05 November 2009

Phish Halloween(s) Round-up

OK, so this past weekend has proven to be harder to shake off than most. I could never do it justice with a review and besides, anyone that cares has already seen, heard and read everything there is to read about it. So, I'll spare you the gory details. Let's just say that 10/31/09 was one of the best Phish shows I've seen, but really, that goes without saying. When I think of my favorite Phish shows, I need to place the Halloweens in a different category. Phish on Halloween is really one of my favorite things about Phish period. Without those shows, the magic would be a little less for me. If I had to list my top things about the band, the Halloween shows would be the first on that list.

I consider myself very fortunate to have been at all 5 Halloween "album" shows, which hopefully gives me some unique perspective on the shenanigans that seem to take place on 10/31 (haven't yet met anyone who's been at all 5 -- were you?). Time will tell (I haven't listened to any Indio yet), but my gut reaction was that it's a close call, but that the Remain in Light set maybe gets the edge in terms of my all-time fave, but it's definitely 1-2 between Talking Heads and the Stones and then the rest of them. Of course, the music is one thing, but taken together, nothing will beat the weekend I had.

You know my love for lists and favorites, so here we go:

Favorite Halloween Album Set:

  1. Remain In Light
  2. Exile on Main St.
  3. Quadrophenia
  4. Loaded
  5. The White Album
Favorite Halloween Show:
  1. 2009
  2. 1996
  3. 1995
  4. 1994
  5. 1998
Top Ten Halloween Album Set Moments:
  1. Loving Cup -- the crowd, the band, the horns, my lord! one of my all time favorite Phish moment. things clicked in a major way that will never be captured on tape, nor described by me in words.
  2. Cry, Baby, Cry -- how good this was makes me cry just to think about.
  3. Oh! Sweet Nuthin' -- this was so tailor made for Phish and they nailed it -- why isn't this a regular part of the repertoire?
  4. 5:15 -- the horns and Trey just shredding together
  5. Crosseyed and Painless -- every Halloween set has had the "it" tune that rose above all the others. This was the "it" tune for the best of the bunch.
  6. Ventilator Blues > I Just Want to See His Face > Let It Loose -- just pure musical liquid; a totally different vibe from any of the Halloweens and probably the best use of guests for any of them as well.
  7. Born Under Punches -- I did not know this album, but when they opened with this I knew it was going to be a different kind of Phish show. There are moments in Phish history and the opening tune to this set was one of them.
  8. While My Guitar Gently Weeps -- the next show after 'ween '94 was in Bangor, before it started the guy next to me wouldn't shut up about them playing this again that night. He was right for a reason.
  9. Drowned -- sometimes the albums influence the band and sometimes the band influences the albums; this one sounded like a Phish tune from note one and still does every time they play it.
  10. Revolution #9 -- the weirdest and most wild thing I've ever seen on Phish stage. Fishman naked -- let's just be thankful this was before the digital camera era was upon us.


Anonymous said...

Bravo Ned. Drowned/Sea&Sand are my favorites and I wasn't even there. BTW don't overlook Hood from 11/3/94 -- was just re-living that myself earlier this week -- smokin' and glad to hear some of the old fire back fifteen years later.

-benjie t

Anonymous said...

i was only at 1995 and 1996. halloween 1996 was probably the best concert i've ever been to. unfortunately, i was a dumbass and skipped festival 8! :-(

Seth said...

Yes yes yes, very well put. Having only been to 2 H-Ween shows I lack the perspective you have and it's nice to hear. Magical moments in all indeed, however I agree: "Loving Cup" was completely surreal and could receive "Best Ever" status (along with "Suzy"). And oh-my-fuckin-God the Ventilator Blues->See His Face->Let It Loose is of another dimension entirely. MUST HEARS. I also like and agree with all your Greatest Set Moments. Well done.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. Having been lucky enough to see 96, 98, and now 09 in person, I agree that Remain in Light was best for Halloween set for the more important reason of where it took the music over the next few years. The fact that the band learned to groove together even more created a 3 year run of amazing music.

Exile will hold a special place in my heart as it was the party soundtrack of half my college years. Each song took me back to 89-91 and countless fun drives to Dead shows and weekends with several people that are to this day my best friends. Most importantly, I got to share Halloween this year with some of those very people.

MannyNH said...

I know that DSOTM wasn't played on halloween, but they did play the entire album, so I think it should be thrown in with your lists.

Since 8 was my first halloween show, and with the awesomness of it all, its probably my favorite "show" ever.

staging professionals in Toronto said...

Hi. I'm discovering Phish just recently. And I like them more and more. It would be nice to see them on some show. I don't have any favorite album yet but I think that there are few very good things on each one.