This was the second show of The Great Went festival. Tweezer contained Simple teases and the Digital Delay Loop Jam included London Bridge is Falling Down teases. Disease was unfinished. Bathtub Gin contained a Proud Mary tease from Page. Throughout the weekend, fans painted pieces of wood that were assembled into an Art Tower. During Disease, Page and Fish painted their portions of the Art Tower; Mike and Trey painted theirs during 2001. The Art Jam saw the crowd carry the pieces of the band’s art to the side of the venue where it was hoisted onto the Art Tower and added to the fans' art. During Tweezer Reprise, the Art Tower was burned to the ground as The Great Went came to a close. As the Hood jam kicked in, Trey asked Chris to turn the lights off and the band jammed while the front section of the audience engaged in the first Hood glowstick war. Trey remarked to the crowd at the end of the jam that the visual display was cool. Between the first and second sets, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra performed selections from Stravinsky and Debussy as a red-smoke-spewing glider synchronized its swoops and dives to the music. Buffalo Bill was played for the first time since December 31, 1994 (204 shows).
Simple tease in Tweezer, Proud Mary tease in Bathtub Gin, London Bridge Is Falling Down tease in Digital Delay Loop Jam
Debut Years (Average: 1993)

This show was part of the "1997 Summer U.S. Tour"

Show Reviews

, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by ColForbin

ColForbin [My review of the Great Went posted shortly after the shows to]

Preshow tunes over the PA were a mixture of Elton John, Star Wars and the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack. I liked it. I also checked out the Beetroots for ~10 min. Pretty eclectic, and not really my style. But I guess if you are into the world music thing you might want to check them out.

Set I

Wedge: I'm pretty sure that this was my first Wedge. I was psyched to hear it, because it is one of my favorite sing along songs in the car. I did restrain myself at the show however. By now I think everyone has picked up on the "LIMESTONE blocks so large" thing, but in case you haven't I guess I'll mention it. This Wedge didn't seem like anything too special, but it was just kind of special to hear it in the first place.

Beauty of my Dreams: A fun little bluegrass ditty, but nothing to write home about. It seems like the vocals in this song aren't as solid as in Ginseng or Uncle Penn, but they haven't been playing it that long.

Dogs Stole Things: I hear the drum beat, I yell with joy, get out my index card that I am writing the setlist on, write down Mound, then cross it off as Trey comes in with the opening guitar riff to DST. DAMN!! Oh well, this is a pretty fun song, and I think the vocals sound good. (Actually, I think the singing in the new songs is better than some of the old songs; maybe they wrote the parts closer to their ranges. Fishman in particular, during Ghost, sounds GREAT.) I would have rather heard mound, but it was good to hear some new stuff live. It is a pretty cheery song, considering the somewhat dark subject, IMO.

Vultures: Where have I heard that opening piano riff before? Oh yeah, Keyboard Kavalry. This was a VERY cool song, with its Irish Jig feel. I can't really compare it to other versions, but I like it a lot, and hope to hear it again. I think there could be a pretty interesting jam out of this song, the way it is set up. We'll see.

Water in the Sky: Okay, it's sappy, cheesy and doesn't have much substance. But I like the countryesque feel to it. I had fun; what more could I want from this one?

Maze: This had a little bit of a space intro, which made me feel for sure that we had a Bowie on our hands. But the Hi-hat turned out to be the Maze version. This was a pretty ripping version of Maze, but not much more so than a regular version. I'd say it was above average, just due to the energy of the show, but nothing to actively seek out.

Bouncin': was Bouncin'. Lots of people signing off-key, like a birthday party where no one has a clue. I just kept my mouth shut and turned around to see thousands of people bouncing up and down. It made it worth it.

Tweezer: Now we're getting somewhere. About 20 min. (thanks, ZZYZX) of pure, unadulterated Phish-style funk (did I see someone call this Type III jamming?). This was most definitely an above-average Tweezer, and beats the Ball Tweezer by a lot. This tweezer showed Ghost who was boss in the funk department. The jam deconstructed into a neat little segue into...

Taste: I was very psyched to hear Taste after some of the reports on the net about the jams coming out of it. The jam at the end had the now-standard Page solo and then went into a great Trey solo before finishing up. I'd definitely recommend this Tweezer>Taste combo as filler, if you aren't into the rest of the set. (And there really isn't that much to get into, BTW)

Carolina: To my disappointment, Fishman didn't sing the Boy Scout Anthem ;-). Before the song, Trey talked about the orchestra and all that. Very soon after they finished up, the orchestra started playing.

Orchestra Set:

I liked last years orchestra set a lot better, and I'm glad that I have the tapes. This year the orchestra was not that good, IMHO. The started off with a Debussy string quartet which was SO LOUD. It was louder than Phish. It was painful. I could not even listen to it without grimacing. They got the sound turned down a bit for the next song which was a very long fable set to music about this soldier who sells his fiddle to the devil and gets tricked yadda yadda yadda he gets his fiddle back and all is well. Trey had introduced this song by giving a short history of it, which was kind of neat, because it showed that the band was really into the orchestra. The guy doing the narration to the story was VERY good, and it was worth listening to just for him. Next came "Claire de Lune" which I know I am spelling wrong. They repeated the glider aerial ballet thing from last year which was beautiful. I hope they do this every year. If you haven't seen it, I feel bad, because it is just that inspiring. The glider got SO low this year, and landed right outside the concert grounds. I hope someone told the pilot just how loud the applause was. The orchestra packed up and it was time to wait for set II.

