Pepsi Arena, Albany, NY
 Extended jam.
 Bears a similarity to Llama.
Average Song Gap: 5.78
Notes: Piper included a distinct Birds of a Feather tease, several months before the song actually debuted. The jam after Caspian ended bore a similarity to Llama. Antelope contained a Buried Alive tease from Trey. The opening act was J. Willis Pratt & We're Bionic.
Songs by Debut Year:
This show was part of the "1997 Fall Tour (a.k.a. Phish Destroys America)."
Set 2: Saw It Again -> Piper > Swept Away > Steep > CaspianPrince Caspian > Jam -> Izabella, TweepriseTweezer Reprise
This show is easily in my top 5 of the 97 fall tour. I wasn't sure what to excpect after a solid show in Rochester that was not like any other show from fall 97. Would they get right back to the funk after a night off? Affirmative!
They start thigs off with is with out a doubt the funkiest funcky bitch ever! Next up is a long, slinky 2001 that refuses to allow you to stop shaking your money maker. Good stuff. As 2001 comes to an end Trey brings out Camel Walk much to the delight of the crowd. I caught the Darien Camel and must say the Albany version did a little more for me. Mushrooms? Problably. The rest of the set is good but nothing like the opening 3 vollies.
Set 2 is simply incredible. Not a dull moment here folks. Each song is given a full workout especially the Piper and Caspian. Monsters I tell you. Everybody rags on Caspain but I personally love it (most of the time). The jam tacked on at the end makes this my favorite of all time. Double encore done deal.
Do yourself a favor and give this one a listen. If your short on time go straight to the second set. You won't be dissappointed!
The second set has what looks like a really pedestrian setlist, but rises above that handicap in fine Fall '97 fashion. Saw It Again (much like Carini tends to) rumbles and snarls and then morphs into a slower jam that lets Trey abuse his guitar during the solo. The jam then cools out, almost ambient style, before Piper rises out of the ashes. And this Piper is a upper percentile version, as the Piper jam gets fast and furious (you can hear Mike's bass, somewhat muddy in the AUD version, working double time), then starts peeling off layers and goes double time for a hot minute, then shifts back into hard rocking mode, *then* cools down and lets Page drive the car, THEN rips back into another ferocious jam before finally relaxing and heading into Swept Away. There's a lot going on in this Piper, and it should be heard to be believed; it's a fine companion to the beloved 7/6/98 version. Swept Away/Steep are a nice breather for both band and audience...and then they go into Prince Caspian.
Caspian is usually not my first choice for second set jam vehicle, but (like 9/1/12) it actually works out, as Caspian's usual jam leads into a gigantic big-rock-arena freakout and a Llama-style rockfest, but with more facets than Llama tends to have; much like the previous Piper jam, the group modulates the jam's energy between Llama-esque machine gun fire and rein-back-the-stallions slow burning, before a chilled out finale that mixes guitar noise and moody space. And from this space comes a segue directly into Izabella; no, it's not 12/6's segue (what is???), but it'll do in a pinch and Izabella is as awesome as it always is (plus Trey remembers more lyrics!). And the encore brings some heat, too, especially a quicksilver Antelope that maps no new terrain but closes out the show in fine fashion. This may not be in the upper echelon of Fall '97 sets, but it has a big must-hear jam, which alone makes it worth a download.
Not only is Willis a good buddy of mine, to this day, from my glorious Goddard College years, but I had the distinct honor of "filling in" for Jon Fishman on drums for two We're Bionic shows. One was in the Design Center at Goddard. I was terrified, rightfully, that people would not accept me as a worthy substitute, but Willlis and the guys assured me. I did the best I could, and the people really seemed to enjoy it.
Willis has been working on his music for a long time, has poured his heart and soul into it, and is still working on it to this day. He deserves far more attention.