A Gallery of Possibilities

The Invitation

The Invitation

With their ever-expanding use of technology coupled with their desire to hype up Festival 8, yesterday Phish posted a “gallery” of 99 outstanding albums as the splash page on their web site, introduced by a Festival 8 invitation with the simple instructions: “Phish – Play the Last Record Alive.” Much like the Save the Date map that preceded this haunted galleria, albums have already been “killed off,” with Medeski Martin & Wood’s Shack Man, Tom Petty’s Damn the Torpedoes, Huey Lewis’ and the News’ Sports, Talking Head’s Fear of Music, and Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man quickly getting the axe- literally. And much like the wild-goose chase of their Save the Date map, this list of albums could be just that.

Huey Lewis Is Dead - Or Is He?

Huey Lewis Is Dead - Or Is He?

With a list of 99 records, Phish put almost every Halloween suggestion ever made on the table and then some. The site includes many albums we all know, and most likely quite a few we don’t all know, giving us time to familiarize ourselves with some.  With a reputation of playing more obscure albums, some of the most popular recordings like, Led Zeppelin’s I or IV, The Grateful Dead’s American Beauty, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?” or “Electric Ladyland” seem unlikely for Halloween. This gallery of possibilities also contains contemporary classics such as Radiohead’s Kid A, U2’s The Joshua Tree, Rage Against The Machine’s Evil Empire, Nirvana’s Nevermind, and Pearl Jam’s Ten. Although we’ve never seen Phish tackle a modern-day work in full, maybe this will be the year. In my gut, however, this also seems unlikely.

Anything Is Possible

Tom Petty Got the Axe

With defining albums of many genres and eras, along with several obscure gems, the gallery also hangs some records for humor of the imagination- see the offerings from Pork Tornado, Hall & Oates, Kiss, Metallica and Black Sabbath. (Some great albums, yes. Real possibilities, no.) At this point, it’s very difficult to take anything from Phish at face value, making me think this could be ploy to increase interest, boost lagging ticket sales, and divert attention from fall tour speculation.

But what is going to happen with this gallery? Are we going to know what the album is beforehand?! I seriously doubt it. At the same time, I don’t even want the possibilities narrowed to five- that would be incredibly anti-climactic, as the audience has traditionally known nothing about the bands’ musical costume when walking into the venue on Halloween night. While “The White Album” and Quadrophenia weren’t revealed until the set began, Remain In Light and Loaded were unveiled via “Phishbills” handed out as everyone entered the arena – but never has there been any level of knowledge before hand.  This album elimination is a clever idea, but I think they should stop at a certain number to maintain the suspense of the evening.  Is it going to be one of two options walking in?  That would be strange.

Anything Is Possible

Anything Is Possible...

Personally, I loved not knowing Remain In Light, and Loaded when Phish bust them out – it was like a genuine costume; a mystery to me. Each album had at least one song everyone knew (“Once In a Lifetime,” “Sweet Jane” and/or “Rock and Roll,” making it just familiar enough, but making the musical journey a genuine trip. Knowing the album well made for an entirely different – completely surreal – experience with Dark Side, but that was Dark Side.  While knowledge of the album note for note can bring enhanced appreciation, it can also carry preconceptions.  Would I like to know the album when they play it – for sure.  But I’m not gonna chase down every album on this list that I don’t know – and there are many – in the hopes of discovering the music that might transpire, though I’ll definitely download a few. Whether this gallery is a trick or a treat, Phish has certainly exposed us to a plethora of classic albums, a great resource in itself. And in the end, their choice is most likely on the screen right now – but who knows if it has been killed already? Halloween is all about the rising of the dead, is it not? With the masters of trickery at the helm, the suspense never ends.

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Wolfman’s > Lizards” 11.18.98 II


This set opening “Wolfman’s” highlights Phish’s ambient jamming they added to the mix during of Fall ’98. Moving out of the funk and into spacier textures, this little-known version kicked off a significant second set in Greenville, SC. The half-empty, brand-new arena was the perfect locale for a mid-week throwdown. (Note: Yesterday’s “Reba > Walk Away” is fixed.)



9.28.99 Oak Mountain Amp, Pelham, AL < Torrent

9.28.99 Oak Mountain Amp, Pelham, AL < Megaupload

Phish - Fall '99 (A. Foley)

Fall '99 (A. Foley)

On the topic of mid-week throwdowns, here we another that celebrated its ten-year anniversary just yesterday. After a rainy afternoon in the lot, Phish lit a fire inside the southern amphitheatre, bringing hot dance grooves right off the bat. Opening the show with”Wolfman’s,” “Sneakin’ Sally” and “Tube,” Phish set the plate with a hearty dose of funk. “Harry Hood” made a rare appearance as the first set closer, while “Tweezer > Makisupa” and a blowout “YEM” sealed the deal on a great evening in Alabama.

