This, the final edition of our month-long series, highlights one of the best months in Phish history — November 1997. Phish took a break from their normal Fall routine of the last few years as there was no Halloween costume performed and no shows in the preceding month of October. The band took a break after August’s Great Went festival and didn’t play together publicly until a performance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien where the band debuted a new original, “Farmhouse.” The time off did not hamper the band creatively as four and five-song sets became common. The band even debuted an original instrumental “Black Eyed Katy” at their first show in November. BEK was the inspiration for “Moma Dance” which debuted a year later on their ’98 Summer tour. Some call the ’97 era of Phish the PEAK, although I hate to label anything the “best” when their history is still being written.
Pete (@PeteLikesPhish) and I have compiled an extensive list of the top moments from November ’97, from the entire show on 11/17/97 to the 58-minute “Runaway Jim” that just had its 15th birthday yesterday. Onto the list.
11/13: The debut of Black Eyed Katy kicks off the fall funk and sets the tone for the tour. Standout versions of Stash & Mike’s in the 2nd set.
11/14: The first four-song second set of the tour, and it only took two shows for it to happen.
11/16: This show lives in the shadow of the next night but Timber > Simple is worth a listen. It’s a Mr. Miner favorite.
11/17: A show with legendary status amongst fans. All ‘best ever Ghost’ discussions start with this version.. Trey said the band listened to this jam afterwards as an example of a pinnacle/peak jam and full band interplay. Read an extensive breakdown of this very “Ghost” which was given a perfect 10.0 by @LawnMemo. The 1st set can’t be overlooked either. It was the best 1st set of the tour….until 12/7/97 three weeks later.
11/19: Another solid 4 song second set consisting of 2001 > Wolfmans > Makisupa > Taste.
11/21: The debut of Emotional Rescue. Ghost > Bag -> Slave all standout in the second set.
11/22: Some call it the best two-set show ever. Izabella closes the 1st set and the 2nd set of Halley’s Comet > Tweezer > Black-Eyed Katy > Piper > Run Like an Antelope makes a damn good argument.
11/23: A 31-minute top shelf Gin followed by Down with Disease > Low Rider > Disease
11/26: Zero -> 2001 -> Cities. Best Zer0 ever!
11/28: The best of the YEMs this tour, and uber funky at that. Here’s the Ghost for good measure.
11/29: The infamous 58-minute Runaway Jim (Part 1, Part 2), and a Moby Dick bustout.
11/30: A 15-minute Funky Bitch and a 30-minute Wolfmans’ with Sanity lyrics in the first set. Trey asked @ChrisCK5 to cut the lights during Wolfmans’ so they could jam in the dark. Also a killer Stash and the only ever Phishified version of “Them Changes” to close out the month.
DOWNLOAD: For an awesome compilation of Fall 97′, check out Ben James’s Picks on Etree.org. Now it’s onto December which holds a few memories of it’s own, and that’s an understatement. 670 hours until #YEMSG!