Halloween ’94: The Beginning

phishpumpkin

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

[audio:http://phishthoughts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/1-04-Track-04.mp3]

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.

=====

DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

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”

  1. Mr.Miner Says:

    how do you guys find images small enough for an avatar….excuse me if this is a moronic question…

  2. Chuck D Says:

    There is a cropping tool. No matter the size of the image, you can adjust it to fit the area of the image you wish to be your avatar.

  3. Chuck D Says:

    Just throw any image in there, and crop to please.

  4. fat bastard Says:

    You will be able to bring ANYTHING into Indio. and a case of beer a day is par for the course for this guy

  5. whole tour! Says:

    miner…you can use any image.

    When it asks you to crop and save the image…the crop box expands. It will expand to almost the entire pic.

  6. whole tour! Says:

    @chuck D

    i’ll be wearing my “shiitake happens” shirt to the gordo show tonight!

  7. Lycanthropist Says:

    i love shitake mushrooms and use them in my cooking often.

  8. whole tour! Says:

    gonna leave for the beach in about a half hour!
    I’ll tell mike everyone says “HEY!”

  9. joe Says:

    getting back to the charts for a second. On billboard, Joy is the #1 independent album (I still prefer that word), and the #3 alternative, or the other way around. Anyway, I think it probably isn’t so much an indication of new fans as it is a statement about the state of ‘album’ sales in general. I could be wrong, haven’t actually compared any of the sales numbers / chart positions with previous albums….

    oh, and I thought Donny Baseball was the greatest hitter of our generation.

  10. BingosBrother Says:

    @AW, Fat Bastard, El dude and all other Chitown PTers.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Reggies Rock Club on 21st and State but it is a dope place to see a show (good food, booze, a sweet record store on the 2nd floor and easy parking, watch out for the crackies on the street though.) I saw Uncle Boogiepants(have since changed their name,bad move IMO cuz that was the reason I checked them out) there last year and it was fun. Anywho I noticed that Mr. Blotto is playing there on Tuesday with Prosaic Jazz and on Thursday a band is playing “Allman Bros. Live at the Fillmore” in its entirety(doesn’t say who) and for Mr. Walker the Hurricane Reggae Band is also making an appearance. Just a heads up. Oh yeah, and fuck the Cardinals.

  11. Chuck D Says:

    Has anyone ever seen one of these in use? It’s mentioned in the Phish guildlines… and while I think the product is retarded, the name is worth it being invented.

    http://store.theonion.com/visorganizer-gift-box-p-145.html

  12. Chuck D Says:

    Joe,

    I was also surpised to see that the album was availabe for $3.99 on Amazon (download only) and $6.99 for the disc. I’m sure the favorable prices helped a lot. A typical album like this could have retailed for $16.99 a few years ago.

  13. Mr.Miner Says:

    i may retarded, but my crop box only encopasses 1/2 the image

  14. fat bastard Says:

    donny baseball is a different generation, but he could hit…

    Reggie’s is cool, the owner, Robbie is a huge Reggie Jackson fan. I helped him move once, no shit.

  15. Robear Says:

    Miner, you can expand the size of the crop box by mousing over the corner of it, then click and drag outward. By grabbing a corner, the box expands in proportion in all directions. Hope that’s what you were asking.

    NO Dates? Extreme.

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    Donnie Baseball = my favorite ever

    Grew up on watching him every day…

  17. joe Says:

    I was making a joke about Donny Baseball, I HATE the yankees. Although, I’m in the process of growing a Mattingly mustache. Would be in full glory for Halloween if I can make it that long without shaving it off.

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    cant get the image vertically

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    I may be banning Boston avatars soon 😉

  20. albert walker Says:

    there can def be cropping issues Miner
    hence the ass cut off my lion

  21. joe Says:

    seems like we have awhile to go before that happens, you can’t even get yours going.

  22. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I know you guys are riding Mattingly’s jock, but he wasn’t even the best hitter of his generation. Boggs, Gwin, and even Dale Murphy were all better hitters that Donny. I like Mattingly, but he was nothing more than the best player on some really Shiitakey Yankees squads.

  23. albert walker Says:

    You know I’m jonesin for some hockey when I like seeing that Bruins logo

    a little OG 6 Hawks vs Bruins would be pretty nice right now

  24. Mitch Says:

    Guitarpicker,
    was debating saying “JBookers” because it’s my fav and Booker is my buddy’s grandpa but didnt think it would be as recognizable as makers.

    P.s. F*ck the cardinals. Go cubs. 🙂

  25. Mitch Says:

    Omg I made my comments before getting to page 11 and reading a the trash.

    I’m a hoo-Hoosier taboot. Perfect. IU/Cubs vs purdue/cards.

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