What’s Up With Halloween?

"Loving Cup" 10.31.09 (G.Lucas)

With a haunted gallery of 99 possible cover albums and a wild-goose chase with the infamous “Save the Date” map, Phish put together elaborate guessing-games for their fans to hype up Halloween 2009. This year, we have heard nothing at all. The silence around Halloween – the band has made no official announcement as to their intent for the show – has caused some people to question whether Phish will be covering an album at all. With a similar ticket time as the other two Atlantic City shows and billed as a “very special Halloween show,” fans have been left to their own devices to figure out what Halloween will bring.

Halloween 1996

Conventional wisdom – and tradition – dictates that Phish will cover an album during the show’s second set. With nothing stated to the contrary, one would assume business as usual. In addition to fun and mystery, last year’s fanfare around Festival 8 was – in large part – a marketing campaign to get east coasters to Indio. But it was also an aberration. Aside from the fan balloting in 1994 and 1995, the band didn’t made a lot of noise about their Halloween plans in the past, and with a $3 price increase to pre-order the show on LivePhish, the band has all-but confirmed a three-setter. Thus far, fans have stuck with more classic rock hypotheses for Phish’s likely musical costume with Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti” leading the charge. Will Phish stick to their path of covering classics, or might they step to a more contemporary record as suggested by several of last year’s finalists? Might they take a stab at the long-time fan favorite, “Thriller,” test the rock and roll fantasy of “Ziggy Stardust,” or honor New Jersey’s native son with “Born to Run?” Would they really try to play Radiohead as rumored was the orginal plan for Indio? The questions abound, but there have been no clues leaked as to the answers.

Halloween 1995

As Fall Tour mail order tickets trickled in over the past couple days, fans began to wonder if the ornate ticket designs – each representing a different Phish song – could be a clue to an alternate Halloween plan. Of six venue-specific designs, four depict Gamehendge-based songs – “Llama,” “Mockingbird,” “Sloth,” and “Punch You In the Eye” – prompting some to theorize that Phish would play Trey’s hallowed musical fable on Halloween…until the last two tickets were discovered to be “Ocelot” and “Dog-Faced Boy.” Others saw an animal theme aside from “Punch” and followed that clue to Pink Floyd’s “Animals.” But having already covered Dark Side during Fall ’98, a repeat artist seems highly unlikely. Like sleuths looking for a needle in a haystack, fans tried to pull any clue from the ticket layout, but, in all likelihood, there are none there.

Per usual, Phish has their fans guessing what is coming next, and that is part of the fun of Halloween. The band has clearly kept their plan under wraps and things will likely remain that way until we walk into Boardwalk Hall on October 31st. And that’s how it should be. While last year’s album elimination brought a lot of fun and the introduction to droves of new music, the essence of Halloween is the unknown – trick or treat? Between now and then, fans will continue to guess what album will fill the second set of October 31st – but if things follow past patterns, Phish will likely surprise us all. “Houses of the Holy?” “Electric Ladyland?” “The Band?” “Lark’s Tongue In Aspic?” “Greetings From Asbury Park?” “Hot Rats?” Your guess is as good as mine…


Jam of the Day:

Free” 12.15.99 II

A stellar ’99 “Free” from Washington, DC that featuring a segment of Trey on keyboard that works masterfully.




10.10.1994 Palace Theatre Louisville, KY < Torrent asap

10.10.1994 Palace Theatre Louisville, KY < Megaupload

The Palace - Louisville, KY

I: Sample in a Jar, The Divided Sky, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, Sparkle, Stash, Guyute, The Old Home Place*, Ginseng Sullivan*, Nellie Kane*, Chalk Dust Torture

II: Golgi Apparatus, Maze, Esther, Tweezer, Fee > Rift, Down with Disease, Hold Your Head Up > Love You > Hold Your Head Up, Slave to the Traffic Light

E: Foreplay/Long Time*, Tweezer Reprise

* w/ Steve Cooley on banjo

Source: AKG 460 (likely)

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606 Responses to “What’s Up With Halloween?”

