Halloween ’09?

phish_4While speculation is running rampant about Fenway and the upcoming leg of Summer tour, believe it or not, rumors have been floating around about Halloween for quite a while.  Without knowing what type of fall slate Phish will create after such an extensive summer schedule, it seems like they will be returning to their tradition of donning a musical costume for All Hallows’ Eve.  This is quite the exciting proposition, as Halloween shows were one of the greatest nights of the Phish calendar.

Rumors originally had Phish playing The Knickerbocker (now the Times-Union Center) in downtown Albany.  Then I heard the band would move down I-87 and play a fifteen year anniversary show at Glens Falls, commemorating their first Halloween costume of The Beatles’ White Album. The most recent mumblings involve a return to Vegas for Halloween weekend, a proposition that seems counter-intuitive with Phish’s new family vibe, but who knows with these guys?  The bottom line is that it looks like Phish will be taking us somewhere come the end of October.

phishbill1998editAs soon as we start talking Halloween, there is immediate conjecture about what album Phish may or should play for set II.  Having already touched on several diverse classics- The White Album, The Who’s Quadrophenia, Talking Head’s Remain In Light, and Velvet Underground’s Loaded– Phish seems to choose their costume wisely, making sure it bears some significance in rock ‘n roll history.  (We must remember the post-Halloween Dark Side show as well.) While positing what record Phish might play come October 31st is fun, most guesses will wind up empty, as Phish seems to select albums that don’t immediately rush to mind.  Nonetheless, it is a fun activity, and (assuming they won’t cover the same artist twice) below are five albums that I think would make great choices for Phish to cover come Halloween- wherever it is.

Graceland – Paul Simon

I 1zee9tyhave been advocating for this album ever since 1996.  Why?  Because Phish would crush it.  With intricate polyrhythms and percussive arrangements, Graceland would require additional musicians, much like Remain In Light. Bring on the horns!  Bring on the percussionists!  This one would make for an incredibly improvised time in which Phish could really explore the rhythms, textures, and melodies that define Paul Simon’s masterpiece.  Songs like “Diamonds On the Soles of Her Shoes,” “Under African Skies,” and “The Myth of Fingerprints,” would be perfect springboards for Phish to take in their own direction.  And with some singles that everybody in the arena would know (“Boy In the Bubble” and “You Can Call Me Al”) this seems like a perfect choice.

Appetite For Destruction – Guns N’ Roses

guns_n_roses_-_appetite_for_destructionIf we are talking definitive albums of rock history, Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite For Destruction has to enter the conversation.  Stripping down the ’80’s glam-rock of Hollywood, Axl and crew redefined what it meant to be a metal band in the early 1990s.  With superb songwriting, catchy hooks, and enough energy to blow up the west coast, Appetite took the nation by storm in 1989.  Can you imagine Trey taking the “Paradise City” or “Sweet Child of Mine” solos?  Or Mike and Fish grooving on “Rocket Queen?”  It would be to-die-for.  Even people who never got into this genre of music respect what Guns N’ Roses created with their debut album.  A game changing record in every sense of the term, Phish would certainly do it justice if they wanted to.  Starting off set two with “Welcome to the Jungle?”- forget about it- the room would absolutely blow apart.

Loveless – My Bloody Valentine

mybloodyvalentine-lovelessThis critically acclaimed album by the early ’90s British alternative outfit has often been cited as a possibility for Phish to cover due to Trey’s avowed proclivity for it.  Recorded over two years and nineteen recording studios, My Bloody Valentine came close to declaring bankruptcy during the process.  But what resulted was a hallmark album of the UK’s “shoegazing” scene of the early ’90s, a sub-genre of British alternative music.  Defined by dense, dissonant guitar effects, sheets of sound, and tonal experimentation, band leader Kevin Shields used a tremolo (or whammy) bar to “strum” his guitar, creating the album’s signature sound.  Combined with drum loops and obscured, effect-laden vocals, this record became My Bloody Valentine’s seminal work, as they never recorded another full album.  Phish could transform this already-psychedelic epic into something completely out of hand-  it would be awesome.

