Frank Zappa, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Queen, King Crimson, and The Police are just some of the many artists that have been ground through the Halloween rumor mill in past weeks. While last year, Phish included their fan base in the evolving mystery of what musical costume they would don for the holiday, this year we have been left in the dark. So many rumors have been tossed around with so many rationalizations that it is hard to believe any of them. We are two days away from Halloween and Phish has the entire community stumped – and kudos to them for keeping the secret all to themselves.
I’m really excited about it, to the point where I’m calling some of my friends and I’m saying, ‘Well, I don’t even have any more room on my guest list, but you’ve got to come somehow, because this is going to be the one.’ It just really feels right to me.
While Trey’s significant soundbite was as follows:
This year, this one’s for me. The one we picked, I’m going to get more out of this as a musician than I ever have before. Three songs into it, I called everybody and told them, ‘None of the other ones — I wouldn’t think, hopefully — will have nearly the effect on my playing this one’s going to.
Without dropping any clues, the band, themselves, are hyping up Boadwalk Hall’s blowout, clearly enjoying the fact that nobody knows what will happen.
Just yesterday, Atlantic City radio personality, Pinky Kravitz (father of part-time Phish photographer, Jeff Kravitz) speculated in print that Phish will play Led Zeppelin for Halloween, citing a “magic mockingbird” as his source. This published conjecture has made the British rockers’ double-album “Physical Graffiti” the newest lead horse in this guessing derby. But if Phish has kept everyone guessing for this long, I find it highly unlikely they would allow the answer to leak days before Halloween.
Other front-running possibilities include Queen’s “A Night at the Opera,” Genesis, “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway” or “Selling England By the Pound,” Jimi Hendrix’s “Electric Ladyland,” King Crimson’s “Lark’s Tongue In Aspic,” and any number of Frank Zappa albums. Assuming Phish is trying to please the entire audience, the abstract prog-rock of King Crimson has to be crossed out, while “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway’s” 90-minute, intricate rock opera seems unlikely for similar reasons. Though Trey is known to love both of these bands, these albums seem too inaccessible for a Halloween party.
While many fans have expressed interest in Phish stepping outside the boundaries of classic rock, many of the current possibilities are going right down that road. British glam-rockers, “Queen” and the eclectic Frank Zappa round out the most talked about candidates. Might the band honor the 15-year old fan ballot from 1995, when the high-vote getter was allegedly Zappa’s “Joe’s Garage?” That year, Phish vetoed the democratic process by playing The Who’s “Quadrophenia” at Rosemont Horizon in Chicago.
To add another layer to this puzzle, an anonymous inside source recently claimed this year’s musical costume is more complex and was harder for the band to learn than any they’ve chosen before. This clue has pushed my thinking in the direction of Zappa’s catalog and away from the guitar-driven rock of Zeppelin and Hendrix. But at this point, nobody is sure of anything – and that is the best aspect of the mystery!
Another part of me feels that Phish might have a huge prank waiting in the wings and that all of these conjectures are way off base. I don’t know where that leaves us, but something might happen that nobody ever saw coming. All of the talked albums have been talked about in previous years, and it would be just like Phish to come out and play something in a completely opposite direction. Last year, clues were leaked by now and some people knew the deal, but nobody I’ve come in contact with on tour seems to have a clue.
With only five sets of Phish separating us from the answer, musical hints may lie within. So keep your ears peeled and keep on guessing, because something tells me we won’t know the answer until it happens. And that’s just the way the band wants it.