Set II

[I am going to say once again that this may be the best set of Phish of ALL time. If you can only have one more set of Phish in your life, this should be it. It is everything Phish is meant to be.]

Down With Disease (listening to it right now): I heard the spacey intro and I knew what was coming. Mike slapped the bass riff out and the band got going on DWD. After the lyrics segment, the jam quickly headed off into Type II territory with some GREAT work by Fishman. I could feel him holding the whole thing together. The band was doing some serious listening to one another. Mike lays down a really fat (yes, with an f) bassline and it slows the whole band down into a DEEP groove. Pages switches over to the funk synthesizer and acts as another guitar. Trey takes the lead and throws down a bluesy solo. Then it mellows out and Trey takes a quiet little guitar solo. Then a slow, three note repeated line from Mike with Page soloing in the background on the synth. Trey takes the lead from Page and starts some nice interplay with Page and Mike while Fishman backs it with a swingish beat. This is definitely the coolest part of the jam. Then Fishman and Page get up a Mike and Trey play...

Page and Fishman Painting Jam: This jam consists of Mike and Trey having a sort-of duel (at the same time, not a back and forth thing) while Page and Fish spraypaint on oddly shaped pieces of plywood on easels at the sides of the stage. Page finishes way before Fishman and joins in the background of the jam. Fishman really takes his time with his piece of art, making it look almost as if it is bleeding. He walks back up to the drum kit and Trey strums the opening riff to...

Bathtub Gin: It started off normally. No one knew what was in store with the jam. We are all dancing around, oblivious to what is about to happen. Then the jam starts up and BAM!!! We are hit with the Hose. The Golden Hose. (Again, I don't use this term lightly) This is the type of jam you only dream about. I got IT. I could see that everyone around me got IT as well (I've NEVER seen anyone else get IT). My face hurt from the intense smiling. The tears welled up in my eyes. My friend made a motion of spraying me with a garden hose. I then made a motion of spraying him with a fire hose. This jam hit you THAT hard, folks. It built and built and built and built. Pure transcendence. If I could stop my life at any moment, it would be during that jam. This IS Phish.

Uncle Penn: came out of the Gin jam. Very fun, we all needed a break. Well played, no flubs from anyone.

2001: Started of with a spacey little deal that I thought would lead into Bowie. Then Fish started with the drumbeat to 2001. Mike and Trey then went to the sides of the stage to do their painting.

Mike and Trey Painting Jam: Page REALLY showed his stuff here. He jammed liked crazy over the steady 2001 drum beat supplied by Fish. Page impressed me more during this jam than he ever has. He created an illusion of way more than two people playing up there. Trey and Mike finished up and then we returned to...

2001: They finally played the main theme to the song, and then delved into a funky jam that lasted probably 10 min. before they played the main theme again. This is definitely the best 2001 EVER.

Art Moving Jam: This was right at the end of 2001. Trey explained the whole art thing, which you all have heard about by now. This was a very mellow jam while the audience passed the band art over their heads over to the gigantic sculpture. It sounds a bit Floyd-ish (the mellow parts of Shine on you Crazy Diamond, maybe).

Harry Hood: The Art Moving Jam ends with Fishman giving the opening drum riff to Hood. I always find it hard to describe Hood, and this one is no exception. Trey told Chris to kill the lights so we could look at the stars and the sculpture. It was beautiful. The massive lightstick throwing during the final jam was one of the most amazing things I have seen in my life. There was an unbelievable amount of mutual energy between the band and the fans. I got IT again. The only time I've ever gotten IT twice in one show, let alone twice in one set. It was sheer beauty. And the only way they could have ever finished off the set.


Buffalo Bill: I was rushing back to my place (with my Tasty Maine Potato) near the tapers section when they started this song up. I couldn't place it at first, but it was cool once I figured it out. Nice to hear something they haven't played in ages, but aside from that it was nothing too special. The was a neat little segue into...

NICU: as much as I like this song, it was pretty standard. It was still a lot of fun, though.

Weigh: Woohoo! I always like to hear this one. A fun time was had by all. Not much else to say here.

Guyute: Oh man, I love this song. It puts the biggest smile on my face. There was only one little flub from Trey. I'd definitely put this version in second place behind the 12/29/94 Providence version. And Trey did the dark ending lyrics which really make the song.

Dirt: This is a very nice new song. Strong imagery. The slow feel let everyone know the weekend was winding down.

