Halloween! It's the 5th most played date in Phish history, trailing just 12/28-31, and perhaps the second most sacred. We go into every show hoping for something unique that we will remember for the rest of our lives, but Halloween and New Years are the only nights where we are promised that something weird will happen.
While one of those nights revolves around midnight and whatever stunt might happen then, All Hallows Eve's focus is on an entire set. It started out straightforward enough. Phish would play an album of a band they loved. During the third one, they decided to create an ode to the release, something to explain why exactly they chose it.
But Phish evolve endlessly. They tried variants of it. We've gone from Phish covering an existing album to debuting a new one to turning a sound effects release into a series of songs to creating an entire fake band complete with back story, and playing as them. The Phishbills morphed from explaining the importance of the album to rock history to surreal flights of fancy. Would they find a way of topping that, or would we see the return of the already beloved tradition of covering a currently existing album? There are still many people would love.
Who could have predicted a show that was made entirely of songs about animals? Many people did, and with last night's show, we finally uncovered the complex equation that reveals Phish's Halloween plans, once and for all. The answer is: they're fucking with us. They are always fucking with us.
If you can believe it, I actually didn't realize that the set was all animal songs until deep into the first set. My excuse is that I was just really into the music, man. But with "The Dogs" opener, clocking in at about nine minutes, we knew we were being subjected to another elaborate plan. The "Ocelot" brought us further into the animal kingdom, and "Turtle in the Clouds" gave us some much needed on-stage choreographed dancing.
By this point in the set, we were wondering if we were going to get another thematic show, with serious improv, like 10/28/21. But on this night, the service was to the bit, the bit led the music, and although we didn't see the levels of improv we saw on the other nights, it gave us a show with 25 songs and 201 minutes of music, and the kind of show you're not likely to see again. And you can always tell, when the band is doing a bit, when they know what's in store and we don't, they absolutely love it. They were relishing it. All night.
The crowd went into night two of the four-night Vegas Halloween run with high expectations. After night one of the run, where the setlist literally went “backwards down the number line," the rumors swirled that there would be another theme---colors? Animals? Fans were caught up in a Lost-like mythology trying to decipher the number 4680, the total of the numbers from the prior night's song selection, in hopes that the band was leaving a trail of breadcrumbs leading to the Halloween surprise. Fitting, since hordes of fans descended on the nearby Meow Wolf, which itself is an augmented reality mystery within a a psychedelic playground.
[Thank you to Phish.net contributor Dianna (@Dianna_2Ns) for this recap. -Ed.]
Last night, Phish treated fans to an absolute delight of a show as they literally went backwards down the number line to kick off their first night of four at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The band opened the show with some discordant sounds and eventually dropped into “Also Sprach Zarathustra” which was met with massive crowd cheers. This is the first time the band has opened a show with that tune since 9/22/99 at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, NM. The patience, focus and synergy that would be present throughout the rest of the show was really on display throughout this song, as Trey brought back “LA Woman” teases from last Saturday’s Forum show in addition to throwing in a few “Manteca” teases, as well. This jam starts dirty and stays that way, with Mike heavy in the mix, Fishman driving relentlessly and Page supporting Trey’s wailing with massive synth swells before the drop back into the song. After an impressive sixteen and a half minutes, the band comes to a stop before Trey takes the mic to assure everyone that, “We're not gonna hurt you... We just wanna have some fun…” before an absolutely epic drop into a cover of Prince’s “1999”—only the third time this song has ever been played live and 130 shows since the last time it was played (7/26/17 at Madison Square Garden during the Baker’s Dozen). Similar to 2001, this jam was lengthy and went Type II, with Page taking the reins for a good deal of it backed by fantastic interplay between Mike & Trey. Towards the end of this almost 15 minute spacey jam, Trey just lets loose, sustaining soaring extended notes before the band moves on to “555.”
[Thank you to Phish.net contributor Landon (@nomidwestlove) for this recap. -Ed.]
On Tuesday, October 26th, 2021 The Phish from Vermont brought their own unique brand of trans-dimensional, intergalactic space funk to the quaint central coastal community of Santa Barbara. The bowl itself, with its dramatic backdrop of the Santa Ynez mountains to the east and a view of the pacific ocean from our seats to the west, seemed to serve as a beacon, perhaps attracting unexplained aerial phenomenon and other sentient extra-terrestrial beings to use their state-of-the-art propulsion systems to hover in the void between the sea and stars.
This band has had plenty of peaks and valleys in their triple decade plus career, but I think they’ve proved with these past few shows, that the ceiling expands far higher into the stratosphere than one could have ever guessed. Yes, way up out there in the cosmos, Phish is providing the soundtrack for this donut-shaped universe.
