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. randomreader Says:

    @ neemor – i was 4.

  2. sumodie Says:

    My fav KDF was at F8 as it was sooo smooth throughout (was it happy, even bouncy? need to re-listen). My expectations were messed up at roo 1, though I still recognize that it goes out there. I prefer the Asheville KDF over roo 1 myself.

    Folks are right -there was no darkness at Indio, not that I minded. Sunday was the groovefest I waited all summer for. There’s sure to be some darkness as phish moves thru the old industrial American ciites on fall tour, coupled with colder weather and indoor concrete.
    Love me some Phish 2.0, especially IT. ’04 didn’t seem to grab me, and I was at SPAC both nights.

    Sure hope AW bails on msg more for unspoken $ issues than anything else. MSG has always been the Queen Muthaship, followed by Hampton. But I can see trading MSG in order to do Miami -those ’03 shows were wildly fun, even if the band wasn’t the tightest.

  3. sumodie Says:

    The Roo Wilson was weird as the (newbie) crowd started chanting it during YEM. Trey heard it and the band went with it. Very cool moment. And not bashing newbies, but the high % must have been responsible for that. Sure enough, afterwards we’re dumped back in to YEM. Just another walk in the park for the boys. They seemed to play so effortlessly at the roo compared to other artists. I much preferred Roo 2 though.

    Love the Roo, but yes, won’t go back without a phish double header.

  4. flarrdogg Says:

    Thanks Mr C- Its a coming now. Can’t wait to listen. I downloaded some other JGB files from your mediafire a while ago and have been really enjoying. I am a huge fan of any and all Jerry Band from any era- always have been. I have all the pure jerry releases and some random shows on tape, but am always looking to be turned onto more- especially if it sounds halfway decent. So full of soul-love it.

  5. beepaphone Says:

    @ Sumodie…
    Really??? I mean I went with the Wilson….SURELY didn’t expect those notes to come out of the YEM jam, but I think it was the intention. Seemed like they were really going for the Wilson to me.

  6. randomreader Says:

    @sumodie, huh, that’s interesting. i only have the tapes to go on, and i could have sworn they were actually teasing wilson. then again i can see in itunes that it’s the next track. was it clearer from the band’s reactions that they weren’t actually teasing it, but played it anyway for the sake of the crowd?

    either way, that’s probably now my fav version of that tune in a while, so if it took a bunch of noobs to push them into it, thank god for the noobs! LLFA

  7. sumodie Says:

    Deer Creek
    I wasn’t there and have only listened once, but I didn’t get why folks raved about it (though I don’t doubt them either). That’ll be a leg 1 show I should definitely check out again.

    Maybe I was jealous of having missed the epic lightning storm 🙂

  8. beepaphone Says:

    It was like WHAT?! ok. here we go…that’s our cue.

  9. randomreader Says:

    –> currently having my ass handed to me by ‘Roo’s R&R>Light>46 Days

    god damn.

  10. flarrdogg Says:

    Mr. C.-I don’t think I have ever heard those sounds coming from Jerry’s guitar before- starting around the 3:10 mark. Very cool.

  11. brother Says:

    Probably like most on this site, my first foray into Phish was 94 (Dayton). My second was 95 (Dayton). I have that “man, I was there for that 95′ (insert great jam…mine was Dayton Tweezer>Makisupa>Antelope…..)” story that everyone shares. I have to say though that I have never been so excited than I am about the upcoming Cincy shows. Got my tickets yesterday, good price and good seats, after I got direction from y’all on where to start (ticket exchange board here). Fest8 live feed was amazing but reading comments from those who were there only made me feel…….jealous……..no…..yes, JEALOUS! I am planning for Miami. Have a place to stay in West Palm…I live in Atl….I must make this happen….

  12. sumodie Says:

    I recall hearing a vague crowd chant for Wilson even though, imho, the band was not going to do that -they were just jamming. But the crowd’s chant was loud enough to reach Trey, and I could see him laugh, think for a moment, and check in with the other guys before switching to Wilson. That was my take. I was standing against the outside wall of the left orchestra pit. Clear view of the action.

  13. sumodie Says:

    ‘Roo’s R&R>Light>46 Days

    My fav roo jam, and one of my summer leg 1 highlights for sure.

    Roo 1 felt like a greatest hits, play it for the newbie crowd (that’s not a dis, btw), and Roo 2 felt like a regular phish show, for the core fans.

    Either way the boys blew the roof off the roo -they proved why they are some of the best live musicians around while down of the Farm.

  14. beepaphone Says:

    I mean…I’m not doubting what you saw…i was just to the right of the sound stage…From where I was, there were people looking confused for a split second, and it was quite obvious before we went along. That could have spread from your area.

    I haven’t really given that segment a solid critical listen…get back to you in 5.

  15. beepaphone Says:


    YOU ARE RIGHT!!! so subtle, but i heard the crowd chant it once, then trey plays a little solo riff, then theres a little pause (presumably when he checks w/ the others) and they drop into it.. WOW. I wasn’t even spun that night….Helps when you are close enough to see the looks on their faces. My apologies for doubting you.

  16. joe Says:

    thanks for the jerry links. I loved those late era jgb northeast runs, which probably speaks to the larger discussion of experience vs. re-listenability. the giant “dead-scene” was missing from the shows. Plenty of room to move around and such. Actually it sounds like these upcoming midwest phish shows might have the same quality.

  17. randomreader Says:

    i totally believe sumodie’s call on this

    it’s just funny because listening to the tape i assumed the opposite interpretation – that the band did mean to tease it, that in a large crowd full of many first-timers only a few die-hards got the reference the first time around, then the band sort of flubbed the key change/drop into the song proper (hence the pause)

    i know phish is now the “band that takes requests” (flashbacks to merriweather’s tube..grrrrr) but this seems a little extreme!


  18. beepaphone Says:

    Yeah but why would a noob as opposed to a seasoned vet chant “Wilson” to a Wilson tease? Is it written in the book to ignore any possible Wilson teases? Tough stuff…Still think Sumo’s right, but I think any crowd would have reacted the same.

  19. beepaphone Says:

    guess i’m somewhere between…just listened to yem>wilson>yem again and regardless who is at fault/praise, it was a classic moment.

  20. snowbank Says:

    anybody know where to get the sbds?

  21. snowbank Says:

    I am really just looking for the best source of the F8 sets.

  22. johnny the boy Says:

    i was 14 Neemor. and lushington doesn’t have parts of fluffhead in it, fluffhead has parts of lushington in it.

  23. neemor Says:

    I love me a good Antelope.
    Understatement of the year.
    7/13/99 Great Woods was that Antelope for me. Absolute rager. 20K people vibrating through space and time as one.
    That show was one of the most truly and purely psychedelic shows of my personal Phishtory, including the NO2.

  24. beepaphone Says:

    All these jams we’re talking about…I can’t wait to hear what we get indoors…should be full throttle by night 2 Cincy, but Neems, Mitch, all you other cats going to MSG are in for a treat. I’m Going to miss every other show next year if it means I can make the Gorge and MSG.

  25. neemor Says:

    If no one said it yet, the Melt from 8 was dark, sumodie

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