A Happy Halloween

After nailing their costume of  Exile On Main Street, Phish emerged for their third set of Halloween. Usually reserved for uber-exploratory, dark jamming, the final sets of Halloweens past have featured ’94’s demonic “David Bowie,” ’95’s colossal “You Enjoy Myself,” ’96’s combo of “Maze” and a dark-horse “Simple,” and ’98’s terrorizing masterpiece of “Wolfman’s Brother.” So when the band came out for their final frame, it wasn’t a leap of faith to think that we were in for some heavy psychedelia, ’09 style. But when the dust settled after the triumphant five-song set, many were left wondering where the ghosts and goblins had gone?

10.30.09 (G.Lucas)

10.30.09 (G.Lucas)

Instead of delving into their hallowed haunted experiments, Phish laid down their most upbeat and cheerful Halloween set ever. Many waited for the spooks to arrive, but even when the band launched into a third set “Ghost,” no harrowing darkness emerged. Slightly thrown, waiting to hear a larger and more sinister piece of music, expectations poked at my third set experience.

10.30.09 (W.Rogell)

10.30.09 (W.Rogell)

Opening the set with “Backwards Down the Number Line” seemed like an odd Halloween choice, but remembering the burgeoning versions of late-summer, it seemed Phish would use their favorite new-school vehicle to take us into the abyss. The last times we heard the song, it blossomed into uncharted psychedelia at SPAC and Chicago. But on this night in Indio, the jam barely broke form, and when it did, it spilled right into “Fluffhead.” Featuring the once-elusive opus in almost every big set this year, Phish played a particularly strong version of their revived composition. And when “The Arrival” hit, the tree-sized tiki-torches that surrounded the concert field shot blasts of fire for the first time of the weekend. A triumphant guitar solo had the crowd in the palm of Trey’s hand, and upon the ending of the song, Phish dropped into the “Ghost” we had been waiting for.

10.30.09 (G.Lucas)

10.30.09 (G.Lucas)

“The Indio Ghost” – it sounded nasty before it even started. As Phish darted into the jam, they carried a distinct rock and roll texture with them. Some short clav patterns and rhythm chops would be as funky as this version got, as the band veered away from deep groove or dark psychedelia in favor of a straight forward rock grooves. Minutes into this section, Page initiated a piano pattern that spurned a gradual, band-wide peak into the fields of bliss. Trey decided he would take this one as far from the dark side as possible, doubling as a geyser of spiritual melodies in one of the most energetic peaks of the weekend. A relatively concise jam ended on very high note before winding back down into the song’s ending. A solid version no doubt, but certainly nothing eerie or supernatural.

10.31.09 (G.Lucas)

10.31.09 (G.Lucas)

At this point, it became clear Phish chose a different path for this Halloween set, or perhaps their emotions just brought them there. Having just finished the Exile set, and no doubt hanging with all of their guests during setbreak, the obviously fun energy of their evening may have led them to choose feel-good music to finish off the night. And in the Phish universe there is nary a feel-good song like “You Enjoy Myself.” The ensuing version that followed a “Circus” interlude transformed into an instant show highlight with a series of grooves and continual peaks that showcased the band’s precision and passion on this special night. Phish slaughtered their classic in one of the strongest renditions of the year. An extended bass vamp led into a vocal jam in which Kuroda improvised with the fire of the tiki-torches rather than the stage lights – creating the most entertaining ending segment in memory.

Following the vibe of the show, the encore brought back the horns and singers for a blistering gospel-rock version of “Suzy Greenberg, complete with a “Suzy Reprise” jam once the song ended. It may have been Halloween, but Phish had just thrown down a definitively rejoiceful set with smiles all around. As the band transformed “Suzy” into a climactic show-closer with their entire ensemble, the positive energy oozed off the stage. A celebratory Halloween, this night will be remembered for its grab bag of musical treats rather than any wicked trickery.


