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. msbjivein Says:

    Mr C, i didn’t see The DOORS on your list. I think that’s a good possibility.
    That’s what i’ve been saying all along….. The Doors LA Women..
    I don’t think many people dig the DOORS here though.

  2. pence Says:

    hmm. hate Foreplay/Longtime? +you know that they said they were influenced by boston in bittersweet.. Dont ruin my dream Mr. C :(…jk

  3. Danny B Says:

    I agree Big Star would be awesome……..I was pretty close to buying that new box set this past weekend……A lot of awesome 80’s bands wouldn’t have sounded the same without them.

  4. albert walker Says:

    don’t see Dylan
    they are just not good at the shuffle, country, blues thing
    it is just not there thing

    I think they feel more comfortable in the Bowie, Genesis, Crimson more progressive music

    Allman’s without a slide player near impossible also

  5. butter Says:

    did you guys compile that list just from watching the albums zip by real fast?

  6. albert walker Says:

    at least if they did Big Star the Phishies would recognize
    that 70’s show’s theme song

  7. Mr. Completely Says:

    I absolutely love both those Big Star albums – 5 stars for each – @aw I knew you’d respond to that post

    @Danny, I think so many of these albums would need heavy rearrangement that I didn’t really factor that in. Remain in Light showed that fundamental rearrangement is possible….

    As for X I agree – but I was trying to list what I think is likely – not what I think would work well (except for in my end notes)

  8. albert walker Says:

    record collectors love those 2

    Ardent records a division of Stax record
    OG prints were real limited
    Those records age like fine wine
    not many dug them when they first came out because they were so ahead of their time
    no every hipster band in the world cites them as influences

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    Just not feelin’ the Doors…arguable of course…not talking about my opinion of the music, I just doubt it…

    @aw – re: country/blues/shuffle feel – while I agree, I’d again offer Remain in Light as counterexample. What if they want to learn to play that style better, like they did with white-boy funk via the Heads? What better way than via Dylan or Neil?

    @butter, list is posted a few places, I took that from:

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    and maybe Trey wants to learn slide 😮

  11. sumodie Says:

    “did you guys compile that list just from watching the albums zip by real fast?”

    Spent all night compiling the list 8) My eyes are killing me!

    Seriously, there is a slide bar underneath the albums. If you can’t see it, you likely need to zoom in (control + for firefox windows)

  12. butter Says:

    its pretty cool , that i go to Phish’s website and Exile on Main St. is playin on my speakers now

  13. Mr. Completely Says:

    didn’t know those came out thru Stax

    very interesting

  14. sumodie Says:

    Nice analysis, Mr C. And maybe I will finally listen to some Radiohead, just in case.

    I agree, dl’ing can be a disease (along with so many other electronic activities -hence mo more video games for me). It kills me that I never use my nice stereo system to listen to music. Someday hopefully. Now I’m starting to convert to high quality mp3s -does it ever end?

  15. Danny B Says:

    Either Trey learns slide, or they get Derek……If they got Derek to do that album with them it would be pretty awesome…..but I think it would take the spotlight off Trey and I don’t think he would like that.

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    I would go as far as saying I don;t know MOST of these albums…Is Exile really that good?

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    and albert, I realized what I said yesterday re: punk bands isn’t true – I also love NoMeansNo

    though again, only arguably really punk

  18. Little Buddy Says:

    Exile is one of those albums that allows you to really feel where the band is at when they were recording it. Like you’re right there in the room with them. It’s a document – a piece of time. I love it, but I also think there are better Stones albums – Beggars Banquet being my fav.

  19. JerZ Says:

    I am one of those people that never complains about anything that Phish does, but I would be disappointed by about 70% of these albums. Some of the novelty stuff would be cool for like a song or two, but there are some albums that I would be really bummed if they played- I don’t want to mention anything in particular, because I know that some people’s taste is different than others, but I hope that most of those albums are just there to mess with us.

    Apart from American Beauty, which would be my first cholce- Sailing the Seas of Cheese would make me poop my pants

  20. albert walker Says:

    Most modern rock bands consider Exile the prototype cool, dirty, bluesy, album
    It spawned a million imitations

    Recorded in the midst of chaos the sound and tone of this album is rock n roll

    Getting heavy into country during this era so you have that vibe also

    The beauty of the record is while tipping their hat to the blues and country masters it still has this weird, drugged out, heavy, modern ground breaking sound to it

    Almost impossible to put in words though
    It is just amazing
    They have played several tracks on it already so I think Stick Fingers could be more likely which IMO I like just as much

  21. Lycanthropist Says:

    ^ love Sticky Fingers

    although it would be kinda depressing..

    i would think that Trey might feel weird singing some of those lyrics..

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    don’t do it sumodie

    stay lossless

    stay strong brotha

    Mp3 is for mobile devices ONLY


    Miner, Exile is my favorite Stones album by light years – even Beggars Banquet and Sticky Fingers aren’t close, are they’re both legit masterpieces.

    that being said it’s a famously hard album to get into. It’s very very ragged and raunchy. It epitomizes the Stones’ version of what Neil calls “ragged glory” – a band that’s so good, but so far gone, that their music barely holds together – but yet somehow it does – and when heard from the right perspective it rises up very high.

    The “right perspective” being very late at night or early in the morning after a long and extremely debauched evening. Don’t even bother putting it on during the day, or early evening after just a couple bingers.

    Most people don’t like it the first time they hear it. But if you keep it around, at some point you’ll play it when you’re in that right frame of mind – and then it will never sound the same to you.

  23. albert walker Says:

    nomeansno are great
    have not heard that name in years

  24. sumodie Says:

    Just glancing at MrC’s album odds:

    -I’d say Allmans are out, as they still tour and they’re a related ‘jam band’ -it’s just not different enough.

    -Floyd is out because of Utah’s Dark Star show

    -Springsteen is out because he’s playing Born to Run in its entirety during a few 2009 shows.

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    @sumodie think of it this way – a terabyte is ~1000 gigs right? and a Cds worth of uncompressed audio is 2/3rds of a gig, max – so 1 TB = ~1300 CDs worth of WAV/AIFF files. And 2TB drives can now be had for under $150. Why MP3 anything that’s not going on an iPod?

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