Halloween ’96 – Changing the Game

pb1Never has one show affected the course of Phish’s musical direction as much as Halloween 1996. Deciding to cover Remain in Light, an album centered on percussive grooves, forced the band to acclimate to a different style of play. Phish approached its tracks from a rhythmic point of view; different from the arena rock psychedelia that captivated audiences throughout Fall ’95. As 1996 moved into its second half, Phish hovered in a holding pattern, ready for a fresh musical path, but not exactly sure what that would be. As a result, their initial east coast run of the Fall was nothing to write home about. But as they prepared to unveil The Talking Heads’ album for Halloween, Phish brought other musicians into the mix, and their extensive practice sessions pushed the band towards their destiny.

With the addition of Dave Grippo and Gary Gazaway on sax and trumpet, and more specifically, Santana’s percussionist, Karl Perazzo, the band worked on executing the collaborative patterns that were strewn throughout the record. Phish’s meticulous preparation for their third musical costume resulted in a masterfully interpretive set in which they killed the album from beginning to end.

During a 1998 interview with David Byrne for Sessions at West 54th, the band discussed each of their Halloween “costumes” and how they subsequently affected the band’s style. Page noted the profound influence of covering Remain In Light.

It may have had the biggest effect on us because we really learned the grooves and we really tried to get inside the grooves on the album…I took so much away from that. And the groove-oriented playing that we’ve done in the last few years – repetition, pulling things out, putting them back – all that sort of thing, a lot of it was from learning [Remain In Light].

The effects Page spoke of began to emerge at the very next show in West Palm Beach. To open the second set, Phish launched into an extended groove exploration of “Crosseyed > Antelope,” and the music sounded more like the rhythmic jamming that defined Remain In Light rather than the fast-paced, guitar-centric playing that peaked in ’95 and spilled into ’96.

10-31-96 The Omni (T.Wickersty)

10-31-96 The Omni (T.Wickersty)

“Crosseyed > Antelope” began a gradual evolution of the band’s sound throughout the rest of the fall. Starting to slow down and funk out, Phish started moving towards their groove-based playing of 1997 and beyond. When comparing the pre-Halloween shows with those after October, the changes leap out. Pieces that helped define this shift included the Auburn Hills “YEM” (11/9), the Grand Rapids “Tweezer” (11/11), the San Diego “Mike’s” (12/4), and the Vegas “2001”(12/6).

While ’96’s New Year’s Run didn’t necessarily capture this emerging style of jamming, the band was poised for a transformation come 1997. And during their winter tour of Europe in Markthalle, an intimate club in Hamburg, Germany, this evolution came together. The band references “Wolfman’s” from 3.1’s Markthalle show as the moment they realized the type of 3329098551_6cb1b984f6collaborative playing they had quested after. Everything simply clicked, bringing the community their first helping of “cow funk,” mastered and released on Slip Stitch, and Pass. And so it began – 1997’s rhythmic revolution was underway – but the process of transformation started late one Fall night in Atlanta – and Phish never looked back.

Winged music note=====

Jams of the Day:

Crosseyed > Antelope” 11.2.96 II

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Ghost > Runaway Jim” 7.2.98 II

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Capping a three-night stand at The Grey Hall, Phish threw down a four-song second set; this is the first half. Only the second version featuring the song’s new intro, this “Ghost” sits among the upper echelon of all-time renditions.



10.1.00 Desert Sky Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ < Torrent

10.1.00 Desert Sky Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ < Megaupload

Desert Sky Pavilion - Phoenix, AZ

Desert Sky Pavilion - Phoenix, AZ

The night after Vegas ended, Phish made their way into the desert for the last show before the final four.  Markedly better than the previous performance, “Piper > Guy Forget” (an old soundcheck song never performed live) held down the opening segment of the second set, while a thick “Camel Walk” and a solid “Bowie” closed it out.  After Phoenix started the fateful final four of 2000.

