Today marks the 15th Anniversary of one of the better shows (and premiere first sets) in Phish’s history — December 7th, 1997 at the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio. Pretty much every December is littered with top shelf moments but 12/7/97 stands out personally because it was one of the first December tapes my friends all told me I had to get my hands on (along with 12/9/95) while I was in high school. Whenever I hear the “Psycho Killer” intro, instead of thinking of David Byrne and his boombox on his Stop Making Sense film, my mind wanders to grandeur of “Tube” and “Psycho Killer” and “Theme from the Bottom.”
At the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio, Phish threw down one of the best first sets of their career. The band lived up to their Fall ’97 slogan of “Phish Destroys America.” December 7th also served up so many first set sandwiches even Page would be stuffed. They opened up with “AC/DC Bag” then transitioned into the (at the time) second ever performance of “Psycho Killer.” The first time Phish played the Talking Heads classic was on 3/30/93 sandwiched between a killer “Weekapaug” segment. Towards the end of the set when the audience figured things were cooling down, the band had other ideas, taking “Tube” for arguably it’s greatest ride ever (12/29/97’s version certainly gives it a run for it’s money$).
Then to close out the set, the setlist blends into a surreal version of “Slave to the Traffic Light.” It must be noted that during this version of “Tube” the lights went off, the band stopped, then started jamming the “Tube” theme into what LivePhish labels the “Dayton Jam.”
Overshadowed by the first set, 12/7’s second set shouldn’t be forgotten. The set opens with “Timber” and featured the first “Boogie On Reggae Woman” since 9/13/88. Much different than 2012 Phish with “Boogie” being a staple these days. The band also delivered a late set “Reba” and an above-average “Possum” to close out the night. “A Day in the Life” was a poignant encore as the next day was the anniversary of John Lennon’s death.
Today in Phish’s History, 12/07/1997
Ervin J. Nutter Center, Wright State University, Dayton, OH
Set 1: AC/DC Bag -> Psycho Killer -> Jesus Just Left Chicago, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own > It’s Ice -> Swept Away > Steep > It’s Ice > Theme From the Bottom, Tube, Tube Jam -> Slave to the Traffic Light
Set 2: Timber (Jerry) > Wolfman’s Brother -> Boogie On Reggae Woman > Reba, Guyute > Possum
Encore: A Day in the Life
 Rocky Mountain Way tease.
 No whistling.
 “Charge!” teases.