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. Mr.Palmer Says:

    Well, we know where Trey got the Alaska solo from..

  2. Mr. Completely Says:

    the manteca references are become more and more overt. might be too early to say a full blown version ‘looming’ but we’re nearly there

  3. albert walker Says:

    I had commented after the show Miner that although I really enjoyed that night cuz it was just fun and dirty adding a little more actual grooved out tweezer to the tweezer zep mash up could have really put the set over the top

    tweezer junkie
    can never get enough

  4. albert walker Says:

    this Sand Carini

    even if the segue is a car crash

    these 2 jams on their own are just dirty

    really nice pairing as far as the tones and textures of the individual jams

  5. vegas wolfmans Says:

    ^too much tweez is never enough

  6. GhostPhunk Says:

    “disagree wholeheartedly. Aside from 10/31 dwd, i can barely think of another jam that wasnt played to fruition…”

    I couldn’t disagree with this more. Love reading your take on shows my man, but this just seems crazy to me. I’ll say 10.29 Sand is chopped of at the knees while jogging its way to glory. Was is great while it was going? Daaaaaaaaaaaamn right. Did it have potential to stay interesting and fresh and mind blowing? I believe it did, BIGTIME.

    Spinning Spanish Moon… so good.

  7. albert walker Says:

    I don’t agree with that at all punk

    the Sand was done

    yeah they could have done one of their ambient fades and then hit the Carini but he just crashed in

    the big massive first peak and then type 2 peak were done at that point

    jam had run it’s course just needed a smoother transition

    spinning it right now

  8. vegas wolfmans Says:

    All That You Dream- Almost as funky as JB on his least funky day ever?

  9. albert walker Says:

    the groove they found was the hip part

    didn’t need any Trey wailing over it

    but getting to that little 2 minute groove was where it’s at.

  10. BrandonKayda Says:

    Time Loves a Hero->Day and Night

    Slick ass segue

  11. dusty Says:

    @ negev79 Yeah I felt bad infecting people. I did my best to be on quarantine for pipes and such. I got a lot of weird looks as the guy from norcal snobbing bane until I’d inform people I had the bobonic plague. Thanks again for the manny tix.

    For sur on the Alaska solo Mr. P. Stash was also incredible. I was glad Miner called the wolfmans scat, as it was exactly what I was thinking. Really funny consider I was hoping for that in a vocal jam after seeing Nikki Yanosky live a week before tour.

    Flying back to SFO now…I love seeing other heads on the plane. Two couples still partially dressed in their outfits with me.

  12. Robear Says:

    real nice weather out here, dusty.

  13. GhostPhunk Says:

    That two minute groove in a new major key to you is the end. To me, that’s the moment where they decide if todays the day. That thing is just changing shape and nicely to boot. Is not even near ready for ambience. I don’t know, just felt to me like there’s more there that wouldn’t be boring. Still the best playing of the weekend though imo. Bowie right there though I think.

  14. voopa Says:

    Word Robear, the weather these past couple of days has been spectacular. Man, I love living in NorCal. If only some Phish would come our way…

  15. dusty Says:

    I can’t wait to get back. Weather, weed and wife…not work

  16. dusty Says:

    Not sure if this has been posted…and I’m sorry for the length, but I can’t find it linked. Here is the recent letter from Bob Lefsetz that I enjoyed and thought others might:

    From: “Bob Lefsetz”
    Date: November 2, 2010 8:59:18 PM EDT
    Subject: Fat Man In The Bathtub

    I saw Little Feat at the Troubadour.

    When I was a junior in college, all the music magazines testified about this new album by Little Feat, entitled “Dixie Chicken”. So, of course, I bought it. And played it. And if you’d taken a picture of my face upon that first time through you would describe my expression as quizzical. As in HUH? This is what they were raving about? It didn’t sound quite like anything else, kind of like white boys from L.A. got sidetracked on their way to New Orleans. There was no hit single, and if this were the modern era, I probably wouldn’t have given the album another spin, but it being 1973, I played “Dixie Chicken” again and again and AGAIN, because I’D PAID FOR IT!

    That’s how it worked. We could only afford a small amount of music. Every record was picked with TLC, no purchase was casual, to buy a bummer was to indict oneself as a lame, uneducated music fan. No one else might have known, but you would, so you gave these records a chance, and more often than not they exposed themselves to you.