SOAMule: Standard until the duel section. Page went off into this jazzy little jam which the whole band then joined in. The did this for a little bit until Trey started on his section. Trey kicked it with the Digital Delay Loop Jam a la 12/29/94. Now is this jam a derivative of Dave's Energy Guide? I've never heard Dave's, so I'd like someone who has to tell me. They finished up Mule without Mike saying the weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll part, which I didn't like, but the jam in the middle was neat enough to make up for it.

Prince Caspian: This was an above average version of this song with a hard-hitting jam at the end. I did hope the set wouldn't end, but I was to be denied.

The 60000+ lighters before the encore were amazing.


Circus Comes To Town: I knew they were going to torch the sculpture with the combination of the lyrics to this song and the gigantic match next to the sculpture. I thought it would be during this song, but then I remembered that there was one more song that had to be played...

Tweezer Reprise: If there is ever a song to light something on fire to, this is it. The fire was HUGE, and the sparks reminded me of that scene in the Right Stuff where those aborigines make those sparks that John Glenn sees orbiting the earth. I don't think it left a bad vibe at all; I think it was a demonstration of the way that Phish starts anew every show. Other people are more eloquent on this subject, so I'll leave it to them. I would have enjoyed one more song, however.


This was unequivocally the best weekend of my life. The music was SO amazing that I still can't believe some of it. Get these shows as soon as you can!

I love Phish!

, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks 1997 was like a yearlong highlight reel for Phish. The summer featured open-field funk grooves that hadn't yet involuted into the knotty space-funk style of November and December, and the Went is full of big ol' summer jams in that vein. The first set of this second night is fine but undistinguished - still, check out the Tweezer > Taste. The third set, like the closing of Lemonwheel, is an exhausted after-party full of musical comedy (Buffalo Bill, Weigh, Scent) and farewell cadences.

The second frame, though, revolves around four colossal performances, and shouldn't be missed. A grand Disease burns out sloooowly into a sprightly elves-a-dancing duet between Trey and Mike (with colours from Page). Gin is one of those All You've Heard versions, a blissful major-chord crescendo over 15 minutes that inexplicably ends up in a fun Uncle Pen. The glorious Harry Hood that closes the set features a long chill jam-opening during which the audience fired up the first great glowstick war in Phish-show history - Trey sounds really moved as he calls out 'Go get more of those things!' at the end of the set.

And then there's the definitive Phish performance of 2001 (a/k/a the Deodato arrangement of the sunset from 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' by one o' them Strauss fellas). Plenty of versions of 2001 turn into dancefloor rave-ups; this one peaks not with traditionally Phishy singsong guitar but with a bass-driven groove that hops, pops, skips, skitters, funks, and passes out drunk and smiling somewhere up on cloud nine. The 10-minute 'art jam' that follows is a fine ambient interlude, but it's less a wholehearted ambient improv than one of those drawn-out song endings that cap so many Phish sets. Still, a perfect cooldown after the wild 2001, and a mini-preview of what would be Lemonwheel's highlight one year later on the same stage.

Hear this show.
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by zzyzx

zzyzx (Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

Even before it started, the second show had an advantage over the first night. Now that the storm was gone, the clothesline was hung. This much-larger-than-life clothing flapped in the breeze (the bra got special attention from the crowd), as the show opened. While no one expected “The Wedge”, it made sense after the fact. “…Limestone blocks so large,” after all. The arrangement was much closer to the Rift version than the one I had seen at Red Rocks. Alas, that was about it for the first set, other than the interesting “Tweezer”. Perhaps the first night would be the better of the two. It was at the Ball.

Then again, perhaps not. What to say about this second set. I'm actually nervous writing this review, feeling tempted to just say to listen to the tapes. The “DWD” -> “Bathtub Gin” was simply amazing, much better than my meager writing skills could convey. Sure it had the funk common to all of Summer ’97,but so much more. During “Bathtub Gin”, Trey hits this groove and runs with it. It builds and builds and builds until you think you are about to explode with joy. If you notice a weird form in the jam around twenty-four minutes into the “Disease”, that's because Jon and Page left their instruments to spray paint on little pieces of wood — similar to the pieces of wood for us to paint in the free art area.

The “Bathtub” led into “Uncle Pen” to give us a chance to reflect and try to assimilate what had gone before. One had to be able to assimilate quickly, because the next song was “2001” and it was a monster version. This is perhaps the definitive Summer ‘97 song. The funk went on and on. For a bit there Mike and Trey got their chance to spray paint (I liked Mike's the best of the four) and then came back. After nearly twenty-three minutes (!), Trey explained the point of the painting. All of our painted wood had been gathered together in a big structure. They were going to add theirs on top to make it a combined work between us and them. As the wood was passed toward the sculpture on the extreme right-hand side of the field, they played a little jam that some people have taken to calling “Art Jam”. If you don't call it a different song, the “2001” clocks at nearly thirty-three minutes, putting it just behind the 12/29/94 “Bowie” for the longest song I have seen.

