, attached to 1986-10-31

Review by aybesea

aybesea Continuing my tour through the early archives I come across their first recorded Halloween show. I half expected to see Elvis' Aloha From Hawaii covered in set 2 but alas, no dice.

Sound here is really warm and very clear. For the vintage and environs one could not expect a better tape.

As far as the songs, I'm limiting things to short blurbs and highlights:

Slave is wonderful with soaring guitar work. This thing is already a monster and it's only 86!

Melt the Guns is entirely forgettable, but segues into a solid Sneakin' Sally. I never realized how important this song was to the Phish canon until I started this foray into the early years.

Halley's Comet sounds like an intentional comic version. Doesn't do it for me.

Back Porch Boogie is a great little bluegrass number that they take out for a spin... nice! I wish that they'd play this one occasionally nowadays. This segues into Shaggy Dog, another tune that I'd absolutely love to see make the sporadic appearance in modern shows. Trey's chicken pickin' is outstanding.

The Fluffhead here is just beautiful... very light and airy. After an early appearance and subsequent absence, it's great to see Fluff becoming cemented into the lineup.

The jam sounds to me very much like it was lifted from Cumberland Blues. Really good and inspired, but more or less just a Trey (with a little Fishman) off the cuff, chicken pickin' fest. This segues to Bag using the same amp'ed up tempo from the jam, but it doesn't work well with the song.

Swing Low is great little interlude... they should use this more often. Lounge music.

David Bowie makes a debut at this show, sounding much like it always would. The jam is quite interesting and different than many more mature DB's in that it explores a lot of different musical nooks. Perhaps not the most cohesive, but certainly very intrepid.

Good Have Mercy jam, although the tempo is a little slow. This song is so powerful, I don't know why they didn't keep it in the lineup. I'd take this over Makisupa every time.

The Hood is solid, though nothing exceptional. I only mention it because at this point all of the components are in place for this song. It is done incubating.

I know that there are others who will vehemently disagree, but I really don't understand the appeal of Sanity or Icculus (or Anarchy, though we're lucky enough not to have one in this show). In my mind the band is way too good at this point to rely on comic response.

Skin It Back remains one of the strongest covers from this early era. This one should be played on a semi-regular basis in the modern era. Unfortunately, this particular outing is not one of the stronger attempts.

This show really should be rated about a 3.5, but because of the lack of 1/2 points I can't do that. It's too good for a 3, but really not up to a 4 standard.


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