    But “Dixie Chicken” was a bit beyond that. First I loved “Juliette”. Then other tracks started to reveal themselves to me, and then not only did I like “Dixie Chicken”, I LOVED IT! I had to go back and buy “Sailin’ Shoes”, I was a fan of a band almost no one had ever heard of, never mind had an opinion on.

    Moving to L.A. is like arriving in a musical cornucopia. Not only do the street signs and locations make sense, from their placement in your favorite songs, suddenly all your favorite musical acts are AVAILABLE! You can SEE THEM!

    I dragged Danny to the gig. He was the only guy at Star Sporting Goods who’d heard of Little Feat.

    And this was back when there were tables in the venue, before it was necessary to stand to hear rock and roll, when the music touched not only your body, but your soul. You’d sit tucked into your seat grooving, with your mind bouncing like a pinball through the stratosphere.

    I saw Little Feat again. At the Santa Monica Civic a few years later. But that Troubadour gig was the shit. Because it was solely about the music. They didn’t have a new album, it wasn’t like this one gig was going to ignite their career, this was a band of players locking into a groove for their fans.

    And Little Feat ultimately had a radio hit. But not only did they not live up to their potential, they never broke through to mainstream consciousness. Everybody knows who Vanilla Ice is, even if they don’t want to listen to Rob Van Winkle’s music…but stop people on the street and ask them their opinion on Lowell George and they’ll say HUH?

    RAMBLE ON

    Last week I went to lunch with Jerry Greenberg. The oldsters are too rich to survive in today’s work for almost nothing music business, but they’ve still got their stories, a treasure trove.

    Jerry was there. When Atlantic signed Zeppelin. He told me the story. About Ahmet getting a phone call from Dusty Springfield telling him that Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were starting a new band and he should sign them, this was even before Robert and Bonzo were involved.

    And I’m telling Jerry about when I was in high school and in one week, everybody knew “Whole Lotta Love”. It was October ’69. The track hit the airwaves, everybody bought “Led Zeppelin II” and Taylor Swift doesn’t have an iota of the impact. There wasn’t a soul who didn’t know “Whole Lotta Love”. That album is all that anybody listened to for a week straight, maybe a month. Zeppelin was instantly the biggest band in the world.

    And sure, “Whole Lotta Love” was the breakthrough, a single edit made by Jerry which Peter Grant finally acceded to, but the thing about “II” was you could play it through and through.

    My personal favorite was always “Living Loving Maid (She’s Just A Woman)”, it tore through my speakers, but even I know the track that followed it was more magical…RAMBLE ON!

    It was like you were on a thoroughbred, riding through the English countryside in the early morning mist. Loping along without a thought in your brain other than this song. That’s the magic of great music, its magnetism, it draws you in and won’t let go.

    EXPLANATION

    You see every Halloween Phish plays an entire classic album. And rumor was it was gonna be Zeppelin, so the Phearless Phoursome dropped some classic Zep into their set the night before, the 30th. But on the holiday, the album they covered was WAITING FOR COLUMBUS!

    HUH?

    I bet most of you have never heard of this double live album, when two vinyl discs didn’t even add up to the length of one CD.

    What do you do when you don’t break through? RECORD YOUR GREATEST HITS!

    Well, Little Feat only had one. But they had all that great music in their catalog that so many people had never heard. And they were big in England. And if you think “Waiting For Columbus” took hold in America, you’re rewriting history. Sure, dedicated music fans now knew who the band was, but still most people knew no tracks. Although as years passed, “Dixie Chicken” became a standard. That’s what perseverance will do for you. Concentrate on cutting something great, not what people want, and you might end up with a cut that lasts, one that truly strikes a chord.

    Still, it’s not like Little Feat is the Doors, there’s been no mass renaissance. So it’s utterly AMAZING that Phish played this live album in its entirety Sunday night.

    But it’s even better than that. They even employed a horn section, just like the original band, featuring Michael Leonhart of Steely Dan’s band. This was no casual effort, this was a tribute to their forgotten heroes, this was musicians who had to get it RIGHT!

    And you’d feel more comfortable if Phish Phucked up. But they nailed “Waiting For Columbus” so well it makes you TINGLE! Not only do they get the notes right, they duplicate the ENERGY! Actually, having to cover up for the lack of soul, no one can duplicate Lowell George’s soul, they play with such intensity, such drive, that it’s an aural tsunami that gathers you up and pulls you into the flow.

    SPANISH MOON

    “There was hookers and hustlers, filled up the room”

    That’s the audience. Not fat cat bankers who buy up all the good seats, talk and leave early. But fans, who need to be there, even if there’s no mainstream buzz, even if no one other than those in attendance care. The music isn’t made for those who don’t care, but those WHO DO!

