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

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Ghost > Runaway Jim” 7.2.98 II

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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

Tags: , , ,

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

  1. Mr. Completely Says:

    with the prior talk of betting and odds – one interesting side bet would be on chances of a surprise orchestra appearance

    I wouldn’t rule it out 😮

  2. Stupendous Says:

    Funny Genesis Talk!
    First time i heard TTE (the Itunes Single) it reminded me of Genesis.

  3. SOAM Says:

    Mullins Center 94-Julius od all Juliuses-bbfcfm

  4. kenny powers Says:

    @ Mitch,

    wow, i’m bummed i don’t have a Mac because that looks like a nifty program. Cool little website and video too. As soon as my 6 year old PC shits the bed i fully intend to go Mac. Can’t justify the purchase without needing to do it yet. Anyway.

  5. kenny powers Says:

    SOAM i’ll have to go back and listen to that, it was my 2nd show!

  6. snowbank Says:

    I got an email saying my tic is in the mail.

    I didn’t like WilCo until my wife made me listen to it a hundred million times. They are awesome musicians… it just takes a while to get into to it. The sad thing is they could bust so many of their songs open with jams. In fact, a local jam band, Flowmotion, does just that: they jam out on WilCo song. It is fantastic. Try listening to them on pandora or something. There are kind of like Radiohead in their deconstruction of Rock n Roll. It’s great.. it just takes while because they are different.

  7. snigglebeach Says:

    99 Albums, and a bitch ain’t one.

    What is everyone’s infatuation with Wilco??

    Only time i ever heard them was at Bonarroo and the were boring as hell.

  8. albert walker Says:

    Tweedy is such a douche

    Good records, yes. Great records, I don’t know.
    Never really cared to see them live.
    I kind of like Summerteeth better, much better name.

    I like my country country and my rock rock.
    The whole alt country rock thing never grabbed my attention.

    Besides the Doors this one is one of my, please hell no albums.

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    anybody get tix yet? My buddy just sent me a pic of the artwork. My avatar should update eventually with a piece of it…

  10. Ocelot42 Says:

    Yeah, TTE is very Genesisesque. Another point in the column for that album being among the front-runners.

  11. albert walker Says:

    Come on please no Wilco
    Tweedy has a big enough ego all ready
    good song writer, but come on Phish halloween album no way

    I like my country country and my rock rock
    I don’t like Wilco and their alt, country rock bullshit

  12. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Just got a note from the missus, Ticket and RV Pass have arrived.

    “they look cool.” I trust her opinion.

    As you were.

  13. albert walker Says:

    sorry to repeat Tweedy hate, can’t see my own posts today

  14. snowbank Says:

    I am really curious what Phish playing Radiohead would be like. It is very intersting to me, but I wonder if it would be good.

    phish playing WilCo would be awesome. As i said, the songs just scream “Insert insane jam here” or “please jam me nasty”.

  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    @sniggle, I like that Wilco album alright, but my suggesting it as semi-likely has more to do with knowing that a lot of other people consider it to be super awesome

    I have not seen Wilco in a long time. Before that album. They were super hard rockin’ at that time. They literally blew the doors of the WOW Hall open during their sound check with the air pressure from the amps.

  16. Mitch Says:

    Type III,
    Can we get a full image of the tix?

  17. Mitch Says:

    Mr C,
    World of Warcraft has their own Hall?? ba doom pssh, but seriously, whats WOW? That’s pretty awesome tho.

  18. snowbank Says:

    And look the flowmotion WilCo cover is on the intertubes, god bless america:

  19. Little Buddy Says:

    re: Wilco

    A Wilco show probably wouldn’t be that interesting unless you knew some songs going in. But, Jeff Tweedy is one of the best song writers out there (or he was from 1995-2005 – not a huge fan of the last two albums) and they’re really tight. Better to see them in a theater though. They are an intimate band with some occasional explosions of sound. Nils Cline is an incredible guitar player, though. I don’t think there is any debating that. Glenn Kotche is a pretty darn good drummer too.

  20. SOAM Says:

    I don’t know shit about sound-technology but I got a bunch of summer shows on disc and I have to turn the bass on my radio off-not down-off. Then I listen to old shows from the previous mentioned Mullins Center 94 or the live releases and it is just night and day-so much louder and yes-I’m a cheesy treble head but still-strange

  21. SOAM Says:

    I feel after listening to most of the second leg of the summer that the Red Rocks with Curtain with, Mound, Alaska etc is the best this band has played since getting back to it-kinda pains me-wasn’t there but the Hartford show is a close second-I have listened to the gorge-it’s good but to me no RR or Hartford (or spac set 2 first half for that matter)

  22. snowbank Says:

    Little Buddy nailed it: you want to know their music going in. We saw two shows last summer. They do mix up the sets, but they don’t game. In fact, they seem anti-jam. I think jeff Tweedy is into his songs being perfectly composed. Hence: fantastic raw material for improv.

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    WOW Hall is my favorite small venue in the world


    Nonprofit, volunteer driven dance hall with floating hardwood dance floor, in Eugene, OR

    I was a volunteer and then on the board there for some years in the 90s. Saw at least 200 shows there. Many of the best nights of my life were in that room.

  24. SOAM Says:

    Songs that need work after listening
    1. Guyute-tough to nail esp after 5 yrs
    2. Pebbles and Marbles-I love this song-esp from IT (1x play)
    3. llama (1x play)

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

    “WOW” stands for “Woodsmen of the World” which was like a grange hall or sort of a union for loggers back in the early 20th century, they built it, thus the amazing wood floor

    just cool that it’s called the “WOW Hall” I think


Leave a Reply