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. willowed Says:

    The Day The Earth Shook

    Minute 5:11

  2. Selector J Says:

    Definitely, Frankie. I can get you a lossless version.

    Might be able to cut it up into < 200 MB pieces and put it in the mediafire.

    I don't have the bandwidth at work to get away with that but I'm pretty sure I can make it happen from home sometime this week.

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    “no need to go FLAC > wav > ALAC.
    FLAC > wav should suffice.”

    ALACs are significantly smaller than WAV but equal in sound quality. A direct converter from FLAC > ALAC would be highly desirable. When loading an iPod, or working with a small laptop HD, ALACs are preferable to WAV for sound reasons.

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    cities > 46 days was a great pair and when you think about it is showing you the phish – feat relationship clear as day…first we get our dance on, then we rock the fuck out a little.

    that timer story is hilarious, truly…wow

  5. garretc Says:

    Thanks for listening, by the way, folks that did! Hopefully I’ll figure out why exactly my voice evoked auditory hallucinations in my listeners before next week!

  6. ThePigSong Says:

    Yo Frankie – good meetin’ you as well!

    That goes for every BBer I talked (too much) to this weekend.

  7. butter Says:

    of course AW elbowed the timer on Halloween

  8. Mr. Completely Says:

    based on a quick survey of file sizes by track time in my itunes I’d say an ALAC is about 40-45% of the equivalent WAV filesize, very much the same range as a FLAC

  9. ThePigSong Says:

    ^as in I was probably too chatty, not the other way around

    Also, huge fail on our part by bouncing from our seats as soon as the cover set ended. We had no idea the band was parading through the floor, would have been fun to watch for sure!

  10. Mr. Completely Says:


    that sucks. let me ask – the bands – is that the ending you were anticipating? I know you saw it coming. Did it go down kind of as you thought it would? I don’t know if that would make it any better or not, but for some reason I’m curious.

  11. dusty Says:

    @ all If you have a cold that hit you in AC or shortly after…its 97% from me. Sorry…but I brought a pan asian/west coast strain of the plague on tour. Ended up taking down my crew by Amherst, then it started spreading to other crews.

    One of funniest moment of the tour for me was when my good friend whispered to me during a song break on the 31st…”Do you have a cough drop.” Of all the things I’ve been asked for at shows….

  12. Selector J Says:

    Thanks for the wav/ALAC info, C. I didn’t realize it was that significant.

    40-45% is definitely worth the hard drive space. If only Jobs would play nice… Gonna be his downfall (again).

  13. lastwaltzer Says:

    “Hopefully I’ll figure out why exactly my voice evoked auditory hallucinations in my listeners before next week!”garett

    or you will master them, leaving the folks with enhanced hallucinations.

  14. albert walker Says:

    first spin through night 1 set I

    def a mellow vibe especially early but the band is on and most of it is played well

    energy didn’t really jump til Light Up but it has some nice solos by both Trey and Page. looking back it’s fairly evident this jam has little feat influence all over it. very nice version.

    Sugar Shack was hacked as usual. nice groove to this one but I always get bored with it.

    Rift was again played better. nice to see this one coming around. Trey must be reading my posts

    Moma is another one I can hear Mike and Fish sounding featish at times. good fun version.

    I LOVE this cities. spin it again if you haven’t in a while. some very hip things going on. listen to the tempo pick up when they sing the “I’m just a little freaked out” line that keeps up through the rest of the jam. very cool

    46 days is quite the rocker these days and Trey kills it. like C said great pairing with the cities funk

    moma cities 46 days was quite cool

    def felt chill at the show. had some expectation problems but when they did kick it up in cities, light up, and 46 days you could tell it would be an on night

    fun stuff

  15. ThePigSong Says:

    as far as I can tell this is converting FLAC>ALAC in one move

  16. negev79 Says:

    damn @Dusty – and I was the one who gave you those Manchester tickets too! So it’s my own damn fault I’m sick really.


  17. Mr.Palmer Says:

    ^^ pretty much spot on. Show didn’t really start for me until the Light up. Finally got to cross that one off my list and they ripped it taboot. The Ocelot was good to prior to that, but its Ocelot…….

  18. phoammhead Says:

    BEK and I have made it back home safe Asheville home . . . what a great weekend of PHISH!!! 🙂 We listened to all of night 1 and Halloween and some of night 2 on the trip back – gotta love instant downloads. The Halloween cover set is truly a work of art – great live and great on playback. Damned, I’m tired! 😉

  19. butter Says:

    Little Phish sound soooooooo damn good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. gavinsdad Says:

    i was watching the timer come thru when everyone was dancing…i remember thinking he was taller than i remembered…then i saw AW put the tried and true “clear out” moves together and the timer got the message and moved on. i had a feeling since the cape wasn’t in effect that AW simply thought he was moving along a civilian…little did he know. so classic. i mean c’mon…what are the freakin odds???

  21. gavinsdad Says:

    and yea….moma cities 46 was a real nice chunk of that set. 46 days was a really snarly mother…check out trey’s attitude at the end of that one.

  22. albert walker Says:

    a capeless timer is much harder to spot in a crowd

    I think he did have his little book though

  23. butter Says:

    what a game changing run

  24. gavinsdad Says:

    “what a game changing run”

    i’m glad to hear this from you Butter, since you are a close listener (i’m a lost listener for the most part) and to hear this echoed from many others. because to me i thought this was the case, esp the sat/sun shows…the power that they played with was massive…at points there was this rolling drum and bass attack that really reminded me of the Allmans…that “we’ve put it into 5th gear and are just cruising at speed” sort of circular motion of sound. but so very 2010. when i find some of that specific movement on relisten i’ll point it out.

  25. Mr.Palmer Says:

    2 months and we get to do it all over again! Giddy-up….

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