Little Phish

10.31.10 II - Boardwalk Hall (Graham Lucas)

Phish redefined the Halloween experience on Sunday night in Atlantic City, ending their holiday mystery by playing Little Feat’s Waiting For Columbus, the first live album they have ever donned as a musical costume. Transforming Boardwalk Hall into a legitimate Seventies dance party, Phish recreated the concert experience of another band, taking their Halloween stunt to another level. Joined by a horn section and conga virtuoso, Giovanni Hidalgo, on percussion, the band slayed a double-album that reflected the ensemble jamming featured so prominently throughout fall tour. Dipping into several musical textures, much like Phish themselves, Waiting For Columbus proved to be the ideal choice for the band right now. Elevating their game throughout the tour, Phish capped the winding road of fall with a defining Halloween performance that will certainly leap into any debate over the best ever.

Excerpting David Fricke’s eloquent article in this year’s Phishbill:

Phish are not just playing another classic album, back to front…[they] are covering a legendary Seventies concert experience – what is was like to be like in the room when Little Feat ruled a stage, fusing salty blues, New Orleans second-line funk, zippy jazz-rock mischief and country-diner romance in drop-dead songwriting, with snapping-treble guitar action and stunning improvised crosstalk.

Little Feat - Waiting For Columbus

And they achieved their task to perfection, recreating this experience to a tee and executing the album with unmatched musicianship. Far more complex than covering a recorded set of songs, Phish masterfully learned a series of songs and live jams recorded over seven nights in London and Washington, DC, during August of 1977. Playing the double-disc with passion and precision, the set never dragged for a moment, stealing the show – and the weekend – in Atlantic City. From beat one, the groove grabbed the audience and never let go, providing the genuine feeling that we had been transported to a different place and time.

Beginning with the infectious opener “Fat Man In the Bathtub,” the collaborative rhythmic focus of the album became wholly apparent right away, signifying a far more participatory experience than in past years. To quote Fricke, “…you will be expected to dance. Anastasio can’t help raving about the mad wicked action in these songs.” With varying time signatures, a dirty, blues-based sensibility, and collaborative improvisation throughout, Waiting For Columbus proved to be the aural treat after Phish’s Led Zeppelin “trick” on the 30th. The album not only showcased the band’s impeccable current chops, but also contained slower funk realms that sounded natural and addictive in Phish’s musical medium.

In terms of familiarity, everyone knew “Time Loves A Hero,” an Phish cover that has popped up in setlists from time to time, and the signature piece “Dixie Chicken” – both which provided earnest high points as Page took center stage on the latter. But familiarity hardly mattered with music this engaging; music that spoke to your body and loudly as your mind. Fusing blues, funk, jazz, and rock influences – much like Phish themselves – Little Feat’s culminating work fit provided the ideal soundtrack for a Halloween party.

10.31.10 II (Graham Lucas)

While the Waiting For Columbus set was drenched in songwriting and soul, carrying a notable energy and momentum from beginning to end, most would agree that the percussive-based “Spanish Moon” brought the most indelible group memory. Comprised of gooey, funk textures with dripping bass lines and nasty rhythm guitar licks, this ode to “whisky and bad cocaine” combusted the dance floor, providing the early favorite to stick in rotation. And when this piece ended, the retro-trip was only halfway over.

10.31.10 (G.Lucas)

Interestingly, Fishman wrote a piece in the Phishbill explaining that there has been no greater influence on his drumming that Little Feat’s late Richie Hayward. And throughout last night’s performance, the similarities became obvious as Fish covered Hayward’s melodic beats and lyrical phrasing. In classic Fishman fashion, he wrote,”I’ve already ripped this guy off so much that covering this album is my chance to finish the job once and for all!” He and Hidalgo worked in awesome unison, churning out dance patterns all night long that anchored the album in a dynamic rhythmic foundation.

Interpreting the legendary guitar work of Lowell George, Trey added his own accents and spice to the already-swaggering leads. A choice that seemed hand-picked for Trey, Waiting For Columbus provided him the chance to magnify his current style while encouraging more percussive offerings than we’ve seen from The Ocedoc this fall. One of Trey’s finest Halloween performances, his gutsy guitar tone fit the album perfectly and he navigated the diverse live tracks with staggering proficiency. Phish had clearly practiced this complex album with diligence, as the entire band came together in a magical Halloween transformation; an unforgettable set of music for the annals of Phish history.

