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. albert walker Says:

    I found the 8 tweezer to be pretty pedestrian that is the difference

    I got the slow jazzy melodic funk of red rocks
    I get the harder straight old school rock funk

    I just think it was slightly sloppy and uniteresting

  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    Reba was best of 09 (challenged by JBeach) and the Slave was sublime…

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    spin before you talk re:Tweezer 😉

  4. albert walker Says:

    YEM, Ghost, Slave were my highlights for sure

  5. flarrdogg Says:

    ^Last set- 11/1 III is pretty sweet. Had a good flow to it. My theory- them finally gittin’ comfortable.

  6. albert walker Says:

    I’m just raising the bands bar here Miner
    I know Trey has high standards himself

    I was at the Bomb Factory I know what they have in them still

  7. albert walker Says:

    listening all night tonight
    just started with exile

  8. Mr. Palmer Says:

    YEM best of 09. Loved that KDF as far as new tunes at 8 goes.

  9. albert walker Says:

    you Palmer are hearing it

    that KDF like the song or not was slayed
    that whole set IMO was the tightest Phish set of the weekend
    pretty straight up but played well from Sample on through

  10. albert walker Says:

    anyway off for some tubes and 8 sets of Phish
    thank you mr miner

  11. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Loved the late set placement of the Jim as well. The Gin not too shabby either.

  12. Summer98 Says:

    8 >>> Sum of parts

    There was exceptional playing overall and really great jams:
    YEM, Mike’s, Wolfman’s, Piper, and man o man that Jiboooooo! and the entire second set Night 1. Exile was something real special and the acoustic set far exceeded my expectations. It was just missing that Gorge Sally or Gin, nothing quite as out there, but you know what…… it didn’t matter. I was in the moment, the band was in the moment, my lady was in the moment, and the crowd was in the moment and it was f-n spectacular.

    Agreed re 10/31 1st set, they played it pretty safe, but I love DSky anytime.

  13. sumodie Says:

    Here’s a critical toss:

    Imho, the band was not able to sustain the high level playing at RR and Gorge throughout the remainder of the late summer tour. So now, post F8, I still have those same concerns. Is is solely the western vibe? Dunno…but it has nagged at me all along.

    I know exactly what folks here are talking about regarding the RR Tweezer and Gorge Sally -that’s what I’m aching for too, immensely. The boys earned a big fat pass at F8 -and I admire them greatly for what they did at Indio -F8 was a huge accomplishment. But my (our?) original concern remains.

    So, is the band’s new style of jamming responsible for producing fewer outrageous mindbending jams? I don’t think anyone can put a finger on it. I don’t think endless analysis will produce an answer -only fall tour can.

    This upcoming tour will definitely be a test (probably not the best word choice) in my mind. I’m certainly praying that phish 3.0 keeps improving and throwing curve balls. Thankfully we do know, from F8, that the boys have been practicing -let’s hope that continues too. And they sure have some soul too 8)

  14. Summer98 Says:

    Edit: I meant final set night 3 not 2nd set night one (too much work…)

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    raise the bar….I like it aw…curious to hear your opinion after listening…by the way, the SBDs sound INCREDIBLE!!!

  16. Summer98 Says:

    Agreed: the boards are great. Big thumbs up on that and on the sound at the venue.

  17. flarrdogg Says:

    sumodie- well put. try and approach fall sans expectations and with an open mind. agreed with miner about sbds. MUCH improved over summer.

  18. sumodie Says:

    @Miner: Not that I was worried, but I’m glad to hear that you found Exile amazing too (of course I read the review yesterday, but still).

    Yup -those SBDs sure are crisp!

  19. albert walker Says:

    This shine a light is making me smile ear to ear
    man I love Phish playing with such emotion

    like I said it is that Sisters and Brothers psychedellic church vibe

    Trey is living and feelings these songs
    good luck man I got 6 years sober and it only gets harder

  20. Mike's Pants Says:

    love all of the jokes in the phishbill (thanks, sumodie!)

    – Coran Capshaw tried to rename the Stones the ‘Mick Jagger Band’

    – Shapiro last seen debating epic-ness of 2/28/03 vs sickness of 6/18/04… with himself

    – Garry Brown determined to turn up the bass moved into his parent’s bass-ment… worked with other bass-heavy groups such as The Doors and the White Stripes

  21. butter Says:

    “spin before you talk ”

    quote of the day so far

    AW will eat crow after listening

  22. butter Says:

    @sumodie – i’m def with you on being a “total experience” guy, especially at a festival. Phish is one piece of the pie at a festival.

  23. sumodie Says:

    @butter: yeah, I seem to be hard wired that way, and that’s not to say that I’m not listening intently to the music either. Still not sure I’ve captured my thoughts exactly, though I’m def not saying other folks aren’t as into it either.

    Saturday night was one of those epic nights for me, something I will never ever forget. I said it here a couple days ago, but it was like a perfect storm of awesomeness. I could barely contained myself during the 2nd & 3rd sets – maybe I didn’t 8)

  24. sumodie Says:

    Finally pulled the trigger and got my flight to Miami (using frequent flyer miles) -that inadvertent webpage confirmation from Valley Music Travel sure helped.

    (In case you missed it, earlier today Valley Music Travel had a webpage up offering 2- and 4-day NYE hotel packages that INCLUDED phish tickets. I still have the webpage open on my browser.)

    Anyway, looks like I screwed myself by waiting to rent a car -but now I’m getting excited about bicycling around Miami -my SoBE hotel is only 5 miles from the AA Arena.

  25. sumodie Says:

    Here’s one of the two hotel packages Valley Music Travel had posted earlier (the other hotel is the South Beach Marriott on Ocean Drive):

    4 Nights at the Intercontinental Miami
    • 4 Nights at the Intercontinental Miami
    • CHECK IN: December 28th
    • CHECK OUT: January 1st
    • Shuttle transportation to and from the American Airlines Arena.
    (package includes 2 shuttle passes)
    • Package with tickets: 2 tickets for 12/28, 12/29, 12/30 & 12/31 shows
    $1449 for 2 ($724.50 each)
    $1049 for 2 W/ NO TICKETS
    2 NIght Shutle Passes $50
    For 2 People – 12/30 & 12/31
    4 NIght Shutle Passes $90
    For 2 People – 12/28, 12/29, 12/30 & 12/31

    * Intercontinental Miami
    * 100 Chopin Plaza • Miami, FL
    * Hotel Website • Google Map it

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