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”

  1. wvbrdr Says:

    E: Liberty – I remember at the ’96 Red Rocks shows hanging out in Morrison in the afternoon. Chick had her music cranked on the street while people walked by. As soon as Liberty came on, every single person walking by danced their way past her. every one. it was great.

  2. wvbrdr Says:

    What?! how did my post get up there?

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    Miner, you have this one? Or anyone? Never heard it.

    Thursday, 04/04/1991 WOW Hall, Eugene, OR

    Set 1: The Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, You Enjoy Myself, The Squirming Coil, Llama, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Fly Famous Mockingbird, Possum, Carolina, Golgi Apparatus

    Set 2: The Curtain > Runaway Jim, Guelah Papyrus, David Bowie, Lawn Boy, The Landlady, My Sweet One, The Divided Sky, HYHU > Love You[1] > HYHU > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars

    Encore: Magilla, Highway to Hell

    Encore 2: Contact, Uncle Pen

    [1] Band introductions.

    Notes: Before Love You, which included band introductions, Fishman noted that his backup Mighty Mite vacuum has the same suction per inch as his broken Electrolux (which he acknowledged as “the greatest vacuum of all”).

  4. SOAM Says:

    Jeez-I always thought WOW was for “whipem out wednesday”-a more polite version of “show me your cans”

  5. ThePigSong Says:

    first time trying to upload a picture and posting it.


    got my Tickets this afternoon…

  6. ThePigSong Says:

    scrap that, try this


  7. Mr. Completely Says:


  8. Bapslap Says:

    Funny, I was never into Wilco until I heard “Sky Blue Sky”. The addition of Nels Cline has made the performances much more interesting IMO. The guitar solos on Sky Blue Sky are amazing.

  9. Little Buddy Says:

    Actually, you’re right, bapslap. Sky Blue Sky has some great tunes. The most recent Wilco album I just can’t get into though. Track 4 is good, but the rest – just doesn’t tug at me at all.

  10. SOAM Says:

    15 fuckin years man-this show can flat out hang…

    Boston Garden, Boston, MA (Saturday, 10/1/94)

    Help on the Way ->
    Slipknot! ->
    Franklin’s Tower
    Walkin’ Blues
    Me & My Uncle ->
    Big River
    Tom Thumb’s Blues
    So Many Roads
    Promised Land

    Scarlet Begonias ->
    Fire on the Mountain
    Way to go Home
    Saint of Circumstance ->
    Terrapin ->
    Drums ->
    Space ->
    The Last Time ->
    Stella Blue ->
    One More Saturday Night

    E: Liberty
    19 Songs

  11. fatbastard Says:

    how many albums have been whacked? 7?

  12. Ocelot42 Says:

    Fifteen albums have met their untimely ends:

    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | Damn The Torpedoes
    Medeski, Martin & Wood | Shack Man
    Huey Lewis And The News | Sports
    Talking Heads | Fear Of Music
    Leonard Cohen | I’m Your Man

    Velvet Underground | Velvet Underground And Nico
    The Who | Who’s Next
    The Beatles | Rubber Soul
    White Stripes | Elephant
    Ween | White Pepper

    Fleetwood Mac | Rumours
    Primus | Sailing The Seas Of Cheese
    Allman Brothers Band | Eat A Peach

    Manu Chao | Clandestino
    Pavement | Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

  13. Pence Says:


  14. EL Duderino Says:

    Those tix are pretty!!!!! The artist did a great job.

  15. fatbastard Says:

    no album is safe! I love it.

  16. EL Duderino Says:


    Do you have this particular source? If not, it’s the one to get.


  17. SOAM Says:

    alittle later on another saturday night (again) at MSG (10/14/09) is no slouch

  18. kenny powers Says:

    I guess so Duder, with this comment at the bottom of the db page:

    “Possibly the most hi-fi Grateful Dead recording ever.”

    I’m almost always partial to matrices (a la Hunter Seamons) but if the mix is done well I love me a crispy SBD.

  19. Jay Says:

    or WOOT (Woodsman Out Of Timber)

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    hmf. I’m a fan of neither Cutler’s recordings nor Bertha remasters. I suspect that poster of smoking crack.

  21. EL Duderino Says:

    @ Mr. C.

    I would attend to agree with you.
    The best Bertha Re-Masters that I have in my collection are of the Phil Lesh and Friends DSBD’s that Phil put out for us for free from that fall ’00 – ’03
    The Jimmy Herring And Warren Haynes PLQ I guess. The originals are nice and clean but a very small stereo image, the Bertha’s are a vast improvement. You can get all of those up-grades @ LMA

  22. SOAM Says:

    sorry-10-15 but 10/14 was good too-

  23. fatbastard Says:

    el dude-
    I don’t know anything about recordings, sound system’s etc but…the recent WSP recordings are amazing. their old sound was so distorted and echoy on recordings and this is so crisp, whatever they did to change how the soundboard or taping or whatever.. it worked

  24. guyforget Says:

    whoooaaaaa, GUY FORGET…….

  25. Lycanthropist Says:

    Mr. C –

    check out the joy box unveiling to hear the studio cut of party time.

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