The second set featured a remarkable jam after Harry Hood ended and before Forbin’s began, as well as an appearance by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. The Merry Pranksters Jam contained an Over the Rainbow tease from Trey, an If I Only Had a Brain tease, a Spam Song quote, and a Frankenstein jam.
Jam Chart Versions
If I Only Had a Brain, Frankenstein, Spam Song, and Over the Rainbow teases in Merry Pranksters Jam
Debut Years (Average: 1990)

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

Show Reviews

, attached to 1997-08-14

Review by jwelsh8

jwelsh8 (Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion . . . )

My brother Josh, my friend Brian Zelizo, and I drove up from Pittsburgh that morning, through Erie (saying hi to relatives and dropping a car off), on our way to a theme park outside of Buffalo, NY. The night before, at Star Lake, Phish played a nice show, opening with the only “Amoreena” ever, a great “Gumbo” jam into the only “Horse” > “Silent” of the tour, “Crosseyed” -> “Wilson” with the “Little Drummer Boy”, and “Ghost” -> “Isabella”. A really fun show.

I wasn't really expecting much out of the Darien Lake show, since it was the last show before the Great Went. I was thinking that the band was going to play some throwaway songs to set themselves up for six sets of strong music with no repeats. But it was a gorgeous day as we drove along, listening to some tapes from earlier that summer in Europe (thanks to Charlie D.), playing Piper and Limb by Limb for the first time for Brian. Josh and I didn't have tickets, but we weren't too worried, thinking we could snag some there.

When we arrived at the venue, we realized we had some work to do. I was incredibly surprised to find that 'heads didn't want my cash; they wanted nugs or other “kind” things for their extras. But I had lots of cash! It was kind of amazing, if you ask me. Nevertheless, Josh found a lawn seat. After a little more hunting, I actually found a nice mail-order ticket, halfway down on Fishman's side. We headed in close to show time.

The first set included a fun “Ya Mar” opener, “Fluffhead”, a “Limb By Limb” — new for all of our ears, a beautiful “Tela”, and to close, a raging “Antelope”. This is a great version, where Trey starts and stops three or four times, building a huge tension and releasing it. They picked it up a notch at the end, and left us wondering what to expect for the next set.

After the “Chalk Dust” opener, they played two songs for Elvis: “Treat Me Like a Fool”, and "Elvis' favorite Phish song", “Sparkle”. Now is where the weirdness and surprises started. They broke out into “Harry Hood”, which caused a huge smile to cross my brother's face. This otherwise normal “Hood” went into a little five-minute jam at the end. Very cool. After the show, some were guessing it was “Blow Wind Blow”, but I think it was just a jam all to itself. The jam flowed into “Colonel Forbin's Ascent”. As Trey began the story, he said it began just like all of the other stories, except this one was a little different.

That was a definite understatement! Trey introduced Uncle Ken "Easy Greazy" Kesey, and that is where reality stopped. Ken Kesey and His Merry Pranksters (The Bozos!) proceeded to turn Darien Lake on its head. "The Wind doesn't blow — it sucks!" Costumed Birdmen walked through the crowd, midgets and monsters walked the stage (including “Frankenstein” with accompaniment by the band), all while Phish tried to play along. When they weren't laughing they were playing a low, funky sort of beat. I couldn't stop laughing myself.

That was surprise number one that night. It really shouldn't have been a surprise though: Ken and his Krewe were making their way east from Cleveland, after the Further bus was "inducted" into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The bus stopped in Erie, and made their way to Darien that afternoon. We could actually see the bus from our seats behind the stage.

As for surprise number two, well, that came as Ken left the stage. Phish's groove started to pick up a little, getting louder and funkier, as Trey started his story back up again. He started talking about going to find the Mockingbird that Ken helped them find, but he realized they couldn't, because "the Funk was too thick!" With that, the band launched into “Camel Walk”. I lost it right then and there, listening to one of only three or four “Camel Walk”s since the early ‘90s. Wasn't really a throwaway show after all, eh?
, attached to 1997-08-14

Review by AShipToQuebec

AShipToQuebec Trying to review this show after 16 years is impossible, although I just listened to it again on phishtracks.

This was my first show.

My big brother, Jer, a phan who saw them their previous appearances in Montreal in the nineties had made me aware of them on strange unmarked cassette tapes I dug into, the strains of which often were heard oozing out of his '76 Chevy Impala. I particularly remember listening and relistening to the album versions of Tweezer, Chalkdust, Mango, Stash and Cavern in those days. I don't think I'd ever heard a live recording before going to my first show, with the exception of A Live One.

