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. halcyon Says:

    Glens Falls…what an insane night…..The White Album….an overcrowded ice arena…..A Phish Themed Costume contest as well!

    I remember walking out of the venue looking at the clock noticing it was 4:20am

    When the tickets went on sale, I was #1 at the local outlet after everyone drew wristbands to see where they were online. That was the only time I ever drew #1 at a ticket outlet.

    Glens Falls PD had no idea what descended upon them. Tanks were a plenty, and all the PD did was turn on the tanks and let them empty. All you would see were a bunch of kids huddling around an empty tank breathing deeply.

  2. PBS Says:

    Yea, PDX Meadows is a terrible venue – the booger effect is always in play there. This show was pretty stellar though, glad to get a chance to revisit it! Thanks for the linkage Miner!

  3. Robear Says:

    Top of the mornin’! Tea, earl grey, hot. Jk, I’m a coffee guy, but love me some “Next Generation”.

    Any teachers out there? I’m subbing for 6-8 grade today. My first foray into a classroom to sub in 9 years.

    Any tips, ideas?

    Miner’s in a ’99 mood. Love the little nuggets. I went to the PDX dust bowl. Anyone have some coconut curry stir-fry in the lot? I remember the feel of that ‘Gin’ seemed to permeate the entire show.

  4. Pence Says:

    ^Just make sure they read their fucking books

  5. halcyon Says:

    My girl is a teacher and she has 23 kids in her class, she says there are 23 of them against one of me…..so my non-teacher advice would say dont let them walk all over you….

  6. EL Duderino Says:

    The ’94 Halloween rock show was the best overall concert experience I ever had and yes that means Cypress too. I loved the other sets at Cypress better than the Midnight – Sunrise set. Just my opinion.

    I’ve always been a huge Beatles fan and that was as close as you would ever get to a Beatles show. Some people think that The White Album was the best post Rubber Soul album. It’s hard to argue against that. There are so many different types of music on that record, I can see why they chose it. In ’95 my Arlington Hts. crew and I felt that Phish was the Beatles of our generation. I kinda still agree with that statement.

  7. Mitch Says:

    When did everyone get avatars? Yesterday afternoon??

    Do I need to make a wordpress account for one?

  8. Pence Says:

    http://WWW.GRAVATAR.COM Mitch

  9. halcyon Says:

    mitch…go to gravatar.com….follow the directions, clear your internet cache, wait 20 minutes and you will be able to join in on the fun

  10. Mitch Says:

    Rock and roll fellas, I found the link on yesterdays post and have been reading. interesting how this works.

    If I stop the account, does it revert to my blue? This is making it difficult to remember names now.

  11. punkmug Says:

    When the crap will fall dates drop? sheesh!

  12. Jay Says:

    > In ‘95 my Arlington Hts. crew and I felt that Phish was the Beatles of our generation.

    I heard that Phish is more popular than Jesus.

  13. Robear Says:

    El D, I missed that Halloween, but practically wore out the XLII that I had.

    So when the kids act up, I’ll get in their face and scream “READ THE PHUCKING BOOK!”

  14. Mitch Says:

    welp. didn’t have to wait the 20 mins. I got myself a green phriendly avatar.

  15. joe Says:

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

    what about the pants…Hammer version 1990 maybe?

    As for Subbing, Robear. Just do your best to not give the wise-ass too much attention. Best to ignore and they’ll just shut up after awhile. Also, talking softer and not louder if you need their attention works. Watch out for after lunch with the 6-8’th graders. Those little fuckers loaded up on whatever they get fed is the worst period of the day. (I sub as well right now- just finished a whole career change couple of degrees and didn’t land a full-time teaching gig for this fall with my own class.)

  16. HarryHood Says:

    Unleash the fury Mitch!

  17. SOAM Says:

    re: dyda-I used to drive around in an old beat up Monte Carlo with..Number 13 in your program-listening to Girls, Girls, Girls by the
    CRUE

    I always thought it would be cool to see phish play a festi with a heavy metal band-two opposite ends of the spectrum-a cheesy metal band prefered like the crue, poison would be hysterical-skid rowe-I mean the laughs we’d have-trippin and rippin balls jamming out to wild side or every rose has it’s thorn-18 and life you know-I pretty much hate those bands but it wouold be too funny to pass up.

    If they were to play with a legit heavy band there is only one choice-ACDC…..MOFOERS

  18. SOAM Says:

    cumstein in the house-dropping loads and taking names–

  19. Jay Says:

    Judas Priest rules.

  20. EL Duderino Says:

    @ Jay

    LOL!!!

  21. sumodie 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”

    @dyda: I’m following you now -I’m a BG (the new version) fan -have never seen Stargate. Still have yet to finish the ending of BG.

  22. Jay Says:

    Just noticed my avatar (CK5 ligjhts at Hampton?) looks like an alien face. Freaking me out.

  23. MOONSHAKE Says:

    well its the 18th now and still no tour dates…

  24. EL Duderino Says:

    That ’94 Halloween Video has the sbd audio synch. I want this where can I find the DVD’s for this? The D?

  25. SOAM Says:

    Deep Purple/Iron Maiden/Phish at RFK stadium on july 4th 2010

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