Phish Plays Nearly Hour-Long Rendition Of ‘Runaway Jim’ On This Date In 1997

By Andy Kahn Nov 29, 2018 2:08 pm PST

When it comes to Phish’s 1997 Fall Tour most of the attention rightly focuses on the funky new approach the foursome from Vermont incorporated into a number of standout shows. Their appearance on November 29, 1997 included what’s on record as their longest jam to date, as they stretched “Runaway Jim” to almost one hour to open the second set.

The second night of a three show run at the Worcester Centrum in Worcester, Massachusetts was the setting for the mammoth “Runaway Jim.” According to Phish.net, the performance of the Phish original clocked in at 58 minutes and 48 seconds – longer than any other entry on the 20 Minute Jams Chart (save for all out “jams” such as the IT Tower Jam). The Phish.net setlist for the show notes “Beauty of My Dreams,” “Harry Hood” and “Super Bad” teases during the multifaceted improvisation.

At times patient and bluesy, the sprawling jam transitions through moments of hard-charging heavy rock, dark ambience, cacophonic soundscapes and fiercely melodic group play throughout the ever-evolving excursion. Guitarist Trey Anastasio often steers the direction of improvisation, with drummer Jon Fishman also helping to drive the foursome through the various segments that make up the jam. With those two laying the foundation, bassist Mike Gordon and keyboardist Page McConnell add elements of rhythm and melodic textures to further embellish the impromptu composition.

Toward the back end of the improv (that somewhat surprisingly never settled into the Cow Funk prevalent during the tour) there’s also a heavy jam on the Phish classic “Weekapaug Groove,” which saw the quartet nearly completing an instrumental performance of the longtime original. Set aside about an hour and dig into the longest Phish jam on record via the “Runaway Jim” captured below:

[Originally Published: November 29, 2016]

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