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. EJ Says:

    I think Exile might be in for a remaster sometime in the near future. Nonetheless, it’s a tremendous album. As was mentioned before, it’s just got that flow.

  2. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Listening Update – no doubt that Sticky Fingers opens up much stronger than Exile, but you almost certainly need a second guitar (acoustic) for Wild Horses, I don’t see it done very well with just Trey, but I suppose can do quite a few things that I can’t on the guitar.

  3. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    note to self – include pronouns in posts

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    Mick Jagger notoriously hates the mix on Exile – he had to do a lot of it himself when the engineer went into a 6 month nod or something

    I like the ragged tone of it, but could see a remaster as long as it’s straight and not a remix

    Too bad Beggars Banquet isn’t on the list…but playing those songs in Cali might be kind of pushing your luck…hate to have the Hells Angels come kill some Phish fan down front

    Brian Jones slide solo on No Expectations is as fine a moment as the Stones ever recorded IMO

  5. Mr. Completely Says:

    glad you liked Exile, Miner

    Shine a Light would indeed be huge

  6. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    I was watching Rock and Roll Circus last night. Agree on No Expectations. Plus, Salt of the Earth is a GREAT album closer. While watching the video, I was trying to imagine what Eric Clapton was thinking while Yoko was caterwalling over him, he makes some pretty epic faces, something akin to shock.

  7. albert walker Says:

    Sway is such a great song
    Taylor gave them such a different vibe

    Trey Band took a stab or two at it

    Almost every song has a drug theme or line to it on both Sticky and Exile
    If this was 2003 I’d say no doubt they are doing it

    Trey was getting into this era Stones when he was strung out like every Junkie does
    My listenening tastes although some overlap are very different when I was strung out

    Those albums are a celebration in the dirty, junked, fucked up under belly of rock and counter culture
    Don’t know if that meshes with Trey’s mind set right now

  8. EJ Says:

    @ albert But since it’s Halloween, you’re becoming someone who you aren’t (or, in Trey’s case, aren’t anymore). I could see it happening.

  9. EJ Says:

    I guess it’s just wishful thinking on my part. There’s plenty of other album choices that would leave me stoked. The beauty of Phish….

  10. albert walker Says:

    funny the burried not clear vocals that made Jagger hate the album,
    of course it’s the vocal mix that caused him to hate it,
    inspired many modern rock bands to mix their vocals Exile style
    hear it over all the time
    Royal Trux’s earlier records have a similar sound

  11. EJ Says:

    Random side: I rediscovered my enjoyment of “Brothers and Sisters,” even though it’s not on the list. I guess when you’re primed with a bunch of good tunes, this would be the side effect.

  12. chuck muncie Says:

    It will be kind of a funny visual if/when Sticky Fingers gets “axed”.
    Right in the family jewels.

  13. joe Says:

    If they were going to do an album based on their current sobriety, than they would do Clapton’s post-herion 461 ocean blvd. (which they are not going to do…hopefully not) I was also on the London Calling train a few months ago, and still think that would be a good one to do with horns…

    Anyone read the Exile book? pretty mixed reviews from what I’ve seen.

  14. joe Says:

    the juicy gossip exile book is the one I meant, not the Bill Janovitz one (which actually looks really interesting)

  15. larry bird flu Says:

    @joe, the gossip exile book is absolute shit. way too much focusing on keith, anita, and their junkie friends

    im officially on the london calling train for the ocho. kind of approps seeing as the last song on the album is train in vain

  16. posternutbag Says:

    I feel like the open air, west coast vibe would match so well with “Are you Experienced?”, that I tend to lean that way. I think the album would also make pretty good sense for the band as a group, rather than some of the other albums (Trey singing Radiohead? Doors might be a little too ‘basic’, Allman with one lead guitar, etc.)

  17. joe Says:

    and after London Calling, they can announce the European tour dates

  18. EJ Says:

    I am surprised that “Axis: Bold as Love” didn’t make the cut.

  19. cason Says:

    it is totally going to be Sports by Huey Lewis and the News. Opening song is the Heart of Rock n Roll. give it a listen. it fits perfectly in with their whole last album left alive.

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    lol @ chuck M – no doubt! ouch!

    The Stones captured in Rock and Roll Circus are unbelievable – seeing that, I finally understood why the Stones held so many people under their spell so strongly – the magnetism comes right through the screen

    And yes the No Expectations has to be seen to be believed. Just as the album version was the last serious thing Brian did in the studio, the Rock and Roll Circus No Expectations solo was the last real contribution he made to a Stones performance – he was withdrawn and isolated – but on this masterpiece of loneliness and isolation he played beautifully

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    Sports – favorite album of the American Psycho – they better play it or that dude is gonna chop ’em up

  22. Harpua Says:

    Can someone please listen to “Fearless” on Meddle (Pink Floyd) and tell me what Zeppelin song that sounds like? Listen from :30 to 1:30. Even the pacing of the lyrics sounds similar. It is driving me insane.

  23. Harpua Says:

    It may be “That’s the Way”, but I feel like there is something much more similar.

  24. PT Says:

    I’m not convinced this is really the “list”. Don’t get me wrong I love to play, and there are a number of albums listed in the 99 I’d like to see, but not sure it encompasses all past suggestions, e.g. I always thought Phish could do a fabulous job with Joe Jackson’s Blaze of Glory. It wouldn’t be as “produced” but they have the chops.
    @MM – I too would like to be surprised. It’s like any show where sometimes you are certain of either 1) the opener or 2) that a particular song will be played and you are ecstatic that it is. But just as many times you are thrilled they played something different or unexpected/unpredicted like say, Icculus at Hartford. :o)

  25. fat bastard Says:

    ask the experts. IMO “good times, bad times” is the best first track on a bands first album in the history of the universe. thoughts

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