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. BTB Says:

    @Bird – that’s the guy. Looks like an extremely chill dude

  2. jdub Says:

    Don’t forget Hyena rock Lycan

  3. Lycanthropist Says:

    @ fatbaster –

    please expound upon that.. i like

    @jdub –

    sorry hyena rock is a good one too. add it to the list

  4. msbjivein Says:

    “They’re Back” ERA……….

  5. beepaphone Says:

    Have we nailed the names for 1.0 and 2.0 yet? what are they…I feel I need to know those before stepping into the 3.0 name game

  6. fat bastard Says:

    as much as we enjoy it and as much as the band wants it things will eventually revert back. i know, a negative phishthought..

  7. Birddog Says:

    I still think they are getting their form back – We will know more by New Years as far as their “theme”

    gogo FMS!

    @ BTB – no earmuffs on the “shit ass” part – in fact I say lots of bad words around my kids – they are going to hear it anyways I figure – I do avoid f-bombs though

  8. Lycanthropist Says:

    well there are different eras with in 1.0:

    space rock 95
    cow funk 97
    ambient rock 98
    groove tastic 99
    wall of sound 00

    2.0 maybe considered the IT era or if you wanna be more real about it you could call it the Debauchery Era

  9. BTB Says:

    1.0 – Phish destroys America

  10. Lycanthropist Says:

    @fb –

    yeah they will.. but i dont think it will get as bad as it was.. they’ve got a fairly good support group behind them right now

  11. Lycanthropist Says:

    btw gotta give props for sleep again.. probably my favorite new phish ballad

  12. beepaphone Says:

    Ok I like it BTB….it unifies everything that happened in all of the eras of 1.0

  13. gratefulcub Says:

    No one WANTS to call them the Oxy years, they just are.

    Wouldn’t you know that Sparkle just fired up on the ol’ ipod. I do love coincidences that bring a smile.

  14. msbjivein Says:

    What about the Speed Jazz ERA???? 91-93??? Is that right?

  15. jdub Says:

    Nothing lasts forever, enjoy the ride while it is hot. I think Phil Lesh has created a model that is sustainable. Eventually the touring will slow down be based around long runs at cool venues. Keeping the approach fresh is key, I like how Phil is constantly playing with different people. Not that I would ever want Phish to do that regularly but they should keep it interesting for themselves and fans by breaking the mold regularly like they did this weekend.

  16. beepaphone Says:

    Whatever name goes to 3.0 should be pending until the last notes of the Encore of 12/31/09

  17. BTB Says:

    ^ I call 89-92 the composition era, the overall tightness and composition pieces. In a way, that’s what they’re going back too.

  18. Lycanthropist Says:

    @beep –

    fair enough, although 3.0 will presumably go on beyond then too right? are we naming ’09 or 3.0 as a whole? cause naming 3.0 as a whole is far too early right now.

  19. Leo Weaver Says:

    there are no conincidences…it all happens for a reason, enjoy 🙂

  20. beepaphone Says:

    I’ll take my Phish with longevity…IMO one of the reasons the covered the Stones.

  21. albert walker Says:

    Although I like the energy, improving direction, and more focused Trey playing they have a lot of work to do

    Mike is out of the pocket all weekend
    Fish is in and out of his time
    Trey still is not as clean in his notes as he needs to be

    I have faith, and I know Trey does not want to be a nostalgia act, but we need to keep moving forward

    The fact is I would not be happy continuing to see shows at this level without noticeable improvement on every tour

    I had the time of my life this weekend but musically let’s tighten this up boys

    YEM was highlight of weekend!

  22. beepaphone Says:

    Good point @ Lycan…pick one now, finalize it at the end of ’09, then table it till the end of the next fall tour when it opens back up for debate under the proper parliamentary procedures of course.

  23. msbjivein Says:

    AW, You sound like a coach! “There’s always room to improve” LLFA!

  24. beepaphone Says:

    and then repeat procedure on a yearly basis

  25. jdub Says:

    I like Family Phish,

    like everyone is pointing out, we have all grown up over the years, started families and what not. ITs about sharing the experience with our families, a much more wholesome vibe

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