After a successful beginning to their fall tour in October and a blowout Halloween celebration in Las Vegas (see TMIPH October 1998), a significant number of fans remained in Sin City to gamble and enjoy the attractions while the band traveled northeast to Utah. They arrived at their hotel in Salt Lake City in the wee hours of the morning on November 1st.
This month in Phish history began with an impromptu appearance by Trey and Mike at an open-mic night at the Dead Goat Saloon in Salt Lake City. Reportedly the crowd at the Dead Goat consisted of roughly twenty people. The duo playing a number of songs by Neil Young, Bob Marley and others, beginning with the original song Driver.
The next day was a high point in the ongoing series of “you snooze, you lose” shows. Over the years, the band has been known to play particularly exceptional shows in order to make otherwise under-attended or remotely-situated gigs more unique. On November 2nd at the E Center in Salt Lake, they decided to keep the Halloween “musical costume” tradition alive for another show – that afternoon, the band requested a copy of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon CD. Backstage in their practice room, they began to learn the recording, note-for-note. The show began and the first set was full of energy and well-played. Trey was especially talkative with the crowd, and thanked some of the participants from the Dead Goat Saloon. Set two opened with Down With Disease which was followed by The Mango Song, a tune that had been played rarely in recent years. You Enjoy Myself followed and segued into an even more uncommon Harpua. The narration section consisted of a story told by Trey about the main character in the song, Jimmy, and his cat Poster Nutbag, and their journey through the desert to a sold-out show in the hectic city of Las Vegas. Trey referenced the band’s first performance in Las Vegas (December 6, 1996) which had also featured the song Harpua, that time with a guest appearance by yodelers and multiple Elvi, and continued with Jimmy getting a ride to Salt Lake City. According to the narrative, the driver of Jimmy’s godsend car was listening to Dark Side of The Moon