So Ya Mar was a surprise, the whole scene was an epiphany, and better yet, we got The Merry Pranksters.

Jer, who'd bought me a ticket via TBM and drove me there with his girlfriend, had recently cofounded a theatre troupe which had staged a unique version of Kesey's One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest at the Montreal Fringe Festival that very summer. We COULD NOT BELIEVE OUR EYES when we saw the magic bus and especially when the 2nd set Bozo madness began led by Ken Kesey himself...

I won't comment on their performances, technical-wise (although 2nd set closer Taste seemed absolutely transcendent to me at the time) -- I was a newbie. But I do know that the road tripping, full-of-surprises, ecstatic, tongue-in-cheek sets that night, with my only (and treasured FUNK IS TOOOO DEEP!) Camel Walk so far in 17 shows (as of today, although I somehow got tix to Glens Falls this October 23rd 2013), a gorgeous Tela, and an immaculate, super evening on the lawn is what hooked me permanently and made Phish one of my favourite lifelong hobbies.
, attached to 1997-08-14

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks The first set is a well-constructed run of songs, but the Kesey visit is the big talking point here. Don't get too excited about the Hood > Jam > Forbin's setlist - the jam emerges from the closing chord of Hood, not the in-song improvisation. And the Pranksters rap isn't exactly gonna burn up your speakers either. It's about the moment, not the music; alas for the music. But the moment really is huge - two visions of the counterculture, one west-coast homegrown and defiantly political, one comparatively sanitized and decidedly northeastern in character, passing a torch in a field in western New York. Trey's post-Kesey snark and boisterous Camel Walk callout reclaim the moment for the postpunk generation, but for deep-sea improv you'll have to hear the Great Went instead - or even the inaugural Star Lake show from the night before, with its spectacular Gumbo and smoking Set II.
, attached to 1997-08-14

Review by MiguelSanchez

MiguelSanchez trey sums it all up when kessey walks off the stage. paraphasing..."that's what happens when you eat too much acid." this is sloppy but interesting. its worth the listen...
, attached to 1997-08-14

Review by TheEmu

TheEmu The Merry Pranksters bit is one of those truly unique pieces of art. It is simultaneously utter rubbish and stunning genius. It is not "good" or "bad." It just is. Something to be rarely listened to...but something that must be revisited.

The Antelope is quality stuff, and the Hood itself is pretty great. I don't know what to say about the jam that follows it, though. At times, I almost enjoyed it, but it was mostly just curious.

I've gone with four stars, but like I said, it's probably both a 1 and a 5.
, attached to 1997-08-14

Review by d21cohen

d21cohen I wouldn't usually say this, but sacrificing the Mockingbird to the Funk was definitely a good call on this night. The Camel Walk alone is worth getting this show. IMO the tune gets a 10/10. Don't miss this Walk if you're a fan of the 97 bovine groove.
, attached to 1997-08-14

Review by nichobert

nichobert Seek this one out for the jam into the beginning of Colonel Forbin's Ascent. I've never heard of another jam into CFA, and this jam has a pretty unique sound and progression to it. Fairly reminiscent of the 8/10/97 Rotation Jam out of Good Times Bad Times. Would that scare people away? I'm not sure, but that rotation jam and this Forbins intro are both weirdly awesome.
, attached to 1997-08-14

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks (Not to say the post-Hood jam isn't lovely. It's just not a 'Type II' Hood, is the point.)
, attached to 1997-08-14

Review by Palmer

Palmer One of my Favorite Phish shows. My First 97 experience, and it would be just that an experience. The crowd really seemed stoked for something special, and something special was just moments away.
SET ONE- Ya Mar took me by surprise as Phish usually does, Funky Bitch > Fluff, Limb By Limb. Wow! Phish destroys Darien. Free, CTB continued to bring progressive play from the lawn, Tela- One of my all time favorite Phish songs, my only time hearing this rare gem. Thanks guys. Trainsong > Billy Breathes, Continuing with the Billy Breathes Album in full force, To close the set a mind boggling Antelope.
SET 2- Chalkdust, Love me > Sparkle, Harry Hood. We are and have been taken hostage by Phish, this second set was becoming to be something out of the Twilight Zone, The funk and ambient jamming from Hood continued to transform the Darien Crowd into zombies of the funk. Col. Forbin, wow~ another Gamehendge rarity. What in Christ's Name is going on in this semi circled venue? Ken Kesey comes out with a circus montage, this is becoming to be a strange night. Then the long adored Camel Walk > BOOOOOOOOOOZOOOOOOOOOO! Taste to end the strangeness and the awesomeness of Buffalo 97.
ENCORE- Bouncing > Rocky Top, What a strange experience to say the least. For this being my First Darien show i arrived back to Darien lake for several shows after being injected with the phlow of greatness.
, attached to 1997-08-14

Review by spreaditround

spreaditround SET 1: Ya Mar: Perfect tune to open a summer show. This one is quite standard though.

