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:

    here’s were i first heard that dope SandWorms track (though it’s played a little faster)

    Rare Equations, a Cut Chemist Mixtape 99′

  2. Stoney Case Says:

    wow, miner calling me a hater, while he tells people that Sand and Light from Vegas are clunky, lazy and ugly ass phish.

    I could get into retarded arguments with my girl if that’s what I was after.

  3. tela's_muff Says:

    Stoney – i’ve made my thoughts known on Summer ’13. i think there are some very nice highlight jams, i thought the band played well, Trey was def playing stronger than this recent Fall tour. i just didn’t enjoy the overall sets, flow, complete shows, whatever. ’13 came off as easily forgettable.

    by no means poking at Miner, cause he clearly loves the tour, which is great. here’s his thoughts after SPAC2.

    “On only the second night of Summer Tour, the band threw down a mind-boggling second labyrinth that blew anything they’ve played in this era straight out of the water. In fact, with a more macroscopic lens, the second set of SPAC was one of the finest musical statements that Phish has ever performed.”

    ^that’s the kind of passion and love for summer ’13 that i ain’t gonna f with. ha.

    i for one can’t find more than 2 sets from Summer 13 that are better than any of these shows from ’12, but that’s just me, and i’m generally in the minority with my Phishthoughts. well, at least i have DF with me.

    6/7, 6/8, 6/15, 6/16, 6/22, 6/23, 6/28, 7/1, 8/15, 8/19, 8/28, and all of Dicks. (i agree, Dick’s 13 was ultimately a bit of a letdown.)

  4. Stoney Case Says:

    what a chestnut you just copied and pasted Tela!

    I will never question ’13 to miner again. It’s like calling someone’s kid homely with that passion!

    Sorry Miner!

  5. Chris Says:

    Hello guys. Just read a bunch of posts after taking a break from ePhishing. I grabbed that Wisconsin phish disc. Man, that ghost> taste from 8.9.97 was an awesome listen. Also the 8.1.98 tweez never sounded so good. Finally, so nice to be able to hear a proper summer 03 oxy jam w/that dwd> catapult. The summer 03 boards are terrible so listening to this sounded like a different jam than what I’m used to. I wish phish would remaster some more summer 03. I don’t hate the oxy jams and a few of them are great.

    Fall ’14 is not holding up better than initial thoughts. But there are a handful of great jams there. I don’t think trey was worse than 09-11. His tone is world’s better. My problem is all the light> possum like moments. They’re right in the middle of something great and then BAM! A kick to the gut

    Early summer ’13. Spac Light is awesome. Tube/split/carini. X-eyed pnc. Jones beach rock n roll. Mpp light. Dear creek Chalkdust, energy, drowned and piper from the 17th. All pretty hot

  6. Stoney Case Says:

    I actually tried to offer some commentary. Not even trolling. I think Trey’s heavy return to the whale at SPAC ’13 has done more harm than good to Phish and their overall sound. I stand by this statement without reservation. The best of ’13 featured very little whale. Which is why the tours back halves are so much more enjoyable to me.

    NOW I’M DONE.*

    *probably not

  7. tela's_muff Says:

    and FTR, i am def NOT TROLLING. i’m discussing Phish, since another tour and year is wrapping up. reflecting. been spinning ’95 Fall/Winter, spun that Boise show last night, then Dicks Light, etc etc. just reflecting.

  8. Jerome Garcia 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.

    ^thought precisely the same thing whilst spinning this AM teeny b. Shower jammed that bitch proper like.

  9. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    Careful tela, Ive quoted miner on his past thoughts before here and he got pissed at me

  10. tela's_muff Says:

    i know, i’m trying to be clear that i’m not trolling by quoting that. it’s simply showing how much he loves this tour and i’m not going argue that it wasn’t great for him or anybody. it’s a “me” thing. for real.