[Thank you to Phish.net contributor Willie (@twelvethousandmotherfker) for this recap. -Ed.]
After three long years, and fifteen months to the day from the originally scheduled date, Phish returned to the phabulous Forum last night to play a rock concert. Thank Icculus.
For me, it was my first indoor show since Nassau in 2019, and damn was it good to be back. I didn’t realize how much I missed standing with my buddies in my favorite spot (right in front of Mike), sharing in the joy and community and, yes, groove that makes Phish so special. We’re all extremely lucky this is still happening -- I don’t want to forget that. Plus, they’ve been playing out of their minds!
So, let’s dig in.
Phish performs in different places around the country to convince their fans to move there. No doubt that the luxury housing development atop the mountain range behind Chula Vista’s North Island Credit Union Amphitheater was able to advertise breathtaking views *and* the opportunity to listen to a live Phish concert while laying on your deck, totally nude, spun out of gourd without any LiveNation employees to hassle you.
The beauty of the late fall outdoor show is that the concert begins in the dark so the light show is in full force. Palm trees lined the back of the lawn, which was not overpacked like most of the lawns were this summer. A pamphlet from the Twelve Tribes somehow ends up on our blanket.
My wife, Kylie, and I have lived in Phoenix since 2006. That means we moved to Arizona three years after Phish last played it. Their last show in the desert southwest was on July 7, 2003, at the same venue (different name). Needless to say, we have been awaiting their return since we arrived 15 years ago. This was absolutely a ‘hometown show’ for us and the excitement was built for a few reasons. Not only was it Kylie’s first show since 9/5/15 (and second since 12/7/97!), it was our kids’ first show ever and my first show in a proper outdoor shed since 2018. On top of all this we had friends in from Michigan and a local friend came along for his first show. A proper crew was engaged and ready.
Phish delivered. It was a wonderfully crafted show. An almost perfect one-off, Friday set list full of well-known rockers and newer tunes that were taken deep. “Julius” is an opener I’m always up for as it sets a bouncy, dance-y precedence…even when you don’t get through security until half through the tune. It took us about an hour to get through the line. The venue has only two entrances, so no one could have seen that coming.
Though I have been away from the place where I usually rest my head for a few days, I can say, with all honesty, that I never left home. Such is the joy of having Phish settle in for a few days of their unique brand of quackery in the home of the ducks. I have spent a lot of time in Eugene, the place is familiar. This familiarity leads to relaxation. The mid-week doubleheader further expands the timeline of the experience to allow for a long day and longer night of making real connections with friends old and new. The PNW regional branch of the PSH class of 1983 reunion was in full effect at the Best Western New Oregon, a stone’s throw across the street from the Matt Knight Arena. Minds were blown, faces were melted. Not many people came, tickets went unused, but those who did make the journey were not disappointed.
The last few weeks have been rough both personally and for the Phish community at large. I caught Covid after a Billy Strings concert and on September 28, I had to go to the hospital as I was having symptoms of hypoxia. Fortunately it was "just" the Covid creating pneumonia and the ER sent me home a few hours later, but in the moment it was terrifying. I didn't know if I would ever leave the hospital again.
The one cool thing that did happen from that horrible day is that Trey was tipped off that I was there and he sent me a message from his solo set that night, telling the story about how me timing songs and how I might not have been the fan that musicians dream about when they form a band, but ultimately moved it to a direction of genuine affection, a sign that Trey really does care about the community.
So after the drama of catching Corona, fearing for one's life, and then recovering, three weeks from the day of my hospital visit, I somehow found myself inside Matthew Knight Arena - on the floor close to the stage no less - about to see Phish. And what do they start with? "Down With Disease." And not just any "Down With Disease" but the 6th longest ever played. While I doubt it was intentional, that opener - complete with a few interesting themes, a "There is a Mountain" tease, and some very cool effects from Mike - felt like a perfect way to mark the end of one of the scariest chapters of my life.
I’ll cut to the Chase: a Phish fan tragically died at last night’s show after jumping from section 221 (or thereabouts) and landing in section 115 (or thereabouts) during “Destiny Unbound.” By all accounts it was a horrifying incident for those who witnessed any part of the fall or its aftermath. You can read about it in the news, in the Phish.net Forum, or on Phantasy Tour, Reddit, and anywhere else Phish fans talk online. I was on the floor when it happened and I had no idea - I didn’t find out until I checked my text messages this morning. In no way did last night’s tragedy shade my experience of the music in the moment, and while I’m deeply saddened by the news and find myself reflecting on the evening from a different headspace today than I had while walking back to my car after the show, I’m going to do my best to write from the (ignorant and blissful) perspective I had during the show. In hindsight it’s easy to draw connections between the show and our fellow fan’s tragic death (e.g., “How could they play ‘Set Your Soul Free’ > ‘Wingsuit’ after someone jumped to their death?”), but I’m working under the assumption that these connections are nothing more than unfortunate coincidences. If you were directly affected by last night’s tragedy, please find someone to talk to, and don’t be ashamed to reach out for professional help. Finally, if you’re ever feeling like you might harm yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - there’s someone available to talk to you any time: (800) 273-8255. Please take care of yourselves and each other.
