Let me tell you something you already know… 1997 was an incredible year for Phish! You don’t need me to tell you the merits of 1997, but hot damn was it ever a good year for “2001.” “Superbad” by James Brown has it’s stamp all over 1997 with teases in almost every version. It is a funky year for Phish and “2001” takes the funk direction from the “Godfather of Soul.” Here are the best of the best from 1997:
7/10/1997 Espace Julien, Marseilles, France
This version is the best of the Europe 97 “2001’s” and is one of my favorite versions period. It is uptempo and tight with a ton of energy. This version has it all. There is a hilarious “Bye, Bye, Foot” request from the audience, hilarious banter from Trey, clearly a full on dance party, and a “Star-Spangled Banner” outro. Trey plays a lot of rhythm and is on point, then destroys humanity with a murky “Superbad” jam. This is a must listen verison.
08/06/1997 Riverport Amphitheater, Maryland Heights, MO
“2001” comes back to the U.S. with a bang! “Superbad” city in the first jam. It has a very Frampton “Do you Feel Like I Do” feel in the second jam, only on steroids and with serious funk.
08/13/1997 Star Lake Amphitheatre, Burgettstown, PA
More “Superbad” and more second jam destruction in this version. This is also a major deep grooving “2001” with some great Trey soloing.
08/17/1997 Loring Commerce Centre, Limestone, ME
One of the greatest “2001’s” ever. Period. This has it all. It contains one of the deepest grooves ever laid down and the final segment starting at 18:00 is illegal. Estimated times I have listened from 18:00-22:52 is about 4,324. Funk beyond words.
11/14/1997 The “E” Center, West Valley City, UT
This is a version that I liked better than my panel. I just can’t get over how awesome the second jam is. It is a beautifully grooved jam centered around “Crosseyed and Painless.” Trey’s leads are beautifully meshed with Page’s raindrops. Mike’s bass is STRONG providing an exceptional contour.
11/19/1997 Assembly Hall, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL
Another one of the all time greats. The jazz/groove/funk combo in the first jam is incredible. Mike’s bass sounds fantastic. Star Trek Red Alert sirens at 5:30. Jam 2 contains a Fishman clinic. 13:30 goes Wentian Next Level. PURE LIQUID HOT MAGMA. This version is easily in the “best ever” conversation.
11/26/1997 Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT
In from the best “Zero” ever, this sucker is fire from the start. Wickas from Trey galore, we go next level at 5:15. 6:00 mark goes even higher level. Straight Nuclear from Trey. Page is sprinkling in gorgeous raindrops throughout. Jam 2 features some serious “Superbad” funk that goes into some start/stop jam. This version is pure filth and the move into “Cities” is awesome.