Thriller – Michael Jackson

mojo-photo-thrillerThe world’s best selling album of all-time was toyed with in Louisville, KY the night before Halloween ’95, as the band worked “Beat It” teases into “Possum.”  At the Rosemont Horizon, the teases continued as “Harpua’s” story featured Jimmy listening to “the Halloween album” as the band teased “Beat It” once again.  As Phish took the stage for the second set, they continued the joke by hinting “Thriller” before dropping into the less-widely known Quadrophenia.  If the band were to reconsider this idea, Thriller would make as fun of a Halloween set as any album out there.  Taking Phish funk into the disco realm, this album could lend itself to extended dance improv on most tracks.  “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” could be monster jams, while the slower R & B songs could be a hilarious venue for Mike and Page to step up to the vocal task.  Though it is unlikely that “Thriller” will materialize at this point, it would be a blast to experience.

Born To Run – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

bruce_springsteen-born_to_run_2005-frontalOften hailed as the Boss’ most powerful album, Phish has already covered the title track in jest with Tom Marshall at PNC in 1999.  But if the band took this epic record more seriously, they could expound masterfully on its dramatic compositions.  Imagine Phish interpreting “Jungleland,” or “Thunder Road?”  The emotional quality behind those songs, combined with Phish’s golden touch, could make this an incredibly powerful experience.  With time to improvise in a more upbeat fashion on “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out” and “Backstreets,” this album, if chosen, would certainly surprise the younger fans out there with its poignancy.

Other Albums That Would Be Great: London Calling (The Clash), Exile On Main Street (Rolling Stones), Astral Weeks (Van Morrison), The Joshua Tree (U2), Gish (Smashing Pumpkins), Houses of the Holy (Led Zeppelin), Ziggy Stardust (David Bowie), Songs In the Key of Life (Stevie Wonder)

What album do you think Phish should cover and why?


LISTEN to a funny a funny interview from Germany in February ’97 talking about Halloween. (4 minutes) ^^ (Roll over link, click play or right click, save as)



10.31.90 Armstrong Hall @ Colorado College SBD < LINK

10.31.90 Armstrong Hall @ Colorado College SBD < TORRENT LINK

1990 Tour Poster

1990 Tour Poster

This is the first Halloween gig that Phish played in the ’90s, and while they didn’t don a musical costume, they filled their set with every big Phish song they had at the time.  This show was actually webcast follwing Halloween in 1999 when the band skipped their traditional holiday gig.  Enjoy this nugget of Phish history as we render guesses about Halloween ’09! (Note: This is not the LivePhish source.)

I: Buried Alive > Possum, The Squirming Coil, Lizards, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, You Enjoy Myself, The Asse Festival, My Sweet One, Cavern, Run Like an Antelope

II: The Landlady, Reba, Runaway Jim, Foam, Tweezer, Fee, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, HYHU > Love You > HYHU, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

E: Uncle Pen, Big Black Furry Creature From Mars

Set 2 preceded by costume contest.

Tags: ,

375 Responses to “Halloween ’09?”

  1. hairy pood Says:

    too bad. me neither. I saw trey and vermont symphony orchestra do some of those pieces a few years back, and it was great. maybe phish should cover Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” or “Petrushka”.

  2. KRIVRAQ Says:

    Dig the Zeppelin wish, Miner. Although, Zep was my first love (musically) and I’d have to appeal your Houses in honor of my Zep I (or even II, it’s a tough one). Houses rocks, credit is definately due.

  3. KRIVRAQ Says:

    Another generational gem…

    Pearl Jam’s TEN

  4. Wilson Says:

    Night at the Opera makes a lot os sense. fits Phish like a glove.

  5. voodoobop Says:

    lamb lies down on broadway – genesis.

    double album. has equal parts for all. would have to be performed, not jammed, though there is room to play. it was mentioned by trey a long time ago as an influential album in his childhood.

