Halloween ’94: The Beginning


Phish & Halloween

A beloved tradition started fifteen years ago in Glens Falls, NY. Phish hadn’t played a Halloween show since 1991, having been in the studio the previous two autumns recording Rift (1992) and Hoist (1993). But in 1994, the band upped the ante. Via Doniac Schvice, their newsletter, Phish announced that the show would contain three sets, but that wasn’t all. Along with an audience costume contest, Phish would don a “musical costume” of their own, covering an entire album of another band. And there was yet another twist- they were leaving to the fans to vote on the album, and they would play the most popular choice. Many have since debated whether or not Phish went with the actual winner or selected between the most popular, but nonetheless, it brought the entire community into the process.

During the weeks leading up to the show, fans drooled with anticipation, constantly hypothesizing on which album would be selected. The leading contenders were thought to be Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, Frank Zappa’s Joe’s Garage, and The Beatles’ self-titled record known as “The White Album.” The other mystery hovering around the 8,000 person show was that no one knew when the album would be played; there was no precedent and nothing had been announced. So when Phish took the stage at 10:15 for their first set, everyone was on the edge of their seats.

1994-10-31gnRipping into the holiday-appropriate “Frankenstein,” the game began.  An extended “Simple” and a poignant “Divided Sky” anchored the beginning of the set, when unsuspectingly, the band dropped into “Harpua!”  With the opening “Oom Pah Pahs” many thought that the forthcoming narration would bring out the cover album. As the Halloween story progressed, encompassing the “Vibration of Life” and the “Vibration of Death,” Jimmy stepped to his record player. Seemingly on the brink of history, the story took a left turn as Jimmy put on a Barney album- but accidentally had placed the record on backwards.  And as the record spun in reverse, Phish played what Jimmy heard- twenty second of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs.” A classic moment in its own right, the cover would have to wait.  But before ending the set, Phish carved out room for one of the thickest, most emotional “Rebas” ever played.  In 1994, the year that “Reba” shone the brightest, this version is one of my favorites.

beatles-white-album-1During setbreak, the obvious conversation piece was the album.  Would it come in the second or third set?  Which one would it be?!  The answer came soon enough.  At midnight, the band took the stage, and through the PA the audience heard the opening heartbeats of Dark Side of the Moon, drawing howls and cheers from much of the crowd. But suddenly the heartbeat stopped, and the voice of Ed Sullivan came from nowhere introducing The Beatles.  Over the recorded squeals and screams of teeny boppers thirty years ago, Phish broke into “Back in the U.S.S.R.” It took a minute to hit everyone that they were about to cover the entire double-album, but one song at a time, over the next 90 minutes, that is exactly what they did.

Glens Falls Civic Center

Glens Falls Civic Center

While the band played most of “The White Album’s” songs  earnestly and accurately, they wouldn’t have been Phish if they didn’t add a little of their own flavor. By modifying the end of “Helter Skelter” with a barbershop quartet ending, changing the “fool on the hill” in “Glass Onion” to “Guyute the pig,” and adding some Electrolux to “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?,” Phish dappled the album with spots of Phishiness. Other interpretive moments included Mike’s bluegrass take of “Don’t Pass Me By” and a now-classic rendition of “Revolution 9”, when upon the concluding line, “You become naked,” Fishman lifted his frock over his head and pranced around nude while Page, Mike, and Trey blew bubbles and chanted behind him. This bizarre moment was forever immortalized in the booklet of liner notes for “A Live One”- page 11.

But aside from these moments, Phish’s performance was incredibly reverent, playing each song true to form. The only onstage flirtation Phish had with The White Alum was an “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” jam- not even the whole song- hence the band learned each and every one of the albums 30 songs. Several appeared sporadically throughout the years, but “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”- the song that stood out at Glens Falls- was adopted into the band ever-expanding catalog of covers.  The band stepped offstage at 1:30 am, to the recorded version of “Good Night.” But the night was hardly over.

ph941031_01About a half -hour later, Phish reemerged to a venue of mind-blown fans, some who had dozed off during the break. The band could have come out and played a five minute encore and the show would still be talked about in the annals of Phish history. But instead, they opened set three with an extended journey through a menacing “David Bowie”- this was Halloween after all! And after a “Bouncin” interlude, the band resolved the immense darkness of “Bowie” with a magnificent mid-set “Slave.” Bordering on absurdity, especially with the timing of everything, Phish raged on. The band closed the set with a smoking “Antelope” only to start the audience costume contest during the encore!  After a “Mound” Bar won the competition, the band chose “Squirming Coil” to end one of the most epic nights of their career. There would be many more, but this one was special.

