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. HarryHood Says:

    I bought my first house this spring and when I moved in, I almost tossed out my collection of tapes due to the ease of obtaining digital media on the web now. Most (if not all) of the XLII’s that I have are readily available online, but I just couldn’t convince myself to toss the tapes. I guess I have this pipe dream that someday my future children will stumble across them and think they are worth listening to like I used to do with my parents old LP’s

  2. Marshall Says:

    Case Logic = 20 shows in your car (maybe)

    iPod = hundreds of shows in your car with no flipping

  3. KWL Says:

    word you too Marshall. Glad Robear is such a good guy & hosted us all week. Props to him

  4. msbjivein Says:

    Anybody know where I can get Fest 8 on Cassette Tape?? How many 90min tapes would that be?? 8-9

  5. Marshall Says:

    Wanted to throw in my $.02 on the collective mind-meld that took place with the crowd in terms of glow-ring tossing. Really impressive and reminds me that the audience at a Phish show is truly an interactive part of the show.

  6. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I definitely still rock the XLIIs. 12-29-07 is in the deck in my old subaru right now (but F8 has been on the ipod). we recently bought a new house so I’ve rediscovered my analog lifestyle since everything came out of storage. The really weird part is having to rewind/fast forward.

  7. msbjivein Says:

    What sucks about the IPods is you can’t play shit backwards and look for sercret messages from the devil……Sucks!…..That’s why Vinyl Rules!!

  8. Marshall Says:

    I wish there had been a show on 12-29-07

  9. KWL Says:

    Looking for spookiness? Wolfman’s>Piper

    Looking for owls? Can’t really help you there

  10. Bapslap Says:

    I love me some good indoor.

  11. RunRobin Says:

    great writeup, Miner. i’ve been saying the same thing, that one of the main differences in current Phish is a lack of ‘The Dark Side’. i wonder if it’s distinctly intentional, like the dark jamming of past days is too reminiscient of what mindsets brought out the darkness? or maybe it’s as simple as they just are feeling too happy to get very dark, musically.

    though sunday’s SOAM got reeeeaaally dark and dirty i thought.

  12. Marshall Says:

    I’ve mentioned this before but “outdoor vs. indoor” would be a good article for Miner. Maybe he’s done it already and I’ve just forgotten.

  13. msbjivein Says:

    Man, Tough crowd this morning…………..

  14. SJC Says:

    lol @msb. Paul is dead, Paul is dead….

    Re: FF/RW – what a pain in the ass! Someone on here fairly recently mentioned listening to full shows more in the XLII days because FF/RW was a hassle.

    Now its all pre-programmed….I see you kids out there with your iPods and DVD’s. It’s all machines!! When was the last time anyone read a fuckin book?!

  15. cwc Says:

    When the 4 song sets first started appearing in 95ish the running joke in my crew was when were we going to get the 30 min Sparkle.

    I too still listen to the XLIIs occasionally. Makes you appreciate what you have even more.

  16. Marshall Says:

    When I walk through the doors at an arena, I feel like I’ve just stepped into the freezer.

  17. msbjivein Says:

    When I’m done Freezing I want to be Alone…..You?

  18. Mitch Says:

    ITS FRIDAY! and all is right in the phish thoughts world. Miner is bringing the goodness in the AM. It’s not MY friday, thats tomorrow but still, people are in better moods today.

    What’s up ev’rbody?

  19. KWL Says:

    you’re on today msb

  20. msbjivein Says:

    I had a dream about a big Red Worm…….Weird…….

  21. SOAM Says:

    Just listened to the gorge with DWD, FREE AND DIRT. The jam in DWD is insane..FREE-sometimes I forget how great that song is and how much I loved it when it first got played-Free is the tits, and I love Dirt and Bug-2 songs that remind me of each other-no idea why…I’m gonna hit the ceiling in Albany on the first night of a Northeast 6 pack…motherfuckin on

  22. Marshall Says:

    “I know you don’t smoke weed, I know this; but I’m gonna get you high today, ’cause it’s Friday; you ain’t got no job… and you ain’t got shit to do.”

  23. HarryHood Says:

    I wish there was another live Phish stream to listen to tonight. I really had fun with that last Friday. Can’t they have a festival EVERY weekend???? Is that too much to ask?

  24. Mitch Says:

    both of them are landing points and both come from Farmhouse. I connect the two as well.

  25. Gunnin4you Says:

    Didn’t read the other posts, but the Fluffhead ‘Bundle of Joy’ is Halloween at its best. Fishman made this a ‘dark’ Bundle of Joy.

    The jam out of DWD right before Caspian is amazing as well, akin to the jam out of Light.

    Amazing festival my friends

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