The art was passed to the sculpture, putting an end to perhaps the best set of live music I have ever seen. Well that's what we thought…until they fired up “Harry Hood”. That was it, you should have seen the smiles. During the “Hood” jam, Trey asked Chris to turn off the lights, à la the Gorge. I don't know who was in charge of the video screens, but he or she was making it appear like there were multiple moons in the sky and had them chasing each other. During this jam, a new “Hood” tradition was born. Glowsticks suddenly started flying through the sky. It was beautiful. I know some people don't like the glowstick war and I understand why, but it does put on a good show. The “Hood” came to an end, Trey told us that he liked the glowsticks and we should go get more. We looked around and screamed "And we get another set of this!"

While the raw stats on this set are impressive enough (five songs, ninety-four minutes and fifty-four seconds; excluding the “Uncle Pen” makes four songs, 90:35), it is far from the only measure of this set. The playing was stunning throughout. Only the “Art Jam” doesn't hold up on tape. And when you throw in the painting, the speech about making art together, the moon, the glowsticks, you’ve got easily the best set I have seen in ages, if not ever. I don't know when I've ever been as happy as I was during the break.

Hopes ran high for the third set, but the band was effectively done for the night and understandably so. We got a cool setlist with the first “Buffalo Bill” since 12/31/94, followed by the rarities “NICU”, “Weigh”, and “Guyute”. The most surprising moment though came during “Scent”. Instead of the usual dueling solos jam, they played almost a “Mind Left Body” theme. A sweet “Prince Caspian” closed the set, and the weekend was almost over.

Phish seem to have this thing now with ending their air force base festivals with controversy. The previous year had the unfinished “Harpua”. This year had a two-song encore. “Circus Comes to Town” is a good song no matter what the naysayers complain about. During the “Tweezer Reprise” that followed, a giant match was suddenly revealed next to our art. It caught on fire and slowly descended toward the sculpture. Our art burned while Phish fiddled.

Afterward I heard a lot of theories as to why they did it. A lot of people were just pissed. "They made this big deal about this being what we could accomplish with them and they torched it." Others saw it as a prankster-esque gesture or as a way of celebrating the spontaneity of their jams. Still others were practical. Where could you store a huge tower of painted wood.

My theory is different. Once again Phish have created a moment that no one who was there would ever forget. They did it with the hot dog, they did it with the “DWD” in the sea of balloons, and they did it with the match. As I walked out the venue (to the strains of Disco Inferno) and towards the traffic jam to come, I knew that I would never forget this weekend. I think the sheer length of this review attests to that.
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by n00b100

n00b100 It's kind of hard to talk about this show, as it is a) the closing night of what most people would consider Phish's best festival, and b) as of this writing the #2 rated show on Which, I mean...Set I is perfectly fine but doesn't stand out from hundreds and hundreds of other first sets that Phish have played, and the third set is the kind of set that Phish would get utterly castigated for today if they played it at a big event or pretty much any circumstance other than the final set of an outdoor festival (take a look at 12/31/11 and tell me any of those sets are that different from this third set). What that basically means, then, is that people are rating this show that highly based upon the second set, and that that second set would have to be the second coming of Jesus crossed with 12/6/97 II crossed with a basket full of puppies, with a veritable host of "best (insert song here) ever"s, to justify this show being ranked above every show Phish has every played outside of Big Cypress. isn't, but darned if it doesn't give it the old college try, and it's no exaggeration to call 8/17/97 II one of the almighty Phish sets. DWD blends Phish's congealing funk style with some good old fashioned hard rocking, then slows to a crawl for Trey to fire off some nice licks before hitting a blissful, spacey groove (I enjoy the guy on my recording saying "they should go into something fast after this") and riding it into a really weird, but fun Trey/Mike duet, which then segues into Gin. And this Gin, of course, is widely considered one of the finest versions ever, and rightly so - the major chord jam the band breaks into is one of the most uplifting moments the band's ever produced, sheer beauty nearly unmatched in the Phish live catalog. And then it segues into Uncle Pen, but why not, right?

Then comes the second half (yes, the second half) of this monster set, starting with the 2001 to end all 2001s. Even the usual four-on-the-floor disco thump Fishman gives the song has a little added oomph to it, as he throws in some extra bass drum kicks to give the song the extra dose of funk a big-event performance deserves. The jam itself is something to behold, all surround-sound siren noises and wah-wah licks and Page's invaluable organ playing and Mike laying down glorious line after glorious line, never letting up in intensity while still remaining as chilled out as every other great 2001. It's 23 minutes of solid funk bliss, a brilliant trailer for what awaited Phish fans in the fall, and to top things off Phish segue into an "art jam" that is really more background music than full-on jam but still sounds entirely pleasant enough to serve as worthy coda to what came before. And then a lovely, lovely Hood closes things out, replete with glowsticks aplenty, a superb way to end a superb set.

