No whistling.
 All Fall Down signal and heavy metal-style intro.
The week-long trend of breaking out songs continued with the show-opening Cities, which was the first since July 5, 1994 (222 shows). Trey teased Under Pressure in DWD. Wolfman’s included a Dave’s Energy Guide tease. Reba did not have the whistling ending. Possum included an All Fall Down signal and a heavy metal-style intro. The jam out of Mike’s featured teases and vocal quotes of The End (The Doors), and Careful with That Axe, Eugene as well as the Jim Morrison poem "Dawn's Highway." The End (The Doors) was subsequently quoted in Lawn Boy and Weekapaug. Weekapaug was unfinished and ended in a Can't You Hear Me Knocking jam. Portions of this show were made available via the Slip, Stitch and Pass release.
Mike's new bass provided an element the band didn't even know it was missing, and this show is the first joyous exploration of that element. If you're a Phish fan you should have the album 'Slip Stitch and Pass,' which is a defining document for the band. The Wolfman's > Jesus, Mike's > Lawn Boy > Weekapaug, and dramatic Cities opener are (unsurprisingly) the must-hear portions; Wolfman's Bro is the slinky, slimy highlight, a first-of-its-kind funk jam that establishes the template for the rest of the year. This is one of those few historically-important Phish shows that remains a great listen, and along with the 'Remain in Light' set it kicks off an astonishing growth period for the band.
this show was immortalized on the album slip stitch and pass, which, in my opinion, is the best single disc phish has released. the album has something for everyone, new and old, but believe me, there is some good stuff in the rest of this show too.
cities is a fantastic opener. obviously, i was very happy that this became a quasi part of the rotation. of course, this version is not as exploratory as the one at ventura, the great went, or deer creek, but what a good break out. nice tight version too. the oh kee pah ceremony is solid,and the dwd in the first is somewhat jammy. it does not go all the way out there, but it does the job. weigh is well-played, and beauty gives these fine german folks a taste of good 'ol american blue grass. then there is this wolfman's brother. this song had never been a vehicle for exploration, but this version breaks the mold. it only clocks in at 13 or so minutes, but they make every second count. this is such tight, funky jamming. this one, after probably 100+ 12-13 min wolfman's have been played, really stands the test of time. it still stands out as a marquee version. especially, when you factor in the nice bluesy segue into a stellar jjlc. page sounds great on vocals here, and trey rips off some nice bluesy solos. they don't slow down here. they fly right into a killer reba. this one was not so frequent in '97, as opposed to the previous 3 years, but this one really soars. hello my baby appears poised to close the set, but then they pull out a best of year candidate possum. this one is over the top crazy. trey wails on some very cool heavy metal jamming in the intro here. this one rocks from start to finish....check it out.
carini and dinner and movie are a nice, funny opening pairing, and they get the crowd poised for a mind blowing mike's groove. this one, like the jams in the first set, is very nice and focused. they ride the mike's song's climaxes oh so well before letting a sense of humor slip in. i love the careful with that ax/the end jam. it goes through a playful arabic section with trey and fish having some enjoyable back and forth. of course there is fish letting trey off the hook with the "mother...." "I want to borrow the car..." hilarious! they eventually land in a solid lawn boy before rising into a mind bending weekapaugh. trey and gordon were sharp, as usual on this song, but check out page's playing on this beauty. he bounces and pings off of trey throughout a send up take of weekapaugh. the mango song provides a nice breather, and they play a lovely and gentle take of billy breathes after that. they bring it up a notch with a very cool theme from the bottom. i wish they would close more sets with this song; i feel it leaves the crowd in a very unusual place....way better than cheesier alternatives like character zero. taste and adeline work well in the encore slot. taste is particularly nimble.
this show is a definite classic. slip stitch will get you by, but you may want to get the rest of the show too. this show has excellent flow, great playing, and a very "phan" friendly setlist.
cities (for the break out factor), wolf>jjlc, reba, possum (maybe the best song left off the album)
carini, mike's>lawn>weekapaugh, theme from the bottom
More a sum of its parts show than a cohesive statement, which makes the fact that it was divvied up into Slip, Stitch & Pass as a single disc rather than just released as a full concert make a bit more sense than it would appear at first blush. But oh golly, how good those parts are - the much-loved return of Cities, which would get taken out for a ride a few times in the year; the extraordinarily exciting Wolfman's, an early blueprint of the masterful "let's ride this wave" funk jams of the summer and fall; a killer segue into Jesus Just Left Chicago, which moves from silence to an explosive peak with tremendous ease; a Mike's Song that Mike's Songs its way along before collapsing into an eerie space and hilariously shaping into The End and then segues (!) into Lawn Boy (?!); and, finally, a typical up-and-atom Weekapaug that morphs into Can't You Hear Me Knocking 10/26/10 style and ends in that manner instead of with the typical Weekapaug close. 2/17 is probably the deeper show, but this has the highest highs of the Winter '97 tour, and if you don't want to hunt Slip, Stitch and Pass down the spreadsheet has a quite nice SBD for your listening pleasure.
I'm not sure how much I can add, except that after listening to this whole tour front to back, this show stands out as having one of the best setlists, THE best jams, and the best overall flow and phish-iness.
Wolfman's is THE jam of the tour, and the Weekapaug (first of tour!!!) is one of the better type I james.
This is probably my favorite single show that I've ever seen (not counting festivals) and was the highlight of the 3 shows they'd performed in Germany on that European tour. The venue was amazing and it felt like we were right up on stage with the guys and, afterwards, Mike was out milling around signing autographs and talking with us. This was the first time I'd ever heard Possum and the Careful With that Axe, Eugene teases sent me through the roof. My only complaint was the shusshing of everyone when the guys tried to sing a cappella.
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