up in that arena as possible. Around the Great Went, Phish really found their inner funk and their jams often veered into 70's disco porn music. It almost seems that for better or worse, they shed a little silliness and antics of the stage for straight up jams. I would say this is better, but early-90's partisans would surely disagree. They still had that in their back pockets, but these post-Went jams were a whole new animal. So it was with this show. Since there was not a bad seat in that now-razed house, I had a good vantage point. Plus some very Kind older heads nurtured us up in the nosebleed section, took our helplessly sloppy blunt, unwrapped it, and popped it in their bubbler. Lights out and show on...

Set 1: The funk was in full effect with a great opener. You have to love a PYITE opener at any show, but inside a cozy old arena with the winter winds whipping outside, that song is just the one to set the tone. This one was excellent. I always love My Soul, but as the 90's got late and some of the 99-00 jams (think ) got spacier and longer, I feel like My Soul really found its home as a safe call to snap everyone out of a trance (see Oswego...the set break there was mindbending for most and My Soul surely rescued many). As for this show, I remember it being fun and great as always. Drowned doesn't always do it for me, but that's ok. One man's bathroom break is another's highlight--that's the beauty of a Phish show. Looking and listening back, The Old Home Place seems like a nice choice for the Spectrum. From here on, Phish put on a display that showed their continuing evolution and pure virtuosity. The Gumbo-2001-YEM that closes this set is something that every fan of every period should seek out ASAP. This is pure 97 style phunk and this run of tunes cannot be denied. They were flat out ON and for the young guns (and we all love ya) that see shows now, this is the type of jam that causes older fans to pine for the late 90's. So just let us vent once in a while during a cheesy Alaska and realize that we love the band, you love the band, and all is good. But damn...this jam is IT.

Set Break: Things got weird in that old building and being too young to really appreciate the experience, confusion set in.

Set 2:
The Bowie was fantastic, just like the Bowie that opened the second set at my first show the previous winter. Great jamming and it landed into a powerful Possum. It was here that one of my biggest Phish regrets happened and I must do a mea culpa. Listening back, the jam out of Possum is pure bliss and maybe even one for the ages. Certainly, it would be surprising to hear that type of playing post-hiatus, but at the time, who knew...and we were ripped. We left. As I was walking through the concourse, I heard the beginning of Caspian, but I was out into the cold Philly night in search of our ride before the solo. It is true, like the other reviewer here stated that the magic was in the first set, and I do agree, but looking back, it seems a shame that I took it for granted and wasn't fully locked into that second set. Oh well. You live you learn. It happens to the best of us.

To sum it up, this show is fantastic, and indicative of the highest of heights that the band would inhabit from Went through Lemonwheel. Nearly every single show is musical feast and this show (particularly the first set) is right there. If you have to narrow it down..start from Gumbo and take it through the end of the first set. Maybe do it on an extended late summer evening walk with the dog. I promise you will be strollin like Dolomite down the block.
Score: 2
westbrook , attached to 1997-12-03 Permalink
westbrook As I said in my review of the previous night's show, these Philly shows both have at least one great set in them. This show is more balanced than 12/2, but this first set sticks out to me maybe even more so than the second set. For me, the first set is near perfect. PYITE and My Soul is a high-energy opening pair, and I absolutely love the jam in Drowned. It starts out rocking, but develops into a captivating funk jam with great flow. Drowned is strong enough to carry this set on its own, but the band had other plans. I'm a big fan of Phishgrass, so I think The Old Home Place works well after Drowned. The final trio of songs in the first set is played without a break and each of the songs is jammed a good amount. Gumbo has a nice funky jam that turns dark before segueing into a solid 2001, which brings out the funk again. As the last note of 2001 rings out, YEM begins and the crowd explodes. Good YEM, but nothing crazy. Excellent first set.

Set 2 begins with a long, exploratory Bowie that reaches some very interesting musical places, some dark and some light. The jam after Possum is right up there with the Island Tour Cavern (also out of Possum) for funkiest thing Phish has ever played. Great start-stop jamming (very similar to the previous night's Ghost) and the lick Trey plays at 4:58 is one of my all-time favorites. It would be difficult for me to choose between Drowned and this jam for my favorite part of the show. The jam ends with a great slow down segue into a well-played Caspian. Frankenstein, Hood, and Crossroads wrap up a pretty damn good show in the middle of a tour filled with them.
Score: 1
HighNote , attached to 1997-12-03 Permalink
HighNote Manteca tease in Gumbo....anyone??
Score: 1

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