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What Is A Musical Costume?

Tags: Live, Shows, History, Stage

Phish has performed Halloween shows many years - 1988, '89, '90, and '91 as conventional shows; then '94, '95, '96, '98, '09, and '10, by donning "musical costumes", performing three-set shows with the second set being a live performance of an entire album by another band. 

In the summer of 1994, via a radio interview, Phish announced that they would take votes from phans about what album to play for the second set of Halloween of that year. The Beatles' White Album won by a long shot, though with only circa 50 votes (and there were reportedly very few votes overall). The voting was repeated but fudged for 1995: Frank Zappa's Joe's Garage got the most votes, but with insanely complex overdubs, potentially offensive lyrics, and several tunes (esp. "Watermelon in Easter Hay") that Zappa had requested never be performed live again, the band (after learning a considerable amount of it) decided they just couldn't make it sound like it should and chose to instead play Quadrophenia (which reportedly came in second in the voting).

Mocking the Broadway staple Playbill, most of the costume shows have featured a Phishbill to identify the album and the band's relationship to it. Additionally, souveneirs have often been distributed, such as chocolate coins with date, venue, and logo at '94 and '95.

Others have since done things similar.

"There's kind of a competitive edge in the band where we hear somebody and we think 'I want to be able to do that"
-- Trey to Keith Sperar, Times-Picayune 4/26/96


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