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)

Tags: , ,

842 Responses to “A Happy Halloween”

  1. msbjivein Says:

    Yeah, Speak IT Harry!! WHy Not???? Phish Sucks!!

  2. HarryHood Says:

    @ SOAM

    My thoughts exactly. Free has always been one of my favorite tunes. Trey needs to bring back the drum kit during that one again. The Free from the Clifford Ball is fuckin insane…….

  3. voopa Says:

    Before I throw them away, who wants my analogs? I have about 100 Phish and 3-400 GD tapes that do nothing but take up space in my closet. vooopa (3 o’s) at gmail. Serious.

  4. msbjivein Says:

    I’ve always thought Phish should buy a shit ton of land and Just live there w/ the Phans. Then play when ever they want….A Phish commune!! Daily LivePhish meditation……..I think I might be onto something…..

  5. HarryHood Says:

    If they did a festi every weekend, we would be making donuts in the shape of a 16 by New Years!!!!

  6. msbjivein Says:

    Voopa Take them to a show and give them to a Young Phan w/ a tape player. Pass on the Wisdom……

  7. HarryHood Says:

    If Phish had their own town, would it be called Gamehenge?

  8. msbjivein Says:

    Of Course!!!

  9. HarryHood Says:

    Jesus, what an idea for a festival. Just call the damn thing Gamehenge and go for it.

  10. msbjivein Says:

    And Never leave…………….

  11. HarryHood Says:

    I come from the land of darkness, I come from the land of doom!

  12. HarryHood Says:

    If this Gamehenge thing works out, I’m marrying Tela before any of you bitches get your hands on her!!! haha

  13. Marshall Says:

    “But I’m never ever goin’ back there … and I couldn’t if I tried”

    It was a good idea though.

  14. HarryHood Says:

    ^ Yea, it’s Friday and I’ve officially gone mental.

  15. Mitch Says:

    What gorge show has those 3 songs??

  16. beepaphone Says:

    aaahhh i can tell its friday just by reading the posts…
    anyone here not wake and bake?

  17. SOAM Says:

    Jivein-I am in talks with a landowner in upstate New Hampshire-he has an old ski area and several acres he is selling and I am planning on building a stage and a condominium to serve as the band’s home venue-I expect they will play-thurs thru sunday all summer..my proposal will include midget wookies as servants…they will eventually do the thing the dead did-play weekend shows to cater to their fans and to keep them off the road and away from their families for long periods of time. Keep and eye and ear out for the :


  18. beepaphone Says:

    AHEM. Dwarfs.

  19. Marshall Says:

    Are Nectars or The Front still open? They should start playing there thurs-Sat every weekend that they aren’t on tour.

  20. SOAM Says:

    Cumstein-maybe it’s red rocks..

  21. sumodie Says:

    Anyone know of a good F8 soundcheck source?

    The best one that I’ve found, which has bass distortion at times, is linked at Jamtopia (50:32 min)


    The next two appear to be copies of one another and have more distortion (both 49:27 min)



  22. flarrdogg Says:

    they prefer “little people”, soam

  23. beepaphone Says:

    Gotta be careful in the business plans….you never know if theres LPs workin upstairs

  24. Mitch Says:

    can we call it the SOAM AMPHITHEATER since its outdoors and the SOAM CENTER will be the indoor venue for the winter??

  25. Mr. Completely Says:

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

    Reading at home right now, kiddo is watching some TV, and right when I read this what comes on but the sound of…crickets.

    Massive open-jam Sparkle is one of the best ideas ever. Tragic the band has never realized it.

Leave a Reply