So is that enough to make this the second best Phish show ever? It seems apparent that my answer is no; however, that doesn't mean it's not a truly fantastic Phish show, one that's worth listening to by anyone starting out on the road to Phish fandom. You'll enjoy the first and third sets, and keep that second set forever. That's something special, star ratings or no star ratings.
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by markah

markah (posted 13 years ago to
I will have to put in a vote for the Great Went Gin. I don't know what
it was for me...that glider dipping fantastically over the *brilliant*
sunset, maybe...but during the DwD jam and segue into the Gin I was
feeling _some_ sort of were others around me. (I know cuz I
asked :) When Gin hit its all out jam, I could not contain myself. I
was leaping up and down with pure elation. Cheezy as this sounds, it
was _pure_joy_. Honestly the single coolest musical experience of my

Strangely enough, last night I was talking with a fellow aphishianadio
the other night about the Went, and he asked me if I felt anyhting
during the Gin. When he saw my face light up, he went off about how he
just couldn't help himself from jumping up and down and feeling
absolutely *geeked* about life.

Amazing that the two of us connected like that among 66,000 ppl. (was
that the final count?) Did anyone else have a similar experience?
(Could be in Maine or anywhere else...)
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by CanadianPhan

CanadianPhan 20 years and 44 shows for me (not a guy that can tour constantly with the band and I just pick my spots) and this second set is the best I have ever seen in only my second ever show. So so glad my university buddy talked us into going to the went and not just doing the one off at Darien Lake like we had planned (although I won't scoff at that show with the Merry Pranksters and Col. Forbin which I am still chasing and will probably never get).

That said, listening to this show on the 20th anniversary while I plod away at my desk job reminds me why I ,love life and Phish. I get goosebumps every time when the hose comes in during the Gin and the wonderful highs of the peak of Harry Hood. I don't think I will see anything better than this but here's hoping. Peace and love to you all.


, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by RunawayJim4180

RunawayJim4180 I'll try to keep this brief. This weekend included my first shows, which is a pretty insane way to experience Phish for the first time. I was completely and utterly overwhelmed by the scene, the music, everything in between really....we packed three cases of beer, some herb, PB&J supplies, some chips and maybe a gallon or two or water...for three days. Epic fail that resulted in a lot of barter for basics over the course of the weekend. No matter, the people were friendly and options were unlimited for all types of trade.

After an absurdly long drive from Southern NH (I'd guess 10-12 hours, half of which was spent just waiting in line to drive into the venue) I recall an epic rainstorm the first night that pretty much rendered our tent useless, so we slept in the car instead. We woke up and checked out the scene for the first day, drum circles, lots of vendors, people searching for their friends (god, remember the days before cellphones when you relied on chance meetups or those message boards?), just a general party scene everywhere we looked. I was 17 at the time and had never seen such a massive collection of girls my age before, so I was floored by that alone. We acquired several good beers (Longtrail if I recall) and a couple of Goo Balls, and settled about halfway into the crowd, Page side.

The first set on the 16th was wide ranging and super captivating for my first set of Phish ever. I distinctly remember it being the first time I had heard Harpua, and I was just as confused as the friends I was with (most of my listening had been confined to A Live One and a smattering of live shows from UNH and other local schools). At the end of the set, my friends and I decided to partake in said Goo Balls, and all was well in the world...until right around "My Soul". I started to lose it, and suddenly I noticed I was alone in a sea of people I didn't know. This, of course, wasn't the head space I wanted to be in, so I wandered allllll the way back into the "camping" area (more like a line of tents in a semi-row) and settled into my sleeping bag to shake off the demons. I could still sort of hear the music so no big deal there....

I came to a few hours later having missed an entire set (which was awesome, btw), waking up to someone shaking me and saying "hey dude, I think you have the wrong tent?" I panicked and jumped up, trying to quickly escape before things got rough, but the guy laughed it off and said "no big deal man, it happens". I stepped out of his tent and looked around a bit, but could see nothing familiar, not my friends, our car, tent, nothing. This dude (Sean was his name) let me hang by their site in a camping chair, munching snacks and hanging out until we passed out well after 3AM. When I actually woke up a few hours later, I noticed in the grey daylight that I was about 25 yards from my intended target, not too far off for a Noob!

After missing most of 8/16, I stayed relatively sober for 8/17 and that day simply changed my life. I'm not entirely certain how anyone with ears can rank any show save 12/31/93, 12/31/95 or Big Cypress above this one, but then again, I'm pretty biased since I had several out of body experiences during that incredible day of music. The sight of 70,000 people leaping for joy during that Gin is something I return to whenever I am down about life. It never fails to bring me back to where I need to be....just epic. Everyone I've spoken to that was present felt the same thing, just that collective energy that could change the world if harnessed correctly. Even if you weren't there, you can just hearing coming through the recording, just this wave of energy! And also, the Hood, the 2001, the Disease, the Taste, the Delay Loop Jam, it was all way too much for me to take in at once.