Jams of the Day: 10.31 III



You Enjoy Myself




phish-festival8-ticket10.30.09 Festival 8, Indio, CA < Torrent

10.30.09 Festival 8, Indio, CA < Megaupload

I: Party Time, Chalk Dust Torture, The Moma Dance, NICU, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Stash, I Didn’t Know, Poor Heart, Cavern, Beauty of a Broken Heart, Ocelot, Time Turns Elastic

II: Punch You in the Eye, Down With Disease > Prince Caspian > Wolfman’s Brother > Piper > Joy, David Bowie, Harry Hood, Golgi Apparatus

E: Character Zero

Source: Schoeps CCM4V’S (din) > Lunatec V2 > Benchmark AD2K > Sound Devices 722 (24/48) (Taper: Z-Man)

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842 Responses to “A Happy Halloween”

  1. Lycanthropist Says:


    while i agree watching week to week is a frustrating thing, and i didnt do it until season 3, i think the cliff-hanging nature of the episodes is what makes it such a great show. The writing requires you to tune in each week, and MOST of the time it delivers. Dont get me wrong there are def some bad episodes.. but Season 4 and Season 5 had very few if any…

  2. Mitch Says:

    join the email list for the MSG meet and greet and we can all party down!

    ANYONE ELSE WANNA DO THE MEET AND GREET, add your info and I’ll be emailing (not spamming) you with where and when during the week of


  3. BTB Says:

    The Clean Vibe era

  4. Mitch Says:

    I posted a link halfway up with all the meanings of the symbols. cool stuff there.

    I’m gonna sit on my couch and just watch episode after episode and see what you fools have been talking about for months on end now.

  5. beepaphone Says:

    Dexter always sucks me in…my favorite…Lost is up there too though for sure

  6. SJC Says:

    “I HATE watching Lost week to week…It is shameless in it’s addictive writing…purposefully leaves you dangling after each episode…
    Wait till the season ends and Netflix the DVD’s, or download the episodes. Thats the way to do it.”

    Shameless!! That would be a tough thing to do, but I’ll agree with you on that one. Wifey and I cracked out to the first two seasons on DVD one weekend. Couldn’t get enough. Watching the following seasons on DVR week to week took some getting used to.

  7. BTB Says:

    The Clean Vibe Party Time era

  8. Marshall Says:

    GratefulCub … your buddy is going to be Grateful to yo bad self for shining the light.

    I took a buddy who had never seen Phish but loved the GD to night one of The Fox Theater Atlanta 1995 (opener: Tweeprise). All he could say afterwards, while shaking his head from left to right, was “I didn’t know.”

  9. Neemor Says:

    Mitch (and all),
    We are going to have a serious throwdown in The City that weekend!
    Getting prepped at a New York bar prior to showtime is the coolest thing I can think of, so we need to do this right.
    That’s going to be a good time!

  10. halcyon Says:

    just started watching lost from the beginning….arriving to the party late as it ends in 2010

  11. butter Says:

    @gratefulcub – you can def prepare someone for their first Phish. You’ve started in the right direction with the cd burnin.

    if they recognize songs they will feel much more “comfortable”. Because no matter how much prep they do on their listening, they will still hear a plethora of new material.

    There will be so much new stimulus, including how much doper the songs sound live. (which they will only be able to prepare for by having heard recorded versions)

    Then there is the light show. No need to prepare someone for that. Just throw them in the tank and watch them absorb ck5 in real time.

    No need to touch on Gamehendge just yet. You just let them keep seein shows untill the question arises.

  12. Mitch Says:

    I prob cant meet before the show on weds but can throw down after.

    I can meet before thurs/fri

    I still vote for “House of Brews” (http://www.houseofbrewsny.com/) because of the beer selection and jukebox.

  13. Birddog Says:

    I’m all for meeting up at MSG – as long as there isnt too much hugging involved – flying solo the first couple nights.

  14. gratefulcub Says:

    I was that guy in Lexington, KY in 96, except I couldn’t even claim to be a Dead fan. I just happened to be 20 years old and work at a restaurant next door to Rupp Arena. A buddy had an extra ticket, so I went. I had never heard a phish song, I knew nothing about the band, I just knew I loved music.