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    sand from vegas sucks

    said nothing about light.

    stoney, you’ve been a consistent voice of hate and bitterness on this board for so long now. sorry that Im making you confront that fact. It’s not me that created the situation. I’m naming it and calling it out. I’m hardly the only one that has noticed this and been a bit annoyed by it. Just saying. Maybe I woke up, saw your lame (and incredibly old and tiresome) “whale” tweet and reacted hastily, but shit man, it gets old. just bc YOU dont like ONE SOUND, doesnt make any shows in which it is utilized bad. 2013 is bomb, beginning to end. Sorry that a guitar tone makes you blind to the fact. Now step the fuck off.

  12. Mr.Miner Says:

    and fwiw, if you enjoyed the BG ghost jam, you’re a noob who can;t even tell when the band is falling all over themselves on stage and can get fooled by a desperate attempt by Trey to play a cathartic solo. so absurd. Just sayin.

  13. tela's_muff Says:

    i love the BB. i’m most def a noob. no question about that.

  14. Mr.Miner Says:

    spac 13
    JB 13
    Holmdel 13
    MPP 13

    all awesome. that’s most of the east coast leg

    tornoto is pretty sweet as well.

    Hard to fucking understand the hatred sometimes.

  15. Mr.Miner Says:

    what are you quoting Telas? I cant find it

  16. Stoney Case Says:

    Your reply was to Phortin, who says he likes the Sand and light for similar reasons. You must have been just referring to the Sand though. Check the timeline.

    I bring some of the balanced, reasonable views to the table. I troll a little, however the regulars can tell by my language. I’m way higher than you on this overall tour. And far from the only person that doesn’t like the whale.

    I tallied up my positive vs. not positive posts. The positives were about a 3 to 1 ratio. You just speed read.

    But whatever. I’ll step away. The top 10 Twists list can go up for the 10th time. We can discuss the next GD release. And we can patiently await for you to tell us what’s cool to like and not like.

    You’ve bashed the hell out of this tour. I’ve defended you on twitter and FB. Have fun running off your allies.

  17. Mr.Miner Says:

    saw it. a bit of an overstatement. but 7/5/13 CRUSHES any post Randalls 2014 show outside of Dicks 2.

  18. Mr.Miner Says:

    nobody is asking you to step away. but the consistent level of trolliness could be dialed back. Love you, man. I just feel like your comments finally pushed me to say something. Maybe I was a bit too harsh before I had any caffeine. Sure, I have hated on this tour, one of the reason’s I don’t want to write about this tour. Why write just to say something isn’t good. Doesn’t accomplish much. I don’t need Internet “allies.” I just had to say that. Shit, if 2013 isn’t good enough for you, it MAY be time to step away, because i’m not too confident it will ever be that good or consistent ever again.

  19. BingosBrother Says:

    BB Rankings By Year



  20. Mr.Miner Says:

    fwiw, i’d put bgca1 in my bottom 3-5 shows off all time. A full 3 hours of aimless horseplay.

  21. dorn76 Says:

    If you agree to swear off tinfoil headwear, you can stay.

  22. Mr.Miner Says:

    im not trying to tell you what to like or what not to like. Its just that you don’t have to reiterate your hatred for the whale bc someone mentions 2013. We all know you hate it. Trust me, we all know. So I guess my point is, why?

    lastly, i don’t get the view that 2012 was better. spun long beach rock yesterday. Exploratory, but not tight at all. Dicks 12 opened the archway to 2013, the peak of this era. At least that’s what I believe to be true and clearly gotten from listening to the tapes.

  23. Mr.Miner Says:

    i show up and people stop posting. saweeeet. i’m out.

  24. MiA Says:

    Thanks for the recs plord.

    I check them all out.

    My budget is about $600.

    Golfed this morning in 49° wet weather. Jacked my right arm bad. Any time I could feel my right arm getting into the swing it hurt like an MF but my shots are going perfectly straight. Quit after 9. Bad enough my hands hurt due to tendonitis.

    Need an electric blanket and some edibles.

  25. Mr.Miner Says:

    they tightened up their jamming over leg 1 2012, extended it into long form and dialed it in from LB > Dicks, and then took this accomplished place and expounded on it for 2013. And none of this has to do with guitar tone, of which he used many.

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