A Set of Sorcery

10/31/14 II. Las Vegas, NV (Eric Battuello)

10/31/14 II, Las Vegas, NV (Eric Battuello)

Well, they did IT again. Using Halloween as a platform for one of their most profound on stage achievements yet, Phish reinvented their own holiday tradition while playing a set of music pulled from our wildest dreams. Choosing to “cover” a Walt Disney album comprised only of sound effects and narration, the band wrote ten instrumental jams to accompany the record’s eerie vignettes in a complete blowout of the imagination. Morphing fantasy and psychedelia on a night scripted for such a mash-up, Phish played an absolutely masterful Halloween set, while pleasing every fan in attendance for—quite possibly—the first time in their 31-year career.

PBcoverNobody knew what to expect when handed a Phishbill that read “Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House.” A quick Wiki search informed that the album was a collection of sound effects from the vaults of Walt Disney. It had narration on one side but it contained no music?! It quickly became apparent that Phish would follow their own lead of 2013, and use Old Hallow’s Eve to debut a set of original music! But what form this music would take was anyone’s guess. And few could have imagined what would soon transpire.

As the lights came after the Halloween set, the most common thought heard muttered was, “What just happened?” Phish had dropped ten top-notch instrumental jams on the that were used to musically describe scenes set up by the Disney narration, and everyone was desperately trying to wrap their head around the pinnacle Phish experience that just went down. Via live sampling, Page incorporated the album’s sound effects and much of its narration into the set’s increasingly dancy jams, creating a hour-long mindfuck for the audience. Though most fans were mesmerized in a state that fused disorientation and disbelief, there was one thing that everyone knew in real time—“This was most definitely the shit!” The dark instrumentals grew funkier throughout the set, concluding in the non-stop dance party of “Chinese Water Torture,” “The Birds” and “Martian Monster.” Complete with dancing zombies for the first and last track and set in a faux graveyard, this was the band’s quintessential Halloween performance. Though their cover albums showcased a different kind of mastery, this year, Phish distilled the mystic and macabre nature of Halloween into a set of music like never before.

10/31/II (Eric Battuello)

10/31 II (Eric Battuello)

And it didn’t take long after the show was over to realize what was possible with these composed jams. These “songs” were the polar opposite of Fuego’s largely jamless material—they were already jams—composed themes for the band to expound on in the live setting! Now, if the guys wanted to keep the music moving with no stops, instead of necessarily jamming towards another song they could now simply jam into another jam—and keep jamming! Phish proved on be on board with such thinking, for the next night they seamlessly moved from “Light” into “Dogs” from the Halloween set, and then improvised upon its theme for a stretch before dripping into “Lengthwise.” As illustrated by this immediate example, these Halloween jams represent motifs that the band can weave into their improvisational storytelling. They may have just changed the game—once again—right in front of our eyes.

Phish in Las Vegas has always brought something memorable, but “Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House” was on a whole ‘nother level. Combining their career-long penchant for spectacle with their unparalleled musicianship and sense of the moment, Phish executed one of their finest sets of music in a career loaded with staggering performances. Furthermore, this set typified the artistic ethos of the entire Phish project over the course of 31 years.  Never content with their laurels of yesteryear, the band has continuously infused innovative styles of music and performance into their live show throughout their career, leaving a legendary wake in the history of rock and roll.

10/31/14II (Eric Battuello)

10/31 II (Eric Battuello)


10/31 II (Eric Battuello)

10/31 II (Eric Battuello)


10/31/14 II (Eric Battuello)

10/31 II (Eric Battuello)

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2,187 Responses to “A Set of Sorcery”

  1. little umbrellas Says:

    BG’14 night 2&3 in house sentiments. @Dorn. Never forget.

  2. tela's_muff Says:

    Go to shows to party with good friends. Spin old shows for jams

    So are we all on same page that Summer ’12 was best tour or are some suggesting Fall ’13? If I have to hear Summer ’13 thrown in the mix I’m starting a new blog that blocks all Summer ’13 talk.

    herzog – lots of people enjoyed the BG Ghost jam.