I: First Tube, Wolfman’s Brother, Back on the Train, Beauty of My Dreams, Vultures, The Inlaw Josie Wales, Billy Breathes, Llama, Lawn Boy, Runaway Jim

II: Roses Are Free, Piper > Guy Forget* > When the Circus Comes, Camel Walk, Driver, David Bowie

E: Waste


Source: B&K 4011’s > Lunatec V2 > Apogee AD-500 > Tascam DA-P1

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275 Responses to “Halloween ’96 – Changing the Game”

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  1. TubePLZ Says:

    I just finished listening to Genesis: Lamb Lies on Broadway…. Incredible Album! But if Phish plays it, what’s Trey gonna do?? He is gonna have a lot of “downtime” if they play that… Plus, for a live crowd, a little drawn out and spacey….would make me wanna lay down on the grass for half of it. I don’t think it would work.

    When Trey gave that telephone interview the other day, he said he called Page to ask if they “had” to do the album they picked. If it was a challenging album to do, maybe it’s because it one of the 2-Disc Albums they posted…and if they do a Double Album, then why wouldn’t you do the most amazing Double Disc on the board…if they are gonna learn it, then you would think it would have to be worth it…..The Wall.

  2. lot rat Says:

    I made 250 in the lot swinging frosty brews and tons of water. $$$ Show was rather ehhh, as was the tour. but I wa 23 just out of college, not a care in the world.

    BUG…it doesnt matter.

    I thouht thechula vista show was thwe best of the final shows.

    long live the roadster.

  3. Kenny Powers Says:

    sorry to be off topic already but wanted to get the FYI out – Team Hood just put out a DVD of the last night of Red Rocks on The Trader’s Den. Anyone who saw their DVD of the 3rd night knows how good the quality is!

  4. BTB Says:

    @Tube – I love the Wall, Love Pink Floyd, but would probably fall asleep listening to Trey covering Roger Waters’. That really wouldn’t be a fun album to cover because of all the melodramatic slow songs. Interesting though. Are there any other double albums?

    Do you think Pink Floyd Meddle would be sweet? It’s only 50 minutes or so and One of these Days…San Tropez… Echoes with Scents and Subtle Sounds jam…

    Genisis Album – Uhhh… I watched a Genesis DVD once and THERE fans don’t even dance or move to that music.

  5. Adam S Says:

    My favorite Ghost ever, and the best part is… I was there!

  6. bhizzle Says:

    Do you think they’d cover another Floyd album? I know the DSOTM wasn’t an “official” costume, but…..

    I’ve said it 100 times, it’ll be Bowie.

  7. kenny powers Says:

    just got the shipping confirm email for my Festie 8 tix!!!

  8. Little Buddy Says:

    I’m with bhizzle. I’ve thought they would cover Bowie since the 90’s, but they stopped doing the Halloween shows. Ziggy Stardust just seems like a perfect fit to me. If its a double album – I’d have to go with Physical Graffiti. As Brandon pointed out yesterday, Five Years (bowie) lyrics seem like an interesting reference to our five years without the boys:

    Weve got five years, stuck on my eyes
    Five years, what a surprise
    Weve got five years, my brain hurts a lot
    Five years, thats all weve got
    Weve got five years, what a surprise
    Five years, stuck on my eyes
    Weve got five years, my brain hurts a lot
    Five years, thats all weve got
    Weve got five years, stuck on my eyes
    Five years, what a surprise
    Weve got five years, my brain hurts a lot
    Five years, thats all weve got
    Weve got five years, what a surprise
    Weve got five years, stuck on my eyes
    Weve got five years, my brain hurts a lot
    Five years, thats all weve got

  9. EL Duderino Says:

    Here is the 8/02/09 RR TeamHood Production:


    The Only bummer with this one is that the audio is a Schoeps MK21 source. The MK6’s from 8/01/09 are much better but will see. Looks like I have to get a couple of more dula layer DVD’s

  10. fat bastard Says:

    i dont know that beach boys album but that would be cool with me

  11. JMelby Says:

    That Ghost has always been my favorite and a great way to say goodbye to the Grey Hall. Love it when it gets to the quiet part and we couldn’t hold back anymore. One fan lets out a yell of approval which is followed by another and another. You’ll hear it, it’s awesome. I really liked the Tallahassee show right before Halloween. We became pretty excited once we entered and saw Karls’ extra kit on stage and had him for the whole show. The Slave was extra nice that night. I was one of those who missed The Born Under the Punches tease in Mikes. But I remember Treys big grin during the “some of you just about missed it” line on the 31st.