I've been chasing that feeling since, and have come close, but never again, and thats totally ok by me. Everyone eventually has a similar peak with this band, and I can't wait until you do! Thanks Phish.
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by Slanty

Slanty The Best Phish Show I Have Ever Seen. And this is almost exclusively due to the second set (a.k.a. The best set they have ever played, IMHO). The waves of pure musical bliss that enveloped every single person at this enormous venue during the Bathtub Gin jam simply cannot be conveyed with words. Watching the band reach an enormous musical peak, then kicking it up another notch, then yet another notch, repeated until the euphoric bliss was almost too much to handle. And oh yeah, by the way, the 23-minute 2001 that followed almost immediately was also a best-ever. Throw into the mix two versions of DwD and Hood that are certainly no slouches, and.... Seriously, what more could you ask for?
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by montaigne

montaigne The second set might be the best set of Phishtory. The Gin is in the top 3 (see 7-29-98 and 7-21-97), the Disease is one of the best, and the 2001 jam is also easily in the top 2 or 3 ever.

And I wasn't there, so no bias here kids.
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by MiguelSanchez

MiguelSanchez while i think this show failed to "top" the first night, it is still a full on can't miss show. there are some serious highlights here, especially in the second set.

as for the first set, the wedge serves as a nice opener. it was still a pretty rare treat back in '97, and this one is very well played. beauty of my dreams and dog stole things worked very well following the wedge. then they shifted gears a bit, playing a pretty solid take of vultures. this song really sounded good on the '97 summer tour, and by the end of the tour, it had really taken off. water in the sky was pretty straight forward, and then, maze gave the band their first chance to really take off. as always, trey and page bounced off each other beautifully, and it seemed they were ready to kick the intensity up a notch. batr was straight forward. tweezer provided another chance for the band to improvise a bit. they explored some nice funky realms, but this one never quite caught fire. good version for the first set though. taste had some nimble trey/page exchanges before going with a carolina set closer. the first set was solid, but not out of this world.

the second set, on the other hand, was out of this world. dwd immediately takes off into the nether regions. they start off working a more rocking jam, but they eventually started to hit that funk/space realm that they were so well-known for in '97. this was a beautiful jam, and it eventually falls right into a lovely bathtub gin. this one stretches out even more so than the dwd that preceded it. fish and gordo controlled the tempo masterfully and trey and page put some beautiful licks on top of them. eventually, they find themselves in a pretty snappy jam that quickly turns over into a super fun uncle penn. after all this space funk jamming, they find themselves in uncle penn of all things. after that, they get back in the explorative funk mode. this 2001 is one of my top 5 favorites. they really have a very loose/free feel throughout this song/jam. eventually, they found themselves in an "art jam" which is pretty solid, but from what i hear, the tapes don't do it justice. then, they drop into a very focused and deep harry hood. of course, this features the first glow stick war, as kuroda cuts the lights. phish loved it; little did they know, they would be getting pelted with those damn things for the next couple of years. i wonder if they regret the glow stick war? either way, this is a killer hood.

the jam factor is turned down a notch in set 3, but this one is still a sure fire winner. buffalo bill is always a welcome set opener and this one works well into a very fun nicu. weigh is another always fun choice and i like the way it pairs up with a very tight guyute. dirt mellows things out a bit, but mule picks things right back up. the mule duel is pretty standard but still a winner. i hate caspian, but the went was so damn good that it is tough to bitch about a caspian closer. although, i would have loved to have seen a better set closer here.

circus seems to be an appropriate encore and tweezer reprise ends the festie on a rowdy note.

the first set here is probably the most unexciting of the went festival, but it is still pretty solid. the second set, on the other hand, is some sure fire must hear phish. it is just one big jam. the third set, while the jam factor is turned down, flows beautifully and has great song selection. plus, all the songs are played beautifully. as for the went, if you don't have it, get both nights. if you are a phish fan, you still don't know how good this band can be if you have not heard the great went. from a musical standpoint, this is easily their best festival.
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by aybesea

aybesea When someone asks me "Why are you so insanely rabid about Phish?", Set II of this show is a perfect answer! Though, to be totally honest, my pat response to that question, or similar ones like "what should I listen to so that I can see if I will like Phish", is usually the fan compilation "Phish Destroys America"... absolutely stunning.
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by fhqwhgads

fhqwhgads Both days of the Great Went favor their second sets heavily. Here, you get a monumental Down with Disease (-> Jam?) -> Bathtub Gin a.k.a. "The Went Gin," which I'll admit is thrilling but not necessarily worthy of "best-ever" status, then a massive 2001 -> Art Jam > Harry Hood segment, with the 2001 being one of the all-time versions and Hood boasting the first-ever glowstick war (commended by Trey himself.) The Prince Caspian in the third set is a bit longer than usual, and the appearance of the now-rare Beauty of My Dreams in the first set does much to recommend it (not to mention the Tweezer -> Taste which showcases Mike's new "attack on the bass" and foreshadows the funk theme of Fall '97.) Unlike Clifford Ball, where I am a 8/16/96 phan, here it's about the second day (8/17/97.) Honestly, I think Clifford Ball outweighs the Great Went for pure novelty, but the Went has more jamming.
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by beerman

beerman Was not there (saw my first show three days earlier at Darien Lake with a great Antelope and the Merry Pranksters). But this Gin is something I could listen to everyday for the rest of my life. It is such a beautiful piece of music that fills the soul. Cheers!
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by rgrossi

rgrossi Glad someone else noticed the Mind Left Body-esque jam in Mule

Awesome show.. incredible Tweezer and Gin
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by CanadianPhan

CanadianPhan That second set is probably the best set i have ever seen. The jamming was out of this world and you could tell that Trey meant it when he described during the art jam that "something is being created" between band and audience. "We not only feel it, we KNOW IT". You top that fan/band synergy off with the first ever glow stick war during Harry Hood with all the lights off and you know you are a part of something great. I was hooked after this show.
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by ckess22

ckess22 This Gin is too good. Sensational. Best ever? I don't know about that, but it does have the 'it' factor for me as others have said. So good. Just a soaring jam that makes you want more. The embodiment of Phish.
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround SET 1: The Wedge: Standard.