  3. BingosBrother Says:

    Only GDad gets to leer at his friends wives. Step the fuck off jungin.

    Does MrS. G think MiAmeh will suck?

  4. dorn76 Says:

    SF is tattooed on my arse.

    Page’s side rage side cargo boxers.

  5. Stoney Case Says:

    Tela, right on. I personally fall ’13 was mostly blech until Reading.

  6. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Stoney you need to get out to some shows.

  7. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Summer ’11 was the best you fools

  8. Stoney Case Says:

    Tela, I think you’d enjoy spinning Gorge or Tahoe 13. Same with BGCA 3. I agree that the first half of summer 13 was more miss than hit.

    The Gorge features some fantastic playing. Night 2 set 2 is buttery flow

  9. tela's_muff Says:

    Gorge has that Undermind and Crosseyed? Summer ’13 has a serious lack of noteworthy jams besides Tahoe and Gorge.

  10. little umbrellas Says:

    7/26/13 Um turns 30. CK5 bday song.

    Spanish Rice:
    Clark Terry & Chico – O’Farrill

    Mama Too Tight:
    Archie Step

    ^some tracks from ‘Trane Built’, non spotify links

  11. little umbrellas Says:

    Black and Tan Fantasy
    Earl Hines

    Los Olvidados:

    ^more Trane Built

  12. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    “Gorge has that Undermind and Crosseyed? Summer ’13 has a serious lack of noteworthy jams besides Tahoe and Gorge.”

    No fucking shit. Only been saying that since the day that tour ended.

  13. Stoney Case Says:

    Oh agree,, Tela. What a soft, whaley summer outside of Gorge and Tahoe. Plus BGCA 3.

  14. little umbrellas Says:

    this one is the JAM!!:
    Sister Mamie:
    $$$$$ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ycYPKijiMo $$$$$
    Yusef Lateef
    ^Such a sick groove and crazy double reed melody. Snake Charmin and Funkin.

    If Spotify isnt your thing, here’s a YT playlist of much of it, not all the videos are there

  15. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Hahaha stoney hating on summer 13 hahaha

  16. GWKush Says:

    10/20/13 II some of the top playing of fall ’13

    Saying that tour is bland until Reading is a sure sign of too much wax in ears and head.

  17. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Any time I ripped on summer ’13 stoney would immediately come to its defense. I’d tell him, just wait a year and you’ll come around. Looks like I was right.

  18. little umbrellas Says:

    this one has (dun dun DUN!)… Guitar!!

    Gypsy Queen
    Gabor Szabo

    Ya might even say this sounds like if Kimock was playing over the groove from Jimi’s Third Stone From The Sun…. ‘ish’

  19. Stoney Case Says:

    Tela! Quick, to Twitter! Miner hammering me about the greatness of 2013. Jesse, you too!

  20. Stoney Case Says:

    Dancing Fool, your brain is toast. I hated on leg 1 13. Hated on Fall 13 until Worcester 2.

    I’ve always been high on MPP2, Gorge, Tahoe, and BGCA 2 and 3. Plus, Reading thru AC. Check the records.

  21. Stoney Case Says:

    Holmes, I took on 2/3 of the board on how turrible SPAC ’13 sounded. Wait for Palmer, Joe, Sumo, Willowed to come remind us.

  22. little umbrellas Says:

    stop calling him Jesse! it’s confusing for me. he’s Dee Eff.

    never been on Twitter (nope not once) and don’t intend to start. 😉

    In honor of last night, here’s a dope G-funk track from 77.

    dat bass line yo.

  23. Stoney Case Says:

    I even said that, while Dicks 13 was played very well, it also left us with nothing of real significance, and carried negative momentum into Fall. Seeded the ticket trees at Hampton.

    You need to read my posts a little closer, laddy.

  24. little umbrellas Says:

    Save the Twitter for pictures and PR? makes sense for marketing my maan.
    sounds like thephishTweet world is useless.

  25. MrCompletely Says:

    yep that is what you said

    1st half of summer 13 = boring
    west coast swing = better with highlight jams

    that was the Stoney line

    IIRC DF’s position was that it was basically all lame including the west coast stuff

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