And there started the Halloween tradition that we will rekindle so soon in Indio. Following up the White Album with The Who’s Quadrophenia in 1995 (another double album),Talking Head’s Remain In Light in 1996, and Velvet Underground’s Loaded in 1998- Phish firmly established the musical costume as one of their most loved annual rites. Halloween became a big as New Years Eve on the Phish calender, though the band never found their way back to October 31st after ’98’s Vegas escapade. But in2009, the year everything is coming back together- Halloween returns!


“Reba” jam 10.31.94 I

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” 10.31.94 II

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Bathtub Gin” 9.12.99 I


A perfect piece to take us into the weekend, this gorgeous jam came in a forgotten first set at Portland Meadows in ’99. An ideal tempo, the open-air sound, and some heart-tugging playing by Trey will have you grooving at your desk, cubicle, or wherever you may be. Some feel good Phish took for a Friday, this one will make you smile.



9.12.99 Portland Meadows, Portland, OR < Torrent

9.12.99 Portland Meadows, Portland, OR < Megaupload

Portland Meadows - Portland, OR

Portland Meadows - Portland, OR

This show has always lived in the shadow of The Gorge’s two-night stand that came directly before.  But with the “Gin” posted above and a monster second set, this show has plenty to offer. One of the most psychedelic “Ghosts” of the year kicked off this five song second set to the tune of 20 plus minutes. After this night we walked away with more than a few memories too go along with our black boogers.

I: First Tube, Poor Heart, Mozambique, Bathtub Gin, Get Back on the Train, My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own, Frankie Says, Birds of a Feather, Lawn Boy, Possum

II: Ghost > Runaway Jim , Roggae, Also Sprach Zarathustra > You Enjoy Myself

E: Theme from the Bottom

Source: Unknown

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358 Responses to “Halloween ’94: The Beginning”

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  1. shpongleyez Says:

    very nice. like the equinox-ish entry into helloween.

    and a theme encore…

  2. ColonelJoy Says:

    I don’t think we are ready for the “Throwdown” that will be indio.

    Think about it….

    -They are taking this fest very seriously, indeed
    -Placing it on an Island, so to speak, not around any other shows, or maybe only a few coming before it, though that even seems unlikely now, doesn’t it?…they will have everthing for the fest…no, oh they played Forbin 3 nights ago, or whatever
    -They showed us what they were capable of on leg II…they will have time at Indio to really explore what they cracked there…

    This fest will feel new and different, and I think the band is energized by that…I know Colonel is!!

  3. wonderpiece Says:

    first set this 10.31.94 show stands as one of my all-time favorite phish sets i ever got to see. the recording holds up, too, but being AT the shizzy this night was the crown jewel of phish shows i’ve ever had the pleasure or privilege of seeing. great call to give homage to this monumental all night affair. beyond.

  4. BrandonKayda Says:

    I have been very busy with school lately, but I thought I’d stop by for a minute. How is everybody doing? I see avatars have caught on now. So much for remembering people by their color.

    Miner your posts are really getting me excited for Indio. This festival will be amazing. They started out leg 2 on the “Camden Sand” level of playing, I think they’ll start Indio/Fall tour on the “Gorge Sally/Gin/Rock and Roll” level of playing. This is going to be epic, folks.

    Colonel, I hope you have a fantastic time man, you enjoy yourself. That goes for everybody. I’ll try to make it next time around. Maybe I’ll see some of you on fall tour!!!

  5. Mr. Icculus Says:

    Nothing better for breakfest than a REBA JAM thanks for the sweet vid and a good start to a Fri. morning MINER!!

  6. HarryHood Says:

    @ Mr C & El D

    Thanks for the info in yesterday’s post about TeamHood vids. I have this bad habit of asking a question on here at 4:25 and then leaving work before I get a chance to read the responses.

  7. HarryHood Says:

    And somebody needs to fill me in what exactly the black boogers comment is all about in today’s DOTD……. I’m not an expert on phishtory, but I’m also not new to the game either and this one has me stumped

  8. BTB Says:

    Gotta love Trey’s shirt in that WMGGW video – I think Madonna used to sport that in the late 1980s

  9. EL Duderino Says:

    The Best Halloween Show Ever!!! I was there and it blew away Quadrophenia and all the rest!! Sorry Guys The Beatles are still Kings of Rock And Roll!!!!!!

  10. EL Duderino Says:

    So, We’re having a major debate over @ Lossless Legs about which 11/21/97 and 11/22/97 Hampton, VA. sources are the best in circulation.

    Superfreakie says hands down the AKG 460b/ck61 b18 source is far superior!

    hseamons says it’s the CMC6/MK41 source is where it’s at.

