, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks 1997 was like a yearlong highlight reel for Phish. The summer featured open-field funk grooves that hadn't yet involuted into the knotty space-funk style of November and December, and the Went is full of big ol' summer jams in that vein. The first set of this second night is fine but undistinguished - still, check out the Tweezer > Taste. The third set, like the closing of Lemonwheel, is an exhausted after-party full of musical comedy (Buffalo Bill, Weigh, Scent) and farewell cadences.

The second frame, though, revolves around four colossal performances, and shouldn't be missed. A grand Disease burns out sloooowly into a sprightly elves-a-dancing duet between Trey and Mike (with colours from Page). Gin is one of those All You've Heard versions, a blissful major-chord crescendo over 15 minutes that inexplicably ends up in a fun Uncle Pen. The glorious Harry Hood that closes the set features a long chill jam-opening during which the audience fired up the first great glowstick war in Phish-show history - Trey sounds really moved as he calls out 'Go get more of those things!' at the end of the set.

And then there's the definitive Phish performance of 2001 (a/k/a the Deodato arrangement of the sunset from 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' by one o' them Strauss fellas). Plenty of versions of 2001 turn into dancefloor rave-ups; this one peaks not with traditionally Phishy singsong guitar but with a bass-driven groove that hops, pops, skips, skitters, funks, and passes out drunk and smiling somewhere up on cloud nine. The 10-minute 'art jam' that follows is a fine ambient interlude, but it's less a wholehearted ambient improv than one of those drawn-out song endings that cap so many Phish sets. Still, a perfect cooldown after the wild 2001, and a mini-preview of what would be Lemonwheel's highlight one year later on the same stage.

Hear this show.


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