It was an inter-generational psychedelic meeting of the minds when Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters hooked up with Phish at the peak of their powers at an amusement park in the summer of 1997.
On the final show before their summer closing single band festival at the very tip of Maine, The Great Went, Phish had already delivered three quarters of a show packed with highlights.
The famous Furthur bus was spotted in the parking lot that day, but not many expected the absurdist circus that occured when Trey introduced Kesey as part of the Col Forbin's narration. The author, LSD patriarch, acid test host and all around figurehead of sixties counter-culture held court -- referencing the loss of Jerry Garcia, The Bozos, and the Wizard of Oz, complete with costumed Pranksters in key roles.
It was a jolt and somewhat of a torch passing for Phish - who actively distanced themselves from the Grateful Dead but would soon come to intermingle in surprising ways in the years that followed.
In 2011, Phish shared a pro-shot clip of the show at their Super Ball IX Festival, and a video had surfaced that grabbed the action from the screen. It's a must watch, but we eagerly anticipate the day when official video of this emerges.
Setlist via Phish.Net
Soundcheck: Buffalo Bill, The Old Home Place, Funky Bitch, Crosseyed and Painless
SET 2: Chalk Dust Torture, Love Me, Sparkle > Harry Hood -> to "Forbin." " data-placement="top" data-toggle="tooltip" href="http://phish.net/song/jam" title="">Jam > Colonel Forbin's Ascent -> Merry Pranksters Jam -> Camel Walk, Taste
 Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters.
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 a Somewhere Over the Rainbow tease from Trey, an If I Only Had a Brain tease, a Spam Song quote, and a Frankenstein jam.
Full show audio