  1. sumodie Says:

    @jtran: yeah, I know what garret was asking. It just struck me that more likely than not the ‘best’ shows would typify that year’s sound. Maybe I’m wrong…

    I’m not a fan who throws out dates with ease, but:


    ^These all seem to be mentioned when talking ‘best’ and they all typify that year’s sound, I would say

  2. Jtran Says:


    I watched it again this week. I’m leaning towards sticking with it now. There’s some cringeworthy moments for sure, but it’s pretty engaging stuff.

    And it makes Monday nights a little bit better. So I guess it’s entertaining enough for me.

  3. sumodie Says:

    More interestingly, can someone point to a ‘best’ show that does NOT typify that year’s sound? Again, just curious…

  4. Jtran Says:

    97 and 98 are ones that really get me. And 94…6/18 maybe?

  5. Mitch Says:

    8.7.09 was my fav so we could just have 8.7 2 years running, tho miami had some scorchers

  6. sumodie Says:

    I’m waiting for Star Wars 4D, 3D is so meh post Avatar

  7. garretc Says:

    Yeah, sumodie, that is a good question, and I’m not sure if there is one, but, like I said, just wanted to control for that possibility…

  8. Jtran Says:


    I’ve never actually thought about my fav. show from this year, just throwing it out there.

  9. Mitch Says:



  10. Mr.palmer Says:

    T3 – yeah, I gave it another shot. Pretty much in the same boat as you. It gets another week. Was expecting a little less obvious answer to some questions. Seems like plenty of shows and movies have gone down this road. We shall see.

    Speaking of shows, anyone watch Prison Break? I thought the first 2 seasons were excellent then… Not so much

  11. sumodie Says:

    I would argue that 12.31.02 is both the best 2002 show and it also best typifies that year’s sound 8)

    I dare you to come up with another 2002 show that disproves my point!

  12. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I could never get my head around Prison Break having more than one plot line (and thus one season). I mean, once you break out of prison, isn’t the meme busted? yes, I know there is more to the show than that. but it seemed so linear to me I never gave it a shot.

    I agree about the too obvious answers aspect. that’s what has me turning towards off here.

    SNL appearance? 😉

  13. Mitch Says:

    I was going for the point that it didn’t typify the years sound. 2002’s sound was typified by the microwave ding when page would cook a hot pocket.

    you do bring up a good argument tho.

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    *and thus more than one season

  15. Mr.palmer Says:

    12.31.02 was fairly forgettable for me. The Piper opener was the only thing that sticks out and that’s just because everyone was do happy they were back.

    Of course were in a luxury box that night stocked to the gills with booze, food, and hard drugs. There was plenty of food left over afterwards. Could be why I don’t remember much either.

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    “As I looked closer I saw that the object had fur on it.”

    effing gross

    (don’t click unless you want to see an example of the failure of food industry cleanliness)

  17. Mr.palmer Says:

    I hate typing on my phone. Many typos

  18. Rivertrance Says:

    I would say the shows you are looking for would all fall 12/28 through the 30th in each respective year. 2009 being the 29th or 30th depending on preference. Those early new years run shows are always scorchers and tend to summarize the years themes quite nicely.

  19. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    “The new Arcade Fire album is tremendously, epically boring. The new Deerhunter pwns it 10 times over in the first couple of tracks.” Completely

    Then you’ll be jealous to know that I have to go see Arcade Fire tonight. In fact I should be getting ready right now. Just need to find my skinny jeans and my carbiner for my keys. Mrs. Tzara’s colleague got a suite, and let’s just say it will be a good social move if we go.

    Tried the new record today too. zzzzz

  20. halcyon Says:


    I think Calexico is opening. Though more enjoyable in a small venue, they should be a good opener.

  21. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Nice, @ halcy. I’m not familiar with his music, but I’ve heard his name in relation to Devendra Banhard, among others. Maybe there is hope.

    At least I get to see the Black Keys next week. I hope.

  22. halcyon Says:

    I will upload some calexico in the next couple of days … they are from tuscon, and their music reminds me of a soundtrack for a film, or landscape photography, Black & White or Sepia toned photos (if that makes sense).

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    star wars in 3d…i’m in…love it.

  24. Selector J Says:

    Complete tangent here but has anyone out there heard anything by this group called The Black Angels? They are a newish psychedelic rock outfit from Austin that just put out their 3rd(?) album. I’m no psych rock expert but these dudes are pretty badass.

  25. Selector J Says:

    hahaha @halcy

    great calexico description!

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