, attached to 1997-11-17

Review by Flavaham

Flavaham This was my first show after moving to Denver from the East Coast. At the time I wasn't really in a good place to receive such an amazing show. For one, I was chasing songs, not jams. I've done a total 360 on that since. For two, it was the first show that I attended solo. I hadn't really found any people on this Phish scene out here yet and I remember feeling like the crowd was unlike any crowd at a show that I had encountered. It kind of put me into a shell for the night as I had a weird cloud of negativity hanging over me...

With that said, Tweezer was definitely a welcomed opener. I remember thinking that this was a great start but found myself struggling to find my groove. I was feeling particularly anti-social at this point and the scene seemed very foreign to me at the time. (I was used to east coast shows and this was already seeming very different).

What followed was some mind bending versions of great tunes, but still, I just wasn't in the moment. Ghost killed it but was still a "new tune" to me so I kind of dismissed it at the time...what a waste. At the time, everything from albums after Rift were, in my mind, "New Phish" and I really didn't give them a fair chance. That's on me though. This Ghost is absolutely ridiculous! When they ended the first set with Fire, I was particularly annoyed. It's really never been a favorite of mine. I love Hendrix. I love Phish. I don't (or, didn't at the time) like their version of this tune and felt like they were above covers...So on to intermission.

DWD killed it. Period. But again, this was newer material from the boys and not Fluff, Bowie, etc. I don't remember my reaction to Olivia's Pool off hand. I do however know that Johnny B. Goode has NEVER been a song that I look for. When the Dead did it as an encore, I usually switched tapes. When Phish did it, I just thought it was a throw away tune. Funny thing is that this version and the one from Sugarbush '95, for both of which I was in attendance, are face melting rock n' roll! They kill it! But again, at the time I was chasing setlists. I was looking for "old school" shit, or something obscure. This didn't fit the bill...maybe the next tune? Nope. A standard blues cover...JJLC. I remember being annoyed at this point. Only 5 songs in the first set, one of which was a "new" song and another a cover. Now, 4 songs into the second set and we've got 2 more covers and another "new" song... Well, they end JJLC without an arrow and go into WTCCTT. At this point I'm just like, wtf?? They get through a very well played version of it and again...no arrow. What are they doing?? Next up, YEM. Finally! Some old school Phish! But at this point, the wind was just kind of gone from the sails. Again, a brilliantly played version, but I just wasn't in it. They lost me long before this...

Encore - Character Zero. Another "New" tune. haha. Jesus...

My experience before the show probably influenced my mood for the night more than I realized. I was a dude in a new town with seemingly no allies on the Phish front. It was a pretty negative situation honestly. Easily the most negativity that I've felt on the day of a show.

I've since listened to this show about a thousand times and each time I sit and kick myself for not being in the moment. I absolutely love this show now and love that it's in my modest stats. What kills me is that Mike's bass during Ghost is so sick! He has since changed the way he plays it. He was doing all kinds of slaps and pops back then. Now he plays it pretty straight up. I really wish he'd go back to the slap action.

As far as the show goes, this was pure fire. A five song first set and six song second?? That's nuts! They were having a freaking blast the entire time. You can hear Trey smiling through most of the lyrics. All four are so engaged and on point. At the time I would've given this show a 2 or 3/5. I've since changed my stance on it.

This show taught me a very important lesson about Phish. It really doesn't matter what song they play, they can make it amazing. It could be a Jackson 5 tune or something from Brittany Spears and they could find a way to put some crazy spin or amazing jam in it! This show taught me to live in the song in that very moment. A lot of people have pretty strong opinions about set list construction and I was one of them for a long time. Just let the boys do what they do and 9 times out of 10, you'll come away with a blown mind and melted face.

Next chance you get, spin this show and then spin it again. I had a rough night but I'm left with some amazing music. They always give you what you need. Sometimes you don't know it until later I guess...


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