Glad to finally get the chance to write something up about this ridiculously awesome, unprecedented show. If you follow the goings-on of Phish online, you've probably already read a ton of accounts and descriptions of the Halloween show, but if you don't, here are a few vital (haha) pieces of info to set the scene a bit.
After a really great first set, the band came out for the second set, ostensibly to perform a cover of a Walt Disney-produced sound effects record (Phishbills had been handed out with this info, although the album writeup was humorously exaggerated - see below). The set included sound effects from the album, each one woven into in a "new" Phish jam - otherwise wordless, instrumental fare that matches some of the band's best type 2 improvisation of the 3.0 era. I can't stress enough how great this music sounded.
They sure didn't skimp on the production values. The second set featured the band playing inside a haunted house structure for the first couple songs, which eventually fell away to reveal Trey, Gordo, Fish and Page wearing corpse paint and white tuxedos, standing closely together atop a platform (the remains of the hauted house) in a close-knit circle, in a manner similar to the 12/31/13 MSG truck set. The stage set included gravestones (one of which read BONO'S HUMILITY, haha), zombie dancers, smoke machines, and assorted other spooky effects. (Also - dont sleep on that third set. VERY eager to hear this whole show over again when I get back home.)
Anyway, here's a few (eleven, specifically) things I'd like to share about the show overall. Enjoy!!
1.) This was the best live concert I've ever seen by anyone, ever. It was also one of the happiest nights of my life. EVERYTHING went absolutely perfectly all night, top to bottom, front to back.
2.) After a tour characterized by a lot of good-not-great shows which were by-and-large lacking in the *FIRE* department, that second set showed just exactly how much Phish still has in the tank, which is A LOT.
3.) I had actually heard the sound effects record that Phish "covered" as a child - I remember in particular finding the Chinese Water Torture skit to be particularly terrifying.
4.) Really, really interested to see what they eventually do with the music from the second set, and if they shed any more light on the origins of these jams. Did some of these come from the Wingsuit / Fuego sessions, when they were actively going through their trove of improvisational pieces throughout their career to mine material for new songs?? Were they composed specifially for this show?? Will they release a new album based on this material?? Are they going to work some / all of these new "songs" into regular rotation?? Possibly they'll add lyrics to some of them or something?? WHO KNOWS!!
5.) I've listened back to the brief clips from the second set on LivePhish, and although several of the songs had a familiar feel about them ("Your Pet Cat" sounds kinda like a "Tube" jam, "The Very Long Fuse" sounds like it could easily be worked into TreyBand's body of work, "Dogs" sounds like a "Birds of a Feather," jam, "Martian Monster" sounds like a "YEM" jam, etc.), there are a couple pieces on here that seem largely unique to the Phish repertoire. "The Haunted House" is spooky and plodding, and "The Unsafe Bridge" showcases a surf-rock style which - correct me if I'm wrong - has never been employed by Phish in anything they've ever done before. "The Chinese Water Torture" and "The Birds" are amongst the real winners, IMHO. But there's not a clunker in the bunch.
6.) I'm continually blown away by the generosity of Phish fans. The people in our section (sec. 219, rear side-stage Page side) really made our night a more enjoyable one. A friend in need.... ah, you get it.
7.) For our Halloween costumes, (me, Bricer, Rumpo) went as Chompers, a reference to the YouTube videos of fzappa20. (If you don't get the reference... not gonna bother explaining it. Watch some of his videos.) It just so happened that we were sitting behind a couple from Minneapolis (Wisco Brando and his lovely wife) who MIRACLED FZAPPA20 into the show (!!!!). Very glad to hear firsthand that fzappa20 made it inside, and the type of incredible coincidence that only seems to happen at Phish.
8.) I literally have no idea how the band goes back to playing a "normal" show after a night like this. Along with Big Cypress, this show is largely in a class of its own - totally unlike anything that's come before it.
9.) As of this moment, this show is ranked #1 on .net's list of Greatest Shows Ever. Agreed.
10.) Fuck yeah, Vegas. I came to town thinking I would hate it here, but I think I kinda get it. This town really allows people to let their freak flag fly - it seems as though one can be a total frickin' weirdo here without being too harshly judged. That's a beautiful thing.
11.) This should of course go without saying, but a *HUUUUUUUGE* tip of the cap to the band. This show was the greatest treat that they could've given us, the fans, and it's amazing to think about the incredible amount of preparation that went into this. And another *HUUUUUUUGE* tip of the cap to Bricer and Rumpo for making this trip possible. Truth be told, I had initally planned to skip Vegas following the seven Cali dates, and holy schnikies am I glad I'm here.
Ok, heading downstairs for all-you-can-drink bloodies... See ya when I see ya!!