Phish Releases Box Set Commemorating Famous Fall '97 Tour
Phish is one of those polarizing bands who seem to attract either fervent praise or swift dismissal from listeners. It makes sense: Aside from the bad reputation given off by some of their fans, after over 20 years as a band, Phish is not quite the genre-bending, endlessly creative live force they once were. But with no tour lined up this fall, the road warriors are seizing the opportunity to offer the music world a snapshot of their glory days: fall 1997, often cited by fans as the strongest series of live shows of their career.
On Dec. 6, Phish will release a seven-disc box set that spans three consecutive shows from their fall ‘97 tour: Nov. 21 and 22 in Hampton, Va., and Nov. 23 in Winston-Salem, N.C. Appropriately, the collection is titled Hampton/Winston-Salem ’97. The three concerts showcase the quartet at their improvisational peak, featuring a new, funk-heavy style highly indebted to Talking Heads and a more balanced, full-band method of jamming that contrasted with the early-’90s work often dominated by guitarist Trey Anastasio.
Even for Phish, the renditions of the songs contained in these shows are super-extended — the second set of the Nov. 21 show, for instance, comprises only four songs. Of particular note across the three nights are the band’s live debut of The Rolling Stones’ “Emotional Rescue”; a double-appearance of “Black-Eyed Katy,” which would soon evolve into the concert staple “The Moma Dance”; and the memorable Nov. 22 show opening sequence of “Mike’s Song” > “I Am Hydrogen” > “Weekapaug Groove,” available for download on Rolling Stone’s website.
Pre-orders for Hampton/Winston-Salem ’97 are available via Phish’s online merch store.
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