A Happy Halloween

After nailing their costume ofย  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. fat bastard Says:

    song I want to hear, “all things reconsidered” after anything big

  2. neemor Says:

    Wow, fb….pretty much everyone I’ve heard here says that that was the best Loving Cup of all time and it should now be shelved because it couldn’t be topped.

  3. fat bastard Says:

    not what I think at all. the horns and the repitition messed with Phish’s style within that song. obviously IMO

  4. randomreader Says:

    since we’re inventing dream sets, how about this:

    msg, night 1 opener: foreplay/long time

    if trey can still hit those notes, that is!

  5. neemor Says:

    Someone posted the other day, “I want to get a ‘Wook Down, Send Headies’ tote bag for my nana” and I just laughed about it right now.

  6. neemor Says:

    Question then becomes- Foreplay/Longtime electric ala 7/12/99 or acoustic as per usual before that?
    After our recent acoustic set treatment, that is a cool and interesting possibility.
    Acoustic three song run to open.
    To slow to start a show, or just right??

  7. Frankie Says:

    Just relistened to Merriweather 46 Days remastered… what a jam! Certainly in my top 5 of the summer… pure dose of hose!

    There is a section at the end where you can really feel they are gone and it’s the music playing them… truly incredible and one of the reason i love Phish so much… nobody plays like that!

    Thank you Phish! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. neemor Says:

    MSG 12/3/09 Set I:
    Foreplay/Longtime, Bathtub Gin, Lizards*, Tweezer>Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Lushington, Ha Ha Ha, Purple Haze>Run Like an Antelope

    * Foreplay/Longtime through Lizards played acoustic

  9. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    re: songs they should bust out
    someone mentioned fuck your face; did anyone else catch the fuck your face “tease” (more of a joke) by trey during the 8 soundcheck? after i heard that i had to wonder… what if.

  10. neemor Says:

    Anything is possible today!
    Goodnight, guys….talk tomorrow.

  11. randomreader Says:

    i haven’t actually heard the acoustic version, but i heard the electric one about a week ago and shat myself. i’d be pulling for electric.

    oof 1am, haven’t been up this late in ages. night all, catch up on the morrow.

  12. Frankie Says:

    If they are to play some acoustic at MSG, they have to play that new one, Splinters of Hail… was waiting for it during sunday’s acoustic set…

    I had it on repeat ever since i heard it… such a beautiful well recorded song…

  13. Chuck Says:

    Does everybody know each other here?

  14. Chuck Says:

    Shaggy Dog? Bust Out?

  15. Chuck Says:

    I give up

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    Camden and deer creek and Bonnaroo 2 are the 3 shows that stand up still from June IMO with Alpine 2 right behind. All other shows have highlights.

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    Snowbank – archive coming soon!!!

  18. Frankie Says:

    I agree Mr. Miner but i think Knoxville too as a whole really stands out setlist, flow and playing wise… and the Bowie is dynamite!

  19. Frankie Says:

    10.30 Wolfman’s > Piper = ๐Ÿ™‚

    Love the transition!

  20. Chuck Says:

    I was in college 15 years ago and all I cared about was gettin a ticket into the show…I still do to this day…I think many phans have lost their way..

  21. Wax Banks Says:

    Hey did anyone else think F8 was just really musical, man? Like totally just in there, you know, like rock? Man, it was just like the whole time I was like shiiiit, you know? Only fucking rock. Right on. That’s what I’ve been saying all along!

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    And it’s all about experience. Tapes are fun memories.

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    @wax trolling again?

  24. Wax Banks Says:

    Also, the F8 Guelah and Wedge were fucked. Undermind was marvelous in a schizoid way but Trey just fell right out of things for a run of tunes in there. Worrisome at the time, meh now.

  25. Wax Banks Says:

    @wax trolling again?

    I generally get a lot of enjoyment out of ignoring folks, so please understand the sacrifice I’m making in responding like this:


    Ridin’ dirty,

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