  6. arbitropia Says:

    only up to page 5, but i saw somebody suggest huey lewis & the news. “sports” would be awesome and hilarious (especially in the spectrum). they’d just need a horn section. and trey would have to learn huey’s harmonica parts on the ‘doc.

    “crooked rain” by pavement could definitely be great but there’s very little keyboard and a lot of second guitar. and alternate tunings. it’s the best 90s suggestion i’ve heard so far. at least the vocals are singable. in my dream world they’d cover frank black’s “teenager of the year” or the third camper van beethoven album.

    here’s one, not sure if it’s been suggested yet:
    modern lovers

    phish has already covered “roadrunner,” modern lovers were a four-piece with the correct instrumentation, and it’s an classic record all the way through. i’m not sure if the fact that they did “loaded” makes it less or more likely.

    the cure – disintegration
    warren zevon – excitable boy

  7. arbitropia Says:

    just read the rest of the thread, and of the albums suggested so far i like:
    the cure – disintegration (voopa beat me to it)
    the cars
    boston (but lead vocal is unsingable)
    springsteen – the wild, the innocent, etc instead of born to run

    a ween album would be great

    if they wanna get emotionally heavy, they could do “tonight’s the night”…..they’ve already covered “come on baby let’s go downtown”

    zeppelin would be fine, but vocals would be rough

  8. purplehumpbackwhale Says:


    Beach Boys (think about it though…)
    Are You Experienced? – hendrix

    Things I’d LOVE but would NEVER happen;

    The Meters
    Sailing the Seas of Cheese or Tales From the Punchbowl – Primus


    I’m pretty sure Phish would never do Appetite.

  9. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    wow im shokced other people thought of A Go Go!

    i was gonna write that, but therhes no vocals so i doubt theyd do it.

  10. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    i cant believe someone suggested DMB. come on now

    anyone else thinking of a dave appearance at fenway, or a trey at Dave’s fenway show the night before? it’s totally a possibility, since the shows are back to back

  11. Uncle Matty Says:

    I so hope that Phish is not even considering inviting Dave Matthews on stage on Sunday. There’s already going to be so much going on that I think it would detract. It’s not like it’s ’95, or something. Plus, I absolutely cannot stand DM. A bunch of amazingly gifted musicians who make crappy music together, IMHO. If Trey wants to grace their presence on Fri. or Sat. that is obviously his choice. Excluding Hampton, it’s just been such a long time, and Phish@Phenway 5 years later to start the whole thing rolling again, should not include DM!!!! I truly hope that this is the LAST move that Phish would ever consider for this particular show. WTF do I really care, anyway? I get watch the action in style from TWO luxury boxes with 50 of my closest friends!!!!!!!!!! See you partiers in Beantown!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Uncle Matty Says:

    BTW – I’m still sticking with my The Cars/The Cars Halloween pick, but the more I think about it, has anyone mentioned Traffic yet? Mr. Fantasy would be awesome, Traffic/Traffic would be incredible, and Low Spark would be amazing- (we’ve already heard how much fun LUOLMA can be)!!! Speaking of which…

  13. Dave Sanny Says:


  14. darceman Says:

    Great suggestions… However, I would not be surprised to see or “hear” an Oingo Boingo album, “Nothing to Fear” or “Dead Man’s Party”…. doesn’t this band make sense especially for Holloween? Always love whatever they do….or an early Santana Record… (Black Magic Woman?) or a Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland or… (drum roll please) a Grateful Dead album? (Anthem of the Sun or a song like like… Viola Lee Blues?) Am I thinking of something epic or classic? Apparently… but it has been a long time in the making… I love this band…. whatever they do will bring a smile… Remain in Light is still my favorite surprise.

  15. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    i agree, i’d hate to see Dave at Fenway. in my opinion, hes the least talented person in his band, and they’d all do much better on their own.

    but yes, the cars or Santana would be great choices. Grateful Dead no fucking way. not a chance in hell.

