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. Lumpyhead Says:

    What a day on the BB!

    I’m sure this is old news for most but you can skip to any part of a jam on the new LP app. Just FYI. Praise jah.

  2. bobby weird Says:

    big opportunity toward home field advantage for Pats tonight. Go Pats.


  3. MrCompletely Says:

    Miles Davis Quintet – Bootleg series vol 1
    Live in Europe 1967 (so not the ’69 one I posted recently)
    DVD rip video

    https://mega. co.nz/ #!JY9ASADB!xEBYRB_FcmLfSERFv4Ttc8jAlvYUsnslA8pZfT0DTmc

    so this is the Footprints/Round Midnight type modal post-bop (to go all genre-specific on ya) material at the peak of the “second great quintet” era

    amazing, profound differences from this to the ’69 material and then again to ’70

  4. jdub Says:

    just want to thank lu for posting the house that trane built this morning. I had a ton of work in the ole wood shop this afternoon and I must of listened to that 2 times through. I’m a trane noob among other things. Mind blown. So much good music i just heard. Pharoah sanders “The creator has a master” blew my mind.

    Thanks again BB.

  5. MiA Says:

    Like this ToddV guy. Huge fan of the Madchester style of music and approach to punk.

  6. jdub Says:

    One other note for all you guys that have young children runnin/crawlin around. Moms loose their libido for a few years after giving birth and breast feeding. But it comes back, with a vengence. Praise jah. I forgot about this part of a relationship.

  7. little umbrellas Says:

    word Jdub. such a fantastic compilation. Impulse is such a good label.

    off to see Tame at the Fox.

    what did Miner think of the show last night? Did Lumpy see FlyLo?

  8. MiA Says:

    Lots of kids learned to skateboard to soundtrack of Dead Kennedys, Black a Flag, etc. I skateboarded to Sugar Hill Gang.

  9. vapebraham Says:

    Yo. Back on p. 83 catching up. Some excellent phish debate.

    `13 is frustrating b/c fish is huge, the band is playing better overall, and the 4 headed chemistry of old shows up, but the guitar tone choices were killer, esp. Summer.

    ’14 is an improvement in guitar tone and page kills it (his clav tone and playing alone are jawdroppingly good. He’s pulling a didg sound from the clav), but fish, while great, seems post his 3.0 peak, and trey’s lead playing is way down. He also seems to have lost an additional step. I like phish with more space, but trey is not just making room he’s disappearing, sounding timid and, at times, lost. Mike too seems to have drifted into the background this past tour.

    Why doies the Halloween set work – aside from the danceable, funky fresh material, Paage is the clear leader and the boys are in a closely knit forrmation, aiding communication that in a bygone era was easier and esp-like.

    Everything’s a little more effort when you’re older. Not sure the band is willing to put in the work to be consistently tight again.

    Spinning maskisupa 1.1.11 – $$$ version. Layered, patient, spacey (trey finds the golden loop).

    Bring back wtu. See 12.27.10

    2.3.78 wheel – $$$. Extended, cool jam.

  10. dorn76 Says:


    I was hopin for a button that could insert a random jam segment in place of a rushed segue > #line, but that is a cool feature.

  11. vapebraham Says:

    2.17.93 MFMF – wow. Wicked guitar chops. Time is cruel.

  12. MiA Says:

    12.27.10 WTU is one of the best 3.0 versions for sure.

  13. vapebraham Says:

    ∆∆∆ no doubt, Mia. Spun it early and loved it despite its brevity.

  14. vapebraham Says:

    Waterfalls and yellow snakes

  15. MrCompletely Says:

    Very excited for Jdub that he’s getting that peak jazz stuff and the wifey libido boomerang, life should be pretty good with that combo

  16. vapebraham Says:

    Spinning 12.28.10 wolfman’s – trey has licks and qual tone. $$+ type I version.

    We really are in a post 3.0 peak world.

  17. MiA Says:

    Black a flag? Thanks iphone.

    My opponent has Gronk on FF. Need slow drives from Indy.

  18. vapebraham Says:

    Find myself deep in the Boise Bag.

  19. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Hi guys…guess I didn’t miss much today..

    Same old same old.

  20. vapebraham Says:

    1.1.11 Jibboo – $$. Type 1 jam w/ sharp trey, peeling off licks like a guitar king. By 8 mins the ideas have dried up, but he remains confident. Stronger fingers back then?

  21. Ghostdog Says:

    12.27.10 was a pretty cool show.

    NE Blizzzzard going on… promptly dropped a good Cool It Down first set stylee. Continued to drop It’s Ice, Mound, and -7 for the cold weather scene.

    No doubt the 2nd set was not great. Kind of a messy Mike’s > Mound. But the -7->WTU was sick. Think I remember a pretty good Roggae in the first set too. One of those shows with some pretty high highs but overall brought down by some less than stellar content.

  22. BingosBrother Says:

    Dog ate a weed cookie. Just gave her hydrogen peroxide for vomiting. Keep giving if no puke? Fuck.

  23. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Pats are on fire lately… good football.. Respect..

    Maybe Brady is feeling comfortable in that he knows he won’t have to face Eli in a potential Super Bowl this year? 😉

    Give me GB and NE right now, I’ll sign for that.

  24. vapebraham Says:

    Ghostdog – spinning 12.27.10 farmhouse now. Great version. Gorgeous, whale free soloing from trey. Quality finger work.

  25. vapebraham Says:

    GB looked unstoppable on both sides of the ball against what was supposed tyobe a half decent eagles team. They hit dirty Sanchez hard early and he never recovered. Rodgers had all day to throw darts.

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