  12. sumodie Says:

    Phish – Aug 12, 1998 – Vernon Downs – AKG c480B/ck61 – new source to circulation


    I recall someone looking for anther Vernon Downs source. This one went up at bt.etree yesterday. Still dling myself, so I can’t compare it with Miner’s source.

  13. Chuck D Says:

    I was listening to The Doors – The Doors last night and it struck me as an obvious possibility. It seems to have all the prerequisites. There are parts where each member can stand out with some great solos. Also, different song tones throughout, some rockin in your face, some slower ambient stuff. Lyrics seem to fit a halloween type mood especially with Break on Through and Crystal Ship. Then The End would just be bat-shit-crazy. It wouldnt be my first choice, but I think it has to be in contention…

  14. Robear Says:

    Awesome write up! My education into Phishstory continues to expand.

    Put me in the “wow, who knew?” category with the ‘Lamb Lies’ album. I also agree that there are not enough stand-out guitar parts, and Paige would need to be paid triple overtime.

    Mr. C, what should I cue up today from the ‘list’?

  15. sumodie Says:

    Thanks to Phish and folks here, here’s my list of albums that I now want to check out. I just listened to snippets of Genesis, Eno, and Crimson -agreed, these are serious contenders (Eno too spacey?).

    Genesis: Lambs Lie Down On Broadway
    Bowie: Ziggy Stardust (all 3 bowies in fact)
    King Crimson: Larks Tongue….it would bore half the people though
    Brian Eno: Before and After Science
    Television: Marquee Moon
    Radiohead: Kid A

  16. KWL Says:

    ‘I just finished listening to Genesis: Lamb Lies on Broadway…. Incredible Album! But if Phish plays it, what’s Trey gonna do?? He is gonna have a lot of “downtime” if they play that…’

    My first reaction to that album was that if Phish played it, it would be absolutely epic. My second reaction was that it would be a ton of work for Page–literally every song would be a challenge for him. Not much guitar in the actual record, but my bet is that if that’s the pick, Trey would play a lot of what is keys on the record, to help ease Page’s workload.

  17. bhizzle Says:

    Someone over on the Green Board stated the obvious:

    “Phish.com = Moving Pictures” – literally

    Food for thought.

  18. KWL Says:

    Finally got my PT shirt! Thanks Mr C, and especially, thank you Mr Miner!! (click Mr C’s or Robear’s name to get your shirt…)

    My F8 tickets are also scheduled to arrive tomorrow–whoooo!!!

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    my tickets are currently in Memphis but on their way to me. So close, but still seemingly so far away…

  20. KWL Says:

    Great write-up today, Miner. Helps explain why 94-5 and 97-9 are apples to oranges, as you noted yesterday. I can’t wait to see what this year’s Halloween album does to the band’s sound…

  21. sumodie Says:

    Need more mathematical analysis of Fest8 albums? Go here:


    Apparently Genesis is the longest album (94 min), and 24 of the 99 albums have songs previously played by phish.

  22. JMelby Says:

    For the Doors album, it would be interesting to see what Mike would do with a no bass band/album.

  23. whole tour! Says:

    i was lucky to witness the transformation 1st hand.
    saw both 10.31.96 and 11.02.96.
    thanks for the pheonix dl.

  24. cwc Says:

    Off topic, any of the carolinians on here need tics for this Sat ABB/Panic in Charlotte? I got two pav extras. ccammack at triad dot rr dot com

  25. ryan Says:

    Does anyone know where to obtain an mp3 version of halloween ’96? I guess I could buy it from livephish, but…

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