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Winston-Salem: Fall, 11-23-1997.

Well, we only caught one show in 1997, in Winston Salem, NC @ LJVM Coliseum. Our intention was to camp the night before, explore downtown in the early day, and spend the afternoon in the lot before the show.
We had plenty of tapes for the long ride up, and our trunk was full of our camping gear & a case of Sammy Smith's Oatmeal Stout on ice. The rest of our friends backed out at the last minute, so I was still holding four extra tickets. Can you believe that I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get rid of them?


Once in the mountains, the fog made it impossible to see more than 30 yards in front of us, and the only campsite sign we saw was for an RV park. We spent four hours circling and dissecting the town in search of camping, but were ultimately disappointed. We stopped at a restaurant, close to the coliseum, where we saw a couple vans with Phish stickers on them, and sold two tickets to pay for a hotel room. 11-23-97 LJVM Coliseum- Winston-Salem NC
1: My Soul/ Theme From The Bottom/ Black Eyed Katy/ Sparkle/ Twist Around/ Stash -> NICU/ Fluffhead/ Character Zero/
2: Bathtub Gin -> Jam, Down w/ Disease* -> Low Rider** -> Down w/ Disease***/ Axis: Bold as Love E: Julius * w/ Isabella tease ** w/ Trey & Fishman singing *** Don't Stop Till You Get Enough tease, Michael Jackson cover

At the hotel, we met a couple who had come from Tenessee to see the show who were without tickets...but not for long. Until then, I had no idea that the show had sold out. We spun our sticks, talked & drank a couple beers before retiring, so we could make the most of our day in Winston Salem. If only we had known.
We learned at the visitor center that there are four options a visitor to WS has on a Sunday morning (and the visitor center was one of them)... Church, the mall, stay put, or stroll Old Salem. We chose to walk the streets for a while until we got frustrated and bored, and went to the lot. Fortunately, we were not alone in out boredom, and they were forced to open the lot early to accomodate the crowd of anxious visitors.

The only complaint about my experience in the lot was the insufficient six Port-o-let's supplied for the public. Security allowed the 'merchants' to keep their shops set up until near dusk before breaking things up. The gates opened nearly on time & we entered quite swiftly. We chose seats directly off the floor and next to the first-aid station. I was pleased to see very few injuries, and only a couple kids who had 'lost it', but everyone who went back, soon returned in much better condition.
We ran into a handful of friends who we had not seen since college, and a couple from Savannah who I had not seen most of this year. Talking to them had me wishing I could have taken time off to see the two days in Hampton, but I still was completely overwhelmed by the sheer energy the band had exerted that evening.
One unfortunate soul in the lot stopped us on the way to the car, pleading me to tell her that they didn't play Sanity. She seemed more content knowing they didn't, so I refrained from mentioning the Low Rider & incredible Bathtub Gin jam that resounded in my noggin the entire trip home.

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