Yes, I know this show is pretty popular. But it’s really popular for only one reason–Ghost. A couple weeks ago, Guy and Poster debated between two different Ghosts in a segment of Tales of Mental Tangle (see article here); one of the versions defended was Lakewood’s. That debate got me listening to 7/23/1997’s version again. Did I like it? Of course. However, I’m here today to explain why the rest of the show is just as good.
First, I love when shows open with Julius. Julius gets energy up quickly and a wonderful daytime song. This version is quite unique; it’s nearly 15 minutes long. The jam takes its typical route but then eventually sinks into an atypical jam before blasting back up into the end. It’s not quite a type II jam, but it’s certainly pushing the song’s traditional boundaries.
Set 1: Julius, Dirt, NICU > Dogs Stole Things > Ginseng Sullivan, Water in the Sky, Limb By Limb, Split Open and Melt, Billy Breathes, Possum
Set 2: Punch You In the Eye, Ghost > Sample in a Jar, You Enjoy Myself -> Rocky Mountain Way Jam > Chalk Dust Torture
After an unusually placed Dirt, the triple combo of NICU > Dogs Stole Things > Ginseng came next. Dogs would be another bustout I’d welcome this upcoming tour.]
Ok, I just want to get to the real reason I’m here. Yes, the Ghost is a disco dance inferno, but the YEM is off the hook. Yea, I just said ‘off the hook’. After the trampolines segment, Trey slowly plays funky as per most 1997 YEMs (and songs in general). Soon, the jam kinda dissolves. Wondering what to do, Trey starts plucking his strings a bit. Eventually what he’s plucking catches on. It’s a slow, bluegrassy, Scent of a Mule sort of sound. It builds louder and louder and faster and faster. When Fish starts keeping up with the snare, everyone goes nuts. The jam is one of the most unique versions of YEM ever. Trey all of a sudden belts out “wash uffuzi…”, but instead of starting the vocal jam, they keep jamming while screaming the “wash uffuzie” lyrics over the jam. It keeps getting fast and faster until it erodes into a brief version of Rocky Mountain Way. Awesome. Every Phish fan has to hear this. I totally forgot about it until two weeks ago.
The second-set-closing Chalk Dust is impressive too. The beginning and opening lyrics segments are heavily improvised. Trey mumbles most of the lyrics quietly. The jam soars. The guitar solo blasts the entire crowd into space to end the show.