Beauty of My Dreams: Standard.

Dogs Stole Things: Standard.

Vultures: Standard.

Water in the Sky: Standard. >

Maze: Big loops in the intro, love this! Check out some of the lines Trey plays in the early going of Page’s piece. Really cool stuff. Page’s section rules. Outside of that, this is a fairly standard version I think.

Bouncing Around the Room: >

Tweezer: Your fall 97 is showing! This starts around the 11 minute mark. Just thick, syrupy funk. Sounds like 12.6.97! Would definitely recommend this version. ->

Taste: Another very strong summer 97 version.

Carolina: Standard.

SET 2: Down with Disease: Exceptional version. Hard driving for 13 minutes. Then a nice bluesy section followed by a beautiful, ambient, ethereal section to close it out. ->

Bathtub Gin: Intense bliss jam. One for the ages. >

Uncle Pen: Standard.

Also Sprach Zarathustra: Very long intro with awesome loops. Great version! Check out Mike’s bombs after the first climax, around 13 minutes in. At 18 minutes I am hearing some James Brown sounding jamming. FUNKY! ->

Art Jam: Good stuff. Had to be there’d >

Harry Hood: Incredible. Crowd energy is through the roof. An all time version for sure. Glow sticks set the band on fire!

SET 3: Buffalo Bill: Standard ->

NICU: Standard.

Weigh: Standard.

Guyute: Standard.

Dirt: Standard.

Scent of a Mule: Not a fan of this tune but can appreciate how this one gets all jazzy – pretty cool. Then the space this gets into in the late 5’s and into the 6’s is exceptional. Love this! Absolutely exceptional jam, how locked in were these guys?? This goes on for over three minutes! ->

Digital Delay Loop Jam: This is fantastic. Would have killed to have seen this live. So, so, sick. ->

Scent of a Mule: Big finish.

Prince Caspian: Bit of a face melter, but to close out the third set?

ENCORE: When the Circus Comes – Soulful.

Tweezer Reprise: Some incredible bombs dropped by Mike. Earth shattering.

Replay Value: Tweezer, Taste, Down with Disease, Bathtub Gin, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Harry Hood, Buffalo Bill, Scent of a Mule, Digital Delay Loop Jam, Scent of a Mule, Prince Caspian

Summary: All time show, all time festival. The third set was lacking but what are you gonna do? They gave it all they had and likely had no gas in the tank. Incredible tour.’s rating is on point: Overall: 4.656/5 (672 ratings)
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by Campster

Campster Sure, it's been done, here's another Went Review.

Set 1 opens in breezy fashion with the Wedge. Like the Makisupa in the previous show, it's a great table setter for a festival.

Beauty of My Dreams and Dogs Stole Things are fine, but not exceptional. It's not the strongest start to a show, but Vultures follows up and is always a treat.

Water in the Sky brings back a mellow vibe, but surrenders to an incendiary Maze that lights a fire, only to be doused by a mellow Bouncin'.

While the majority of the set is a little bit uneven to this point the ensuing Tweezer>Taste is some classic '97 stuff, with a funkified Tweezer featuring a Cities jam and a Taste (in its finest year?) that features a temendous solo by Big Red. Carolina closes the set.

Overall, it's a set with plenty of fun, but most folks probably start with the Tweezer.

Set II opens with the rumbling of DWD and this version is a doozy. Fiery soloing, yields to some upbeat blissful playing, followed by some slow & dark space funk that features Mike and Trey trading licks and treating the listener to a wonderful concluding bit of interplay.

The long version transitions nicely into the Went Gin, which is of course notable & ranked by most as one of the best jams the band has ever played. The upbeat hose is at the very least inspiring and it deserves its place aside Riverport as the best Gin the band has played in their career.

The surprising but perfectly played segue into Uncle Pen is equal parts weird and perfect.

2001 is given the full treatment as the band members take turns painting during the absolutely funky madness of a 20+ minute version of the tune. While it segues into the Art Jam which is a cool moment, it doesn't quite carry the musical muster of the previous songs.

Hood closes the perfect set in majestic fashion. Trey instructing CK5 to lower the lights for the ensuing jam is magic as it progresses from delicate to magnificent and all things in between, with Trey giddy as a child over the first ever Hood glowstick war.

Overall a perfect set, with nothing at all to complain about. It's perhaps the finest set in the band's history?

