, attached to 1997-12-11

Review by TheEmu

TheEmu Some really great, great thumping from Mike in Punch. So tight. DwD comes out of the gate on fire. There’s several minutes of absolute flame-throwing, ginger-fueled, face-devastating HOSE, and that’s the START of the Disease jam as part of the SECOND song of the night. Holy crap. This finally relaxes into some dark space that evolves into a slightly sinister groove. Maze is anything but ordinary and takes a few different dips and turns, then hits that peak squarely. Dirt and LxL both show some signs of being newer tunes, but Limb by Limb, like Maze, is not what you’d typically expect, with a few different changes in rhythm that really make it an outstanding version.

The first half of the Drowned jam to kick off set II struggles a little bit in spots, IMHO. But where it lacks the rocket power of the first set’s DwD, the second half of the jam enters the same thrilling, dark, cosmic realm. The segue into Roses is skillfully executed, and Roses blooming into BBFCFM is brilliant song selection. BBFCFM is delightfully whacked, even by BBFCFM standards, then snaps into Ghost. Ghost may not be of the same caliber as some other ’97 versions, and though it just kind of strolls along for a good 12 minutes or so, it kicks into high gear for a climax that is anything but boring, and then blasts back into DwD. The transition to JBG is awkward, but it’s a scorching rendition nonetheless. I will mention, though, that Waste ends in kind of a weak fashion, without the customary end-of-show flourish.

I agree 100% with @waxbanks’ assessment of this show as having an “early/mid 2003 vibe.” Except without the slop. I’m weird in that Fall ’97 is not the end all be all of Phish for me. I like the funk a lot, but there are many times when I feel like jams just plod along for giant stretches. I Don’t get me wrong, I love the peaks of the Denver Ghost, the Hampton Halley’s, the Tweezabella, etc. But sometimes I think you run the risk of getting stuck in the funk.

The Disease jam in the first set, though, is different. It starts with that blazing peak, sustains it, and then drops into a 2.0 style trance; dark, but not as dirty. I loved it. And I loved the unusual versions of Maze and especially Limb By Limb, loved return to a touch of evil at the end of Drowned, and loved the insanity of BBFCFM. Ghost, I think, is only disappointing when compared to the first set or, as I said before, the many other epic Fall ’97 versions.

This is an easy, full-throttle, 5 Star show for me, with a signature jam, different vibes throughout, great flow, blistering guitar, and oddball moments. I think it’s fantastic, and it was a wonderful surprise for me this morning. Most of you have probably already heard this one, but if not, get on it, especially the first set.


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