Funky Bitch: Standard. >

Fluffhead: Thought this version was quite strong.

Limb By Limb: Standard.

Free: Rougher than usual vocals?

Cars Trucks Buses: Seemed to have a little extra gas in the tank. Fun version.

Tela: Good stuff! >

Train Song: Standard. >

Billy Breathes: Oh man, don’t care how well they play this. Momentum that Tela created has been erased.

Run Like an Antelope: Has your typical Antelope jam, then it gets upbeat and almost major chord, and then it just takes a deep, dark dive into a very intense, evil space. Buckle up because this gets nuts. Listen to Page CRUSH that baby grand during the climax. This version is a no brainer all timer for sure. Totally electric!!!

SET 2: Chalk Dust Torture: Briefly sojourns down the dark summer 97 signature path.

Love Me: Vocals are putrid.

Sparkle: Elvis loved this song, lol. >

Harry Hood: What is all the cheering about around the 8 minute mark? Explosive and powerful Hood, truly stellar jam. ->

Jam: I guess I had kind of forgotten how cool this jam was. The first section is very quiet and spacey. Then, it gets into a very energetic sort of space with that signature summer 97 sound. Things get exceedingly weird for about the last minute and a half of this jam. >

Colonel Forbin's Ascent: Short Trey story and then the Kesey intro ->

Merry Pranksters Jam: Does not translate on tape. If I hear Bozo’s one more time… ->

Camel Walk: What you would expect.

Taste: Another awesome version from 97.

ENCORE: Bouncing Around the Room – Crowd goes berserk during the encore break only to be exceptionally let down with the encore selections. Bouncing is sloppy.

Rocky Top: Standard.

Replay Value: Run Like an Antelope, Harry Hood

Summary: Long show, 2:59. To me, this show is vastly overrated. I would rate it as a 3.75 out of 5. has it as - Overall: 4.288/5 (163 ratings).
, attached to 1997-08-14

Review by beerman

beerman My first Phish shows. Loved the opening Ya Mar - Funky Bitch - Fluffhead; it gave a great feel to the afternoon/evening and had the crowd in a good mood as I recall. Antelope to end the first set was...outstanding in its energy and focus.
, attached to 1997-08-14

Review by markah

markah (posted nearly 13 years ago at regarding Mike's performance of "Love Me" that night...)

Oh my God..are you deaf? ;^) This was absolutely terrible! First of
all, Mike started in the _wrong key_ and the guys were cringing
throughout the whole song. Even Mike (after his face'd get all sour
from creening to hit the high notes...which were WAY to high for him
;) was looking over at Trey/Page with a completely embarresed look
around. It was novel for a bit, but then it's lack of musicality got
annoying. I'm suprised they didn't abort it. This single song was
_the_worst_ I have ever heard or seen Phish play a song. It truly was
that bad. And while were at it, the Fluffhead wasn't just messy, it was
SLOP. Everyone raves at this show for a Tela and a Forbin, but the show
was pretty crappy, IMO (and much of that was thanks to Kesey.) The
Camel Walk was nice, but the Taste lacked the energy I'd seen at Alpine
and the Went. Even the Hood tonight seemed to lack the glory it usually
carries - possibly the fault of the fireworks. The First set was poor,
and was saved only by the raging Antelope..but Set I gets a 4.0 on the
S.J. scale tops. 3.5 is probablly more honest. Set II is noteworthy
ONLY for the Chalkdust, which was only average, and the Camelwalk,
which, IMO, wasn't that splendid...only rare. :) While not
"liquidation material" because of the Kesey thing (annoying as it
was...) this is not a set I'll listen to over & over again.

Sorry, I didn't mean to go off on you like that, but I never posted my
tour review like I promised I would, and you stating that Love Me was
all fine and dandy struck a chord. Nothing personal, I'm sure you know.

Take care,

- Mark

PS: I know this is semi-contradictory, but the coolest thing I have
ever heard said by Trey was "So we're supposed to do Mockingbird now? .
. . But the funk is too deep!" (Pet Peeve: He never said "but we
can't" as I've seen misquoted in the HPB and in various .sig files.
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