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. beepaphone Says:

    SANS Deer Creek…..

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    @snowbank if you search around you can always find the boards, but I haven’t, so far I like the mkV FOBs a lot. I’m going to listen to another source from Sunday here in a minute…and I still haven’t really relistened to Friday except in mp3 at work.

    if the sbds are the same mix the stream was from (why wouldn’t it be) it’s a huge improvement from summer though

    the above FOBs are super bass-rich and have good trey amp tone so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them end up in a matrix before long, seems like a good candidate anyway

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    for example http://bt.etree.org/details.php?id=529446 for Saturday, plenty of seeds, just look for that same name in the “seeded by” column on the surrounding pages for friday and sunday

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    hey all, setlist will be up in the morning. lots to get through here. have a great night!

  5. neemor Says:

    “and lushington doesn’t have parts of fluffhead in it, Fluffhead has parts of lushington in it.”
    That does not compute for me.
    Lushington has lyrics. It’s a song. And that version has what we are now familiar with as parts of Fluffhead interspersed throughout the song itself. Not sure I agree.

  6. randomreader Says:

    i thought the gist was that lushington was written first, and parts of it were cribbed and written into fluffhead

    sort of like how rift has some “with” in it, but you can’t say that “with” has some rift in it, because rift came later

  7. randomreader Says:

    i believe this is true of several other old old tunes of theirs – bits of composition floated between different songs before crystallize into the form we know now. can’t think of other examples off the top of my head though

  8. randomreader Says:


  9. snowbank Says:

    I totally forgot about lushington. Good stuff.

    searching isn’t my strong suit. the Tor that you linked to is the same as nospoilers. no? also, what do you mean by above? are you referring to the link?

    Listening to gorge pebbles. awesome.

  10. snowbank Says:

    miner – thanks for everything. I love your site. have you ever considered putting together a canon of phish? similar to how lit departments have canon of classic texts?

  11. neemor Says:

    Yeah, rr, johnny and I were both right depending on how you read his post. It’s kind of an interesting, semantic type thing. Weird.
    I can not wait for the Portland show.

    Portland, ME. Cumberland County Civic Center, 11/29/09
    Set I:
    Bathtub Gin,

  12. randomreader Says:

    ok so after thoroughly over-saturating myself in the shows of early summer, i’ve come to a list i can’t possibly whittle down any further. i just don’t have the heart. here’s my personal take on the must-listen, good-as-anything-we’ve-heard-this-year cuts from june.

    1. Reba (6/2 Jones Beach)
    2. Harry Hood (6/2 Jones Beach)
    3. Ghost (6/4 Jones Beach)
    4. SOaM (6/5 Jones Beach)
    5. Seven Below (6/6 Great Woods)
    6. Fluffhead (6/6 Great Woods)
    7. Fee (6/7 Camden)
    8. Tube (6/7 Camden)
    9. Sand (6/7 Camden)
    10. Character Zero > Tweezer (6/7 Camden)
    11. Ghost > Fast Enough for You (6/9 Asheville)
    12. Kill Devil Falls (6/12 Bonnaroo)
    13. YEM -> Wilson > YEM (6/12 Bonnaroo)
    14. Rock & Roll -> Light -> 46 Days (6/14 Bonnaroo)
    15. McGrupp (6/16 The Fox)
    16. DWD (6/18 Burgettstown)
    17. Harry Hood -> Squirming Coil (6/18 Burgettstown)
    18. A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing -> Drowned -> Twist (6/19 Deer Creek)
    19. Tweezer (6/19 Deer Creek)
    20. Crosseyed > DWD > Bug > Piper (6/21 Alpine)
    21. Slave (6/21 Alpine)

    i’d be happy to turn this into a mix for anyone who doesn’t have these. it’s all from livephish, which unfortunately in this case means the quality’s not as great as some sources out there, but it still does the trick.

  13. randomreader Says:

    which reminds me – with demonoid still down, anyone know a good place to find some of those delightful matrices that were floating around from summer? particularly from early summer?

  14. neemor Says:

    11/29/09 CCCC
    Set I:
    Bathtub Gin, Timber (Jerry)>Piper>Down With Disease>Squirming Coil, Ocelot>Catapult>David Bowie

    Set II:
    Buried Alive>Lengthwise>Halley’s Comet>Peaches En Regalia, TMWSIY>Avenu>TMWSIY>Glide, Sloth>Antelope>Sloth>Also Sprach Zarathustra

    Weigh>Glide Reprise>Sanity>The Curtain (With)

  15. fat bastard Says:

    ok just got home and listening to some indio. if there is one song to some up the weekend it has to be Ester. Listen to trey he is so into the song. Perfection from the other 3. Ester was the theme song. amazing

  16. randomreader Says:

    neemor, you are a greedy fella

    i dig the notion of an ocepult, and weigh would be monumental. that and roggae are THE two i’m praying for above all others this fall. ok 3: scents and subtle sounds, WITH the long intro

  17. beepaphone Says:

    glide reprise? ballsy.

  18. randomreader Says:

    why not just go whole hog and say glide II while you’re at it

  19. neemor Says:

    Not only was that Esther a complete and utter surprise, but it was played perfectly. It stuck in my head for two days afterwards!

  20. neemor Says:

    Roggae is sorely missed by this fan!

  21. beepaphone Says:

    tmwsiy>glide>hyhu>fyf>hyhu>glide II>tmwsiy


  22. neemor Says:

    I don’t think I would recognize Glide II until it was almost over. It would be one of those…..wtf is this?!?!? moments. It would take that word of mouth ripple through the crowd until I realized what it is.
    Like the first time I heard TMWSIY played live, in concert. (7/4/00?)

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    i forgot about roggae when we were talking about songs we’d like to see come back, one of my very favorites


  24. fat bastard Says:

    after a relisten you realize that it wasn’t a perfect performance. But then of course it never will be. But it was full of emotion from both the band and the audicence and that will be evident every time you listen to those 3 days. I do have to say one thing, that maybe the worst Loving cup they’ve played in their last 20. Seriously, listen to that and then, I don’t know, Toyota Park E:, not even close. But the other 95 songs, love em.

  25. neemor Says:

    My fantasy Set II above is cool to me the way it sort of beckons you inwards in a kind of dream state and rolls in and out of that state throughout….

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