    Myself: I like the FOB MK4 Jason Sobel transfer

    Any thought here? Would love to hear opinions !

  11. dyda Says:

    good dl o’the day. cool stormy pic of ‘the portland pig racing arena’ too. like the recent ’99 love. this ghost is actually closer to half an hour. the phish companion has a funny caption regarding this version, something to the effect of: ‘colossal virtual reality train ride across the frozen tundra of saturn’s moon titan which dives down a wormhole and deposits you on the moors of 12th century england’

    fall tour dates? still hoping for those two cinci dates. also checked out the rangers’ schedule and msg is totally available for the rumored dates.

  12. sumodie Says:

    That Portland ’99 show wrapped up my first foray to the NW to see 4 Phish shows (Vancouver>Gorgex2>Portland). While I don’t remember song specifics, I do recall the 2nd set being an epically fun groove fest (bring back Roggae!), plus this 4 show run showed me how chill the NW vibe is.

    My ex- and I went to these shows (and the ’03 Gorge shows) because our good phish-loving friend had moved to Seattle -and now in 2009 all three of my tour mates live in WA state -argh!. However, we had a triumphant 2009 Gorge reunion that more than made up for them being unable to walk into Coventry with me. Note to Phish, please play the gorge x3 yearly from now on!

    Perhaps the most memorable thing about Portland among my crew is that it marked only the second time ever in our touring history that I was unable to stay awake and drive my crew safely back home (the other time was in Philly and involved crack heads -ugh!). ‘Bout time they started helping with the driving anyway…yes, I was always and still am the tour logistics guy -one of my nicknames with them is ‘TicketMasters’ as my last name is Masters.

    I think Miner’s black booger comment had to do with all the dust our dancing kicked up off the horse track.

    Thanks for another great DLotD, Miner.

  13. dyda Says:

    it’s a dusty venue so you end up with gross chunks of disturbingly dark solid snot. kinda like what happened to me at rothbury. i imagine it’s similar at bonnaroo. can’t be helped unless you wear a surgical mask. maybe not even then. gas mask?

  14. HarryHood Says:

    Ahhh…… Nice chilly Fall in the Northeast arena rock. Gimme some dates!!!!!

  15. sumodie Says:

    RE: Portland ’99

    Forgot to add how crushed I was when I heard the band FINALLY dropped ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ at the very next show in Boise Idaho. I believe they had been teasing it all summer long. Frak me!!!

  16. sumodie Says:

    As for Halloween ’94, while we had got IT (the band/music) by then, we still hadn’t quite gotten all of IT: that driving 4/5/6/7+ hours was nothing to see the next show. I recall reading the Schvice about Halloween and thinking how far away Glens Falls was from Boston, then realizing after the fact how close in fact Glens Falls was. All in good time I suppose -we had 15th row at the Garden for the Hot Dog ride on NYE. The good times really began to flow after that one.

  17. dyda Says:

    it’s frell not frak. stargate copied farscape. and scifi (syfy HA) blows.

  18. sumodie Says:

    tour dates today…tour dates today…tour dates today…tour dates today…tour dates today…tour dates today…tour dates today…tour dates today…tour dates today…tour dates today…tour dates today…tour dates today…

    A little positive thinking can’t hurt 8)

  19. Little Buddy Says:

    Man. I still get chills when I listen to the second set of the Sunday (3/8) Hampton show. That still might be the best set they’ve played this year! I’m not trying to start another debate – just sayin’… Sick segue from Twist to 2001.

  20. sumodie Says:

    “it’s frell not frak. stargate copied farscape. and scifi (syfy HA) blows.”

    Frak that!

  21. notkuroda Says:

    anyone down to GET BASSED tonight?

  22. Jay Says:

    > Man. I still get chills when I listen to the second set of the Sunday (3/8)

    I was just talking to a friend of mine and we determined that from all points of view (venue, energy, epicness, etc…) The 3 ’09 Hampton shows rank as the best time, the most memorable time we had all year. Taken as a whole, those shows stand out, stand up, and stand over all the other shows we managed to catch.

  23. dyda Says:

    do yourself a favor and check out the far superior show that ben browder and claudia black starred in before joining sg1. frelling hezmana, do you have the mivonks for that dren? then look into the history of the syfy (HA) executives’ decision to cancel their original flagship program’s contracted final season in order to finance the transplanted showtime’s stargate. note how well syfy (HA) has done since then.

  24. dyda Says:

    should be noted that there are no problems with the original galactica tho. recalling yesterday, i’m just geeking it up a bit is all

  25. SOAM Says:

    What’s a black booger?

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