    Forget everybody who doesn’t care. Did you read endless reams of hype on these Phish shows? No, YOU HAD TO KNOW! That’s the modern music business. If you think it’s about hype, you’re probably selling your album below cost on Amazon in order to get a good SoundScan number. Huh? WHO PAYS ATTENTION TO SOUNDSCAN!

    Anybody can be famous for a day on YouTube. But can you live in the hearts and minds of your FANS? That’s all you should care about.

    I don’t care whether you download the original or Phish’s rendition of “Waiting For Columbus”, but just know that when you’re ready there’s a treasure trove of juicy greatness ready to satiate your aural taste buds. That’s the modern music world. It’s not about hits, it’s about LAND MINES! Just ready to explode and change your life when you least expect it!

    Great music is supposed to infect you, make you unable to walk away, never mind turn it off. It doesn’t compete with movies or television. The only thing that can equate with great tunes is sex.

    So, put on your best look and go down to the show. There you’ll find like-minded people who may not look like the stars on TMZ, who might not have a six-pack, but they know the power of music. Join the band!

    “Hey lordy, join the band, be a good rascal and join the band”

    Little Feat: http://www.livephish.com/live-music/0,575/Phish-mp3-flac-download-10-31-2010-Boardwalk-Hall-Atlantic-City-NJ.html

    Zeppelin: http://www.livephish.com/live-music/0,574,135/Phish-mp3-flac-download-10-30-2010-Boardwalk-Hall-Atlantic-City-NJ.html


    Visit the archive: http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/

    http://www.twitter.com/lefsetz

    If you would like to subscribe to the LefsetzLetter,
    http://www.lefsetz.com/lists/?p=subscribe&id=1
    If you do not want to receive any more LefsetzLetters, http://lefsetz.com/lists?p=unsubscribe&uid=214709bf572e65781beeb9e068b923ea

  17. neemor Says:

    So really…..no one wants to mention the ‘Smurfs’ tease before the Set II opening Disease at UMass I?

  18. albert walker Says:

    For me the challenge was the key change and groove change

    Wasn’t the most interesting groove to keep repeating

    Yeah it could have Morphe again and gotten hip I’m just saying at the moment Trey didn’t stomp on anything that sick

    Just a little major shuffle thing
    Getting there was what was hip imo

  19. neemor Says:

    That Atlantic City Stash is the complete and utter goods.
    Listen immediately if not sooner.

  20. Robear Says:

    that’s funny neemor. i heard something before ‘dwd’ from the hallway. thought it was movie / show theme.

    re: crowds

    something that rarely happens for the WW kids at Providence and Amherst:

    we got wrist bands to go on the floor. it’s a different world than the seats, if you head to the sides or rear of the soundboard. It’s the feel good, get down crowd. It takes a stretch like ‘Lizards, Brother, Roggae, Taste, Waste’ to get that crowd to stand still. I mean, that’s the spot where I had to start making up new dance moves. Between the band throwing down, and the ill moves the kids were busting, I had to step my game up.

  21. GhostPhunk Says:

    I feel you Aw, I think we are closer to agreement than I originally thought. It comes down to defining fruition here.

    Side note. Met your lady at firewater but somehow not you. Next time.

  22. neemor Says:

    That’s why our gracious host hangs out there.
    I spent a lot of time within spitting distance of the stage this run, but when I needed a breather, I stepped towards the back…
    There’s no breath to be had back there!
    They get down to the sides of the SBD, no doubt.
    And that’s my problem right there.

  23. GhostPhunk Says:

    Whole lotta love vox teases in 2001/bowie transition followed by 25. This is screamed at the end of tweeprise also. Anyone know what the hell it means? Was it a clue?

  24. neemor Says:

    Glad to hear they gave wristbands to the WW crew…

    It’s definitely a different show.

  25. yematt Says:

    Hey all, haven’t checked in a while. I’m sure it’s all been said, but damn what a tour. over too quickly… where the hell did october go?? spinning brim 3 right now. such a weird but awesome show. def one of my favorite second sets to revisit plus a unique 46 days. so my highlights to go back to listen back to while we wait for the NYE run… it will be here before we know it!

    anyways, funny that I come here for this but.. I have a question for the BB. I am in the market for a used macbook pro. any places i should check on the infanet besides ebay/craigslist? would love to know if there’s any other sites that I should check out that I don’t know about.

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