I: Wolfman’s Brother, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, Tube, Ginseng Sullivan > Roggae, Maze, Wading in the Velvet Sea, Harry Hood

II: Farmhouse, Heavy Things, First Tube, Tweezer > Makisupa Policeman, Chalk Dust Torture, You Enjoy Myself

E Halley’s Comet > Tweezer Reprise

Source: Schoeps CMC 641 > Apogee AD-1000 > DA-P1

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380 Responses to “A Gallery of Possibilities”

  1. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    How about Vernon Downs 8-12-98, my personal favorite 2 set Phish show that I ever attended.

    I had lost my ID somewhere on tour and was standing in line to get the wrist bracelet and I told the guy I lost my ID (I was only 23 at the time), the guy says “where did you go to school?” and I told him Purdue, and he said “that’s the right answer” and gave me a wristband. Great, great show.

  2. albert walker Says:

    Kind of like Phish all the musicians in Genesis were far beyond typical rock cats

  3. Looking For Owls? Says:

    i believe it’s trey’s b-day tomorrow, that may help in the download request

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    I have never liked Genesis at all but I haven’t listened to any Gabriel era stuff in a long long time so I owe it to myself to give that album a fair & open minded listen. I’ll do that before long.

  5. albert walker Says:

    Mr. C that’s what it took for me
    dropping all misconceptions of Gabriel and Genesis (never dug either)
    and just listen to it for it is
    it really is great

  6. Mr.Miner Says:

    Phish could def rip exile….bring the horns…sick.

  7. William H. Bonney Says:

    @Mr. C
    I know it’s not on the “list” that was my question.

  8. wvbrdr Says:

    GP420, I was at that show. It was a fun one. Vernon Down the House, YEM encore. Good stuff.

    Exile would indeed be the sickness.

  9. William H. Bonney Says:

    I just don’t see Exile doesn’t have a classic song to close the set with. See all the other Halloween set’s. Seems to be an important part of the selection. Soul Survivor?

  10. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Soul Survivor is kind of the anti-climax after Shine A Light, which is a titanic number. But I see your point Billy K.

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    oic Mr. The Kid, I misunderstood

    and a fair point about Exile

    the copy of Vernon Downs I have is – I think – one with ludicrously overloaded bass. great show though

    @aw, I will do that.

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    yeah Shine a Light is the “real” ending – Soul Survivor is the encore

  13. William H. Bonney Says:

    I agree it is great record. Just seems to be some what of a formula to the Halloween show.

  14. chefbradford Says:

    6/22/00 has a vastly underrated 2nd set, complete with a bluegrassed “Harry” sandwiching “Dog-Faced Boy”

  15. William H. Bonney Says:

    I just though Joe’s was close before and Trey really liked that one, I think I read a interview saying as much. So I was surprised it was left off the the list.

  16. Lycanthropist Says:

    ^ agreed

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    to chef brad that is

  18. Mr. Completely Says:

    based on a number of valid points made today I can see moving Exile down and Sticky Fingers up – Exile still my fave but that’d be fine with me – Moonlight Mile, what an amazing song, hard to play well though I guess (JGB took several stabs at it in ’76 and never quite nailed it, though some of the near-misses are beautiful – and that was a time they were very tight so it’s not just Jerry sloppiness)

  19. chefbradford Says:

    Also the first “freebird” with instruments (and Wynona Judd) since, I think, 1988. Thanks L

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    altho with any classic Stones album you run into “Trey singing drug reference” issues

    “…with a head full of snow…”

  21. LA Says:

    manzarek with the doors or manzarek with X which will they choose?

  22. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Just finished listening to Exile again and will pop Sticky Fingers in next….gonna take the Pepsi challenge on these two and see what comes out on top. No doubt that the jam in Can’t You Hear Me Knocking would be off the hook. Plus Brown Sugar (did anybody catch Dylan covering that back in like 2003? Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, eeeeeeeeeeewwwwwww), and I would flat love to hear them do Sway.

  23. Lycanthropist Says:

    we were actually thinking about learning Sway as our next Stones tune

  24. Leo Weaver Says:

    I’ve never given Exile a full listen…guess I’m gonna have to do it now. Heading down to Athens for the UGA-LSU game (Go Dawgs!) this weekend, sans wife, staying with a buddy…knowing this guy, we’ll definitely be in the right state of mind (or close to it) by 3-4 a.m. Sunday 🙂

    @ChuckD (I think)…I found Page’s thesis a few months back…pretty interesting. I totally understand why he might like to play the Gumbo ragtime ending.

    @chef…speaking of freebird (or Skynyrd anyway), the above Oak Mtn show has a nifty Sweet Home Alabama vocal jam to end out YEM.

    Sitting in the garden now enjoying this fresh fall air…cold beer in hand, some tasty greens, and 08.07.09 in the phones…life is good…cheers!

  25. Mr.Miner Says:

    Shine a Light would be a EPIC PEAK……

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