  16. chrishickie Says:

    What a great topic! This is really something that could be taken in a TON of different dirrections.

    1. Eat A Peach – The Allman Brothers
    2. Workingmans Dead – Grateful Dead
    3. Synchronicity – The Police
    4. A Go Go – John Scofield and MMW (This would be one of the sickest things imagineable!)

  17. RunawayJim Says:

    I would love to see them play The Band. It would get them all working really hard. Music From Big Pink would make for an awesome Halloween.

    Here’s another thought… what if they played one of their own albums in its entirety? No outrageous jamming, just the album. I’m thinking something along the lines of Rift or Hoist.

  18. PhunkyPhil Says:

    I’d have to vote for the Huey Lewis and the News “SPORTS” album. I’m not a huge fan, but I just listened to the album this weekend and it has some GREAT songs (and lyrics also). Great for jamming out the songs and dancing!

    I’m also a huge WAR fan as well…. maybe a JAMES BROWN album… anything funky!!!!

  19. Kairtela Says:

    What we need for Halloween 09 is either
    The Village Green Preservation Society by the Kinks.
    Excitable Boy by Warren Zevon
    Hot Rats by Zappa

  20. cal Says:

    wow, GRACELAND, i never thought of that before, that would be absolutely PERFECT. but i still have to put CLOSE TO THE EDGE as my dream-halloween set. of course, ideally they’d have to bring in a guest lead vocalist, but even if they tried to slug it out with just the four of ’em, it would be mindblowing.

  21. Jay Says:

    pet sounds?
    free your mind
    graceland would be really cool
    if theyre gonna do a dead album blues for Allah would be the best i think

  22. Philidelphia Phish Phan Says:

    Man, Halloween ’09 would be sick if they did a cover. I’m thinking of a list of things they either might do or that I’d want them to do. here’s what I got so far:

    OK Computer – Radiohead (most guitar type album and damn cool)

    The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway – Genesis (It’s a bit out of left field, but with the key sections, the possibilities are endless)

    The Blue Album – Weezer (It’s a bit straightforward not as much improv, but picture them bustin’ out say it ain’t so and all those)

    Red – King Crimson (old school again, but they could do something with these)

    Anything – Frank Zappa (they said that Joe’s Garage was too dirty. How about Zappa in New York? Or Zoot Allures? Or One Size Fits All?)

    Bitches Brew – Miles Davis (they’d need horns, but goddamn the place would explode if they did it)

  23. Lesh Says:

    How about the man who stepped into yesterday. I would love to see the boys play that. Gamehendge rules!!!

  24. Jake Says:

    Is Joe’s Garage really that dirty? I mean, yes, there’s a lot of really filthy language in that album, but it’s Zappa! of course there’s filthy language. Plus, I think that this audience is old enough to be able to handle a few mentions of blowjobs in “catholic girls,” the not leaving much to the imagination of “crew slut,” the over-the-top German/English swearing of “Stick it Out,” and the second mentioning of fellatio in “Sy Borg.” Other than that, most of the “dirty” stuff is actually quite funny. And again, it’s Zappa!

    I had always thought that the main reasons for not doing Joe’s Garage were the difficulty of the songs and the extra musicians required, and also the somewhat tenuous request’s of the Zappa widow that no one ever cover “Watermelon in Easter Hay” (could you imagine Trey nailing that solo?!?!). Still, I’d love to hear this one – such an influential album for me. I’m holding out to hear Trey speak the Central Scrutinizer parts through a megaphone!

  25. Wisco Tim Says:

    Red Hot Chili Peppers “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”

    -Southern Cal
    -Caters to young and older fans alike
    -Ready for the kicker…Listen to the YEM vocal jam from 8/2…at 16:02 the band keeps repeating “give it away” over and over…same name as track #9 of the album.

    Coincidence? Possibly…

Leave a Reply