Set III is not much in comparison to the previous 5 festival sets. However, there are some moments to enjoy for sure. Buffalo Bill is slightly jammed out into NICU, which is a cool set opening. Weigh Guyute & Dirt are all adaquate. SOAM is very cool with a good DDL jam. The Caspian is perhaps the set's highlight & it is a very good version indeed.

When the Circus Comes, Tweeprise is a great conclusion.

Overall this show contains the best set of the festival (if not band's career), however the other two sets do not quite carry the majesty of the previous day's performance. Still an easy 5/5 and essential (repeated) listening for any phans.
, attached to 1997-08-17

Review by Philbombs77

Philbombs77 Just out of curiosity, what happened to the "headphones" for this show? This is the greatest second set Phish has ever played with a Top 5 Disease, Top 2 Gin, Top 5 2001, and Top 10 Hood. Not to mention the sick SOAMule->DDLJ->SOAMule in the third set.

Now that I have that out of the way, I want to weigh in on the not-so-new format. I refused to unleash my frustration at the time that the change was made (I believe it was something like last August or September). As a rule of thumb, everybody hates webpage revamps. The ensuing changes to the aesthetic of my favorite website cleaved very closely to this rule. But there have been other webpage revamps that grew on me - some pretty quickly (Slate, Deadspin) and others more slowly (NYTimes). But shares the following ignominious honor with both sites were sheer perfection in simplicity, aesthetic appeal, and navigability. And by the superfluous need to constantly "update the look" and tamper with a layout that required no tampering, I am now loath to visit either one of them.

Of course I would I be writing this otherwise? But instead of checking out once every day for a few minutes, I now take the same amount of time once every 1-2 weeks. The following is a list of the main reasons I hate the new look for (I don't have the will, at least not today, to get into the ancillary details):

1. I loved the old setlist format and fonts. It was riveting to explore Phish's setlists and come upon a show like this one (08/17/97), or 11/16/95, or 04/03/98 and see tons of songs in bold green lettering or highlighted in a perfect yellow hue. It let me know that this show had to be listened to at all costs. At one point, they put "quintessential" versions, like the 12/29/95 Gin->Real Me->Gin and the 11/12/94 Hood in bold red as to say "If you don't listen to this version, you're missing out on true ecstasy!" I fucking loved that shit, but of course it was nixed about 2 weeks after it started.

There's the seemingly eternal quest to make the copy on each page "clean" and effortless to read. Hence, the headphones. The headphones did not break up the text or call attention to any given song because they were, like the font color of every single song, completely black. Does this make the text "flow" better? Sure. But flow is something we seek when listening to the music, not perusing setlists. I would argue that people loved and very much miss the disjointed nature of the old format when looking at setlists like 12/31/99, 12/31/95, 11/27/98, or 08/13/93 from a purely chromatic and entropic standpoint....haphazard made me happy!

2. Why are the setlist years now scrolling from NYE down to the first show of the year? There's no fuckin' reason for changing that up. It's like you start with some sort of NYE show and scroll back in time when it's far more logical to scroll forward in time and end on NYE. Who wants to check out the amazing shows from November and October '94, only to see some fizzled, light-weight material from April '94 at the end. Speaking of, this site is so currently fucked up (02/25 @ 23:43 MST), it doesn't list anything from before the Bomb Factory show in 1994. WTF is going on?

3. I know this whole web redesign was supposed coincide with the new Phish Companion and the font, setlists, etc... are the same. But that makes me less likely to BUY THE BOOK. Of course, the essays and photos are the real reason Phans bought TPC3. But it didn't have to align with the website and we still would have bought it.

4. There's no heart or passion in this redesign. It seems like a kitchen with 1 chef, 2 sous chefs, 4 line cooks, the owner, and the owner's girlfriend all pushing for their paradigm of soup. Eventually, the most anthemic parts of the soup are watered down and, at the behest of the owner's gf, they add the most banal veggies and spices to make it appealing to the largest, dullest possible audience. In order to please multiple people, too many compromises were made and we get this vapid, uninspired revamp. I still have some screen grabs I took in the early and mid-'00s of shows that I hadn't yet explored and wanted desperately to get my hands (ears) on. I had no idea how much I would cherish them now that I have to put up with this drivel.

I waited a good 6 months before imparting's community with my opinion on the matter. I waited and did everything I could to Let It Grow on me (wrong band, I know). But it hasn't. Nobody outside of this community, Deadheads, Spraedheads, Cheeseheads, and (it's weird, but true) Bruce Springsteen fans understand how riveting it can truly be to flip through setlists and see what was played on a given night and what the band played the shit out of on other nights. I imagine I haven't been the only one nearly hypnotized as I scrolled through August '93, December '95, and all of Fall '97. I know we live in a great fucking world when I sit down and spend 30 minutes to write a harangue about the insipid visual quality of the new site. But I have a feeling that, despite the paucity of comment-section caviling or outright oppositional exegeses on this matter, a lot of people agree with me. And I also needed to add my two feels good to vent. Thanks for listening.
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