Fresh off the heels of a three-night run that put an exclamation mark at the end of Summer’s Leg 2, word came down this week from Phish, Inc. that another piece of the band’s Holy Grail would be receiving the Kevorkian remastering treatment. Joining the ranks of other epic Fall ’97 shows from Denver (11/17), Dayton (12/7) and Hampton/Winston-Salem( 11/21-23) released by LivePhish over the years, The Palace of Auburn Hills (12/6) release brings another exceptional show to light with the best possible sound available today.
As noted by Phish archivist Kevin Shapiro, “with an under-recognized set I and a renowned set II that must be heard in one sitting, preferably loud with headphones” this show is absolutely not to be missed.
Listen to the remastered Bathtub Gin -> Foam below
Much like the Antelope that opened the recent Dicks’ show, the 12.6.97 version in the two-slot sets the tone for a high-energy experience complete with layered jams and seamless segues later in the night. The first set also welcomes a smooth transition between Bathtub Gin and Foam and the popular pairing of Fee > Maze. Although Set II’s flow get the praise online and beyond, these first set elements are just as significant for placing this show in nearly every fan’s top 5.
12.6.97 Set II, what can one even say about this set? Perhaps the easiest place to start is where the band set the tone for the rest of the evening in the now-elusive slow-build in Tweezer. A full 110-seconds of subtle Tweezer licks from Trey, Page and Mike effects and Fish’s efforts on the cymbals and woodblocks welcome an aggressive launch into 22-minutes of full-on Fall ’97 Phish. The energy created by this intro carries the band through effortless segues into pure rock (Izabella), funk and space through to another now-elusive slow build: Piper. Relatively young at the time, the Twist > Piper (or vice versa) combo has been solid throughout Phish’s three eras. The build on this Piper in particular rivals its friends from Europe ’97 and the months ahead.
After a 55-minute musical clinic highlighting just what makes Phish Phish, a drop into Sleeping Monkey gives everyone a chuckle and a chance to catch their breath before Tweezer Reprise blows the roof of the Palace (with a CK5 effect that this reviewer misses from ’97 Tweeprises).
This show is at the top of the best show list of a band that has played 1,400+ shows; with that in mind it speaks for itself. Obviously the proof is in the performance from a band at the top of their game. Don’t sleep on this release. Your headphones will thank you.
Phish: The Palace of Auburn Hills Tracklisting:
12/6/97 – Auburn Hills, MI
1. Golgi Apparatus (5:35)
2. Run Like Antelope (16:30)
3. Train Song> (2:44)
4. Bathtub Gin> (12:36)
5. Foam (10:24)
6. Sample In a Jar (5:04)
7. Fee> (5:36)
8. Maze (15:10)
9. Cavern (4:50)
1. Tweezer> (22:25)
2. Izabella> (9:27)
3. Twist> (7:44)
4. Piper> (14:12)
5. Sleeping Monkey> (6:05)
6. Tweezer Reprise (4:33)
7. Rocky Top (2:53)
The release was created from Paul Languedoc’s DAT stereo soundboard mix, re-masteredby Fred Kevorkian and contains 16 songs, totaling 2 and a half hours of music. The 2- CD LivePhish Limited set is available on CD, exclusively at Phish Dry Goods, and also for download exclusively at livephish.com, and is slated for release on JEMP Records September 24, 2012.