Phish Friday | 7/10/1997, Marseilles Part Deux

Our Phish Friday friend, Stanley T. Roper, is back with this week with part II of his two-part series on Phish’s 1997 summer show from Marseilles, France. Last week, he dug into an interesting first set. This week he delves into set II, which — much like the first set — captures the band at a uniquely experimental point in their career, one where the funk really began to flow. Hope you enjoy.

Phish, 7/10/1997, Espace Julien, Marseille, France – Part Deux

The band picks up right where it left off with a seriously funky “2001” opener. As he did during the first set, Page gets funk bonus points for using the “Meatstick” synthesizer. Mike, being Mike, lays it down thick and juicy on the bass. This is just a super dance-able version of the song, reminding me of the days when I’d leave Phish shows absolutely soaked from dancing the whole time. Trey, for his part, uses the same noodle-y note that he would recycle later that year in Hartford (11/26) – which is just about the only “2001” more dance-worthy than this one. Great way to open a set.

“Julius” emerges from the post-2001 space. This is one of my favorite tunes, and I love it to open a set. But I’ll take it in the second slot as well. Somewhat standard version here. The interesting stuff happens at the end. Fish (I think) comes in too early with the weird “PSHOO”-exhale thing that he does – and this throws off the song’s big finish. So they just keep playing.

Fish drops a really cool marching band style beat and Trey comes in with the opening notes of “Magilla.” This is a really cool version of the song; it’s super slow, and as funky as it is jazzy, as evidenced by Mike taking a slap bass solo instead of the cleaner, jazzier tone.

They give “Magilla” a big finish, Fish drops the “Ya Mar” groove, and we’re off to the races again. This is a neat version of the song, complete with bizarre alternate backup lyrics by Trey concerning “vampire children” and “blood-sucking.” When it’s time for Page’s big solo, Trey mixes it up and decides to conduct the band in two-by-two jams. Fun.

Then, maintaining the “Ya Mar” beat, Trey drops some funky rhythm guitar, and suddenly the band is playing “Ghost,” but with Fish maintaining the drums from “Ya Mar.” Very cool segue. Fish keeps this beat going through the lyrics and until the beginning of the jam, when he returns to the more straight-ahead 4/4 groove. Very funky “Ghost” jam — I mean, what’d you expect? — It takes a turn to the dark for a few minutes and then morphs into more of a rock’n’roll feel. I thought for sure that this was heading for a cover of “Walk Away.” But instead they launch into an odd jam over which they sing the lyrics from “Take Me to the River” – an Al Green cover, but one that feels much more like the oddball version by the Talking Heads. I use “cover” in the most liberal sense of the word as they barely know the lyrics, and they make it through only one refrain before taking off again into the improv.

This is a fitting end to the set. It’s a fitting set for a show that is really a perfect relic of the band at this point in their career: A little playfulness, tons of funk and lots of risk-taking. Great show, and an awesome new discovery.

You can grab the full show here.

Full setlist via
07-10-97 Espace Julien, Marseille, France

1: Dogs Stole Things, Limb By Limb, Ginseng Sullivan, Bathtub Gin, Llama-> Wading in the Velvet Sea, Lizards Jam*, Oblivious Fool

2: Also Sprach Zarathustra-> Julius, Magilla-> Ya Mar^, Ghost-> Take Me to the River**

E: Funky Bitch#

*Very slow, no lyrics, largely unrecognizable until the end. ^Apparently they took turns jamming in pairs: Fish and Page, Trey and Mike, hi-hat and clavinet (Fish and Page again), bell and low guitar (Mike and Trey), crash cymbal and Rhodes (Fish and Page), footstomping (band and audience); also Magilla teases. **An Al Green cover, from his “Explores Your Mind” album. Also performed by Talking Heads. #With Son Seals and members of his band (guitar, trumpet, bass, and drums) and Fish dancing at the front of the stage; “Funky Bitch” is a Son Seals song); with “Bathtub Gin” teases.