10.31.10 II (G.Lucas)

By putting a barbershop quartet spin on the humorous and vocally-based, “Don’t Bogart That Joint,” and bringing Fishman front and center for the beautiful ballad “Willin’,” the band still managed to fit a few Phishy twists into an incredibly authentic performance. “Sailing Shoes” and “Feats Don’t Fail Me Know,” the final two songs of the liquid-flowing set, brought two more quintessential stops in the bass-led percussive pastures that underlined the entire album. And as Trey dug into his final solos of the second frame, they felt completely natural – as if he was swimming amidst his own music rather than playing that of another. Wearing a tightly-fitting musical costume, the lines between Little Feat and Phish became completely blurred last night in a Halloween set for the ages. The band pushed their holiday tradition to the next level this year, throwing an outright dance party like no other this fall, while simultaneously providing a genuine glimpse into the musical tradition that birthed Phish itself.

More to come on Halloween’s other two sets tomorrow!

I: Frankenstein, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars, Ghost > Spooky, The Divided Sky, Roses Are Free, Funky Bitch, Boogie On Reggae Woman, Stash, Character Zero

II: Fat Man in the Bathtub, All That You Dream, Oh Atlanta, Old Folks’ Boogie, Time Loves a Hero > Day or Night, Mercenary Territory, Spanish Moon, Dixie Chicken > Tripe Face Boogie, Rocket in My Pocket, Willin’, Don’t Bogart That Joint, A Apolitical Blues, Sailin’ Shoes, Feats Don’t Fail Me Now

III: Down with Disease > Back on the Train, Gotta Jibboo, Camel Walk, Suzy Greenberg, Wilson > Harry Hood, The Horse > Silent in the Morning, You Enjoy Myself

E: Julius

10.31.10 II Graham Lucas)

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870 Responses to “Little Phish”

  1. BrandonKayda Says:

    At 0.6kb/s, this download is gonna take awhile lol

  2. Lycanthropist Says:

    BK

    whenever i finally form a new band, we are gonna only do 5 min versions of Phish and Dead songs

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @bk
    if you can’t get that DL to go, email me
    typeiiijpd gmail

  4. Lycanthropist Says:

    and 20 min Nirvana and Katy Perry covers

  5. BrandonKayda Says:

    @Lycan

    Sounds legit – could you do a 24min Breed->3min Dark Star?

  6. Lycanthropist Says:

    yeh right after a 50 min Even Flow > 30 sec Tweezer

  7. BrandonKayda Says:

    Does that Tweezer have California Gurls teases?

  8. BTB Says:

    2 dope pics mr. graham lucas. Nice work

  9. JeffieM Says:

    Lycan, I’ll come to one of your shows as long as you drop a 17 minute “this is how you remind me”

  10. Lycanthropist Says:

    no it has a Nickelback tease though

  11. Lycanthropist Says:

    ok i gotta stop joking about it..

    making me sad that i don’t really have a band

  12. BrandonKayda Says:

    Everything needs more Nickelback.

  13. Mdawg Says:

    WFC is the perfect final stamp on the tour that doubled as a giant step forward in the 3.0 phish game!

  14. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    katy perry’s shows are nothing but open jams and freeform improv. people go expecting boobs and bubble gum top 40 stuff but stay for the face melting jamz

  15. JeffieM Says:

    I heard at the last show, she sang the Hot ‘n Cold chorus 3! times at the end.

  16. BrandonKayda Says:

    Thanks @TypeIII!

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    so who wants to form a BBBand?

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    you got it, bk. that’s one you should have in your library!

  19. BrandonKayda Says:

    BBBand would be awesome indeed.

    We’ve got a lot of musicians here – Corey, Lycan, AW, Dancing, Purple, Type III (?), etc etc

    I’d pay to see that

  20. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @miner
    great summary. I was curious what your thoughts would be on the Feat. glad to hear you dug it.

    now the fun part comes for all of us in listening back to the Fall tour and finding all of the Feat references that will seem so obvious now that we missed then in not yet knowing.

  21. nagarjuna Says:

    still laughing about the 3 min darkstar and 30 second tweezer.

  22. DukeOfLizards Says:

    @T3

    … but there’s still boobs, right? Otherwise I’m stubhubbing my fall tour tickets.

  23. verno329 Says:

    @BK You need to see the video of that Trey/Santana show to truly appreciate it in all of its beauty. It was released through Trey’s site but I haven’t been able to find it online the last couple of years or I would suggest buying it. It was sold to benefit Mockingbird Foundation and one of Santana’s charities. I’ll gladly run you a copy since you can’t buy it anymore and just suggest a small donation to Mockingbird. This vid truly needs to be seen. The interplay of Trey and Santana along with the rest of the band is breathtaking

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @bk
    it is a big stretch to call me a musician 😉

    add GP420, c0wfunk, plord (I think), aintnotele, and a few others to that list. pretty sure there’s a few bassist’s I’m forgetting.

  25. BrandonKayda Says:

    My mistake @TypeIII, I was just kind of naming people off of the top of my head.

    Cool community we got going here huh?

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