    I was blown away. It took me another year to really get on the phish wagon. I didn’t have any friends with any of those cool Maxell bootlegs, so I didn’t have the ability to start soaking it up. But, I knew they existed.

    Moved, got a job at another restaurant, and there was a kid with dreads and phish T’s. I tried to pick him up as if he was a hot chic. I picked up shifts he would be working, just for a chance to talk to him. I knew, without a doubt, that he had those tasty bootlegs that I sought, maybe so maybe not. Within 6 months, I had the bootlegs, I moved into his house, and we set out on Summer tour 98. A decade later, we were the best men in each other’s wedding.

  15. Mitch Says:

    also, anyone coming in on tuesday, they have a two for tuesday special. buy one get one stella drafts.

    Dunno about finding a good deal on drinks in midtown within a short distance to MSG. I dont wanna go to the bars right there at MSG because they get too crowded and you cant get a drink.

  16. Neemor Says:

    I suggest a Tweezer.
    The recognizable chords to Tweezer, the fact that it’s usually a lengthy highlight and that Tweeprise brings back the same sounds later on to “bookend” the show is a very engaging and memorable way to invite someone into Phish.
    If they don’t play tweezer, you’re not losing any effect, but if they do, it is a very recognizable and therefore comforting feeling for first timers.
    I may be a bit biased as my first show 11/26/97 Hartford opened with Tweezer, but I distinctly remember the cool bookending feeling that that catchy tune created in my mind.
    And I never looked back!

  17. Mitch Says:

    good story gratefulcub.

    maybe i’ll switch my shift on wednesday and we can do a trifecta! better start saving now for brews

  18. butter Says:

    @gp420 – too bad we didn’t hook up at 8. So many people i didn’t see. Once these things get rollin’ its tough to do any extra logistics or cordination. I bumped into a few folks for sure. Marshall and Halcyon it was great to meet you guys.

    i ran into one friend during Exile that always thinks he’s just a little to cool for school. His comment about Exile was “it wouldn’t have been my first choice”

    I looked him square in the eye and said ” well it wasn’t you choice, now was it?” He said “i guess not”….and i peaced out. Its never enough for some people.

  19. beepaphone Says:

    hell yeah gratefulcub

    like a good brahmance.

    I taking a couple of first timers to cinci…they’re crawling out of their skin excited right now…both have liked phish for years years, just never made it to the show.

  20. Neemor Says:

    It’s going to be about 78-84% hugging.
    Just saying.

  21. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    RE: Sleep Again

    I am so looking forward to the new, older tunes from others’ catalogs to get folded into the Phish catalog, like Sleep Again por ejemplo. Invisible too, no?

    Finally got around to relistening to 10-31 night sets last night in the back yard sucking down beers and spinning in the moonlight and shadow dancing. My head is dented from last night, mostly the music but also the beer caused the damage. 🙂

    I had to break down and pop MtDew to get after it this AM.

    Wook Down!
    Señor C, are those really a product from CP? May have to pick one up.

  22. Leo Weaver Says:

    good rundown there butter re: cub’s buddy. I took my bro-in-law to the knoxville show…had an extra and wanted some company for the drive. He’d never seen them before and had spent minimal listening time at best (and probably from albums or ALO)…and he’s not out of the phan mold really. I played a few of my favorite highlights to get his ears ready and told him, “if you get bored with the music, just WATCH THE LIGHTS!” I think he was blown away with the whole sensory overload experience…looked over several times to see his mouth wide open, jaw on the floor. He’s never really told me what he thought other than “great time”, but told my wife, “it was almost too much to take in and process…wow is all I can say.” On vacataion recently, he plugged into my laptop as we enjoyed hippie speedballs and I think really listened. Later in the week, he was running around spouting out random lyrics. Now if I can only get him to understand how to really surrender to the flow…

  23. Neemor Says:

    House of Brews sounds good.
    I’ll keep thinking also…want to make sure it’s done first class.

  24. Birddog Says:

    I’m actually bringing a Phish noob to the friday MSG show – so far got him hooked on the 6/18/94 Bowie and the Great Went Gin

  25. beepaphone Says:

    ^ me no type good todays

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