If only two words were allowed to describe Phish at its peak, most fans would settle for "Fall 1997". The Vermont jamband invented cow funk during that tour, indulging in lengthy freak-out with hints of ambient.
One of the most cherished sets during that tour happened at The Palace of Auburn Hills – Auburn Hills, MI on December 6. The second set was as a seamless segue of six songs: Tweezer > Izabella > Twist > Piper > Sleeping Monkey > Tweezer Reprise before the encore Rocky Top. It's a monster jam that overshadows the first set. That's a shame really. Run Like An Antelope is inspired, with guitar player Trey Anastasio cutting loose around the 12 minute mark, and the pairing of Bathtub Gin > Foam, deserve attentive listening.
Bass player Mike Gordon is the MVP of this show, with a melodic less-is-more approach, grounding the rhythms of drummer Jon Fishman and Page McConnell's keyboards. Phish took risks at Auburn Hills, like when they followed the Antelope with the surprise placement of a particularly tender Train Song. The band was not aiming to please the crowd - well maybe when they picked Cavern to end the first set. They came out to play music and please themselves. And while they were having fun, the lucky attendants were transported to a new level of jamming.
12/6/97 The Palace of Auburn Hills – Auburn Hills, MI is released on the bands's own label JEMP Records. Buy it from Phish Dry Goods. The release was created from Paul Languedoc's DAT stereo soundboard mix remastered by Fred Kevorkian. Available in MP3, ALAC, and FLAC, and as a LivePhish 2-CD set.