This week’s Phish Friday is another gem from Live Music Blog friend, Gibs, who last left us pondering the greatness of the Clifford Ball. Gibs has clearly been digging back into those crates of tapes, and this time he’s brought us some underrated Europe ’97 goodness. Enjoy!
I remember the days back in Ann Arbor, heading to InFlight to see what new shows they had in their catalog (it was kind of the Prime Cuts of the Midwest). So long as you brought in your own Maxell II blank tapes, they’d turn the shows around in about a week to enjoy. I trusted the guy behind the counter to point me in the right direction for new stuff. So when they started getting a bunch of the Europe ’97 shows, I was all ears. He said Stuttgart was where it’s at, yammering on and on about how ridiculous the setlist was. While I appreciate the rarities and randomness, to me a well-played set of standard songs is much more entertaining than novelty (can anybody say Alpine 99 as a prime example)…but I digress.
Stuttgart ’97 is filled with songs that, if played in the States in this combination, fans would be spontaneously erupting with excitement and craziness. But, it’s not just a novelty act. The actual playing holds up to the craziness as seen on paper.
Perhaps trying to compensate for the night before (which was pretty lackluster), they came out firing on all cylinders. Set one sets the tone with a “Camel Walk” opener (yes you read that right), a 4th-song 1st-set “Hood” (which soars), a rotation “Rocko William”, a “Dog Log,” and a “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” closer (nailed).
Set two has the humor of a “Ha-Ha-Ha” (with extended jam), a “YEM > Kung” (need to hear it to believe it), and then a “Scent of a Mule” that prominently features Leo. With Trey’s help, Page then brings it masterfully and beautifully into “Magilla” before wrapping it up proper. Toss in a “Slave” closer with the ever-elusive “Highway To Hell” encore and it all adds up to a solid, all-around display of their talents. If they brought this quality and rarity to the Gorge or Creek, I would have freaked instantly.
Alas, it is an unheralded show that gets overshadowed by others from this run (Hamburg), but it remains a true gem within the Phish canon.
Here’s a taste:
- Phish – Camel Walk – 2-26-97
- Phish – Scent of a Mule – 2-26-97 > [mp3]
- Phish – Jazz Jam – 2-26-97 > [mp3]
- Phish – Scent of a Mule (end) – 2-26-97 [mp3]
All tracks courtesy of the folks at MomaDance