Let me just start out by saying that I love “dirty” east coast Phish (looking at you Providence and Long Island). I’m also enamored by sweaty southern Phish and I definitely have a proclivity for the sprawling Alpine Valley Phish, but who can really ignore the majesty of West Coast Phish? And is it just me, or does California Phish, specifically, just seem to hit differently? In 1995, 2pac and Dr. Dre did confirm that California does indeed know how to party. And after only the 2nd show of this tour, Phish is already showing plenty of California love.
[Phish.net thanks first-time volunteer recapper Sterling Diesel (@sterlingpiper83) for writing this recap. -Ed.)
So this all started back at Shoreline, I met a platypi guy. We talked about how much we loved the band, I mentioned how I would love to write a review of a show, and bam, here I am :-). Thank you all for having me, it is very much appreciated.
After 2,252 miles I am ready to be out of my Volvo. I love it, but I got snowed in for about 15 hours at a rest area just outside Cheyenne on the way here and I am so ready to be out of it for a while. It is almost that time, the map is telling me the venue is just 3 minutes away, finally, it has been a long drive --- I see You Golden 1 Center, I will be there directly, just let me find a place to park first. I do just that and stroll up to the gate at 2:38pm local time and find myself to be just the 5th person in line. I meet a very nice gentleman named Michael, we talk about pyrokinesis, many smiles are created. I see Rosie coming from across the way; I met her a few weeks back on the rail in Pittsburgh at TAB, I am very glad to see her shining today. We talk about Trey's 4 song smile from that night. It's almost that time, here comes Rick with the wristbands now. Ahh, yeah! Looks like I'm gonna be the 8th person in tonight :-)
Dan Mielcarz (ColForbin here at Phish.net) has a doctorate in Microbiology and Immunology from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He is currently the Director of DartLab, the immune monitoring and flow cytometry shared resource at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon, NH. We asked him to write a short piece on staying safe at indoor shows.
With fall tour and indoor shows upon us, some of you may be wondering what the best practices from a COVID-19 safety standpoint might be. As an immunologist, I was happy to see Phish change from a free-for-all at the beginning of summer tour to requiring vaccination or a negative test. This makes for a much safer environment for the band and fans alike. Vaccination is the number one way to stay healthy in the pandemic. If you aren’t vaccinated you are taking a huge unnecessary risk, so please, get the shots. And if you are eligible, get a booster. The sooner you get your shots the better, as peak protection takes at least 1 week past the second (or booster) dose.
Also, please do not come to a show if you are feeling sick. At the very least, take a rapid antigen test (I like the BinaxNow brand) if you have any symptoms and only attend if you are negative. I know how excruciatingly hard it is to miss a Phish show you have been looking forward to for years, but skipping a show when you feel sick is one of the most selfless acts a person can make in 2021, and will be repaid down the road, I assure you.
Beyond vaccination and staying home if you feel sick, what is the number one thing you can do to stay safe at a Phish concert this fall? Wearing a mask. In the words of the band themselves: “We strongly recommend that you wear a mask at Phish shows when social distancing isn’t possible.” When is social distancing not possible at an indoor Phish show? Everywhere. So you need to wear a mask everywhere. Universal masking will protect you, other fans, and the band. I know Trey continued his tour when some members of his band got infected, but there is no way that will happen with Phish.
[Take the Bait is spirited deliberation centered around the hyperbole of Phish’s music and fandom, passionately exuded via the written words of phish.net contributors @FunkyCFunkyDo and @n00b100. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of phish.net, The Mockingbird Foundation, or any fan… but we're pretty sure we’re right. Probably.]
The Bait: Summer 2021 is the best tour since Winter 2003.
Funky: Once in a great while, we are privileged to experience an event so extraordinary, it becomes part of our shared heritage. 1969: Man walks on the moon. 1971: Man walks on the moon…. again. Then for a long time, nothing happened. Until today. n00b and I are proud to finally present: The 17th volume spectacular of Take the Bait! ::crickets chirping:: I said, The 17th volume spectacular of… ahhh forget it...
Before we get started, let’s make one thing abundantly clear: we - verrry apathetically - do not care if you call it 3.0 or 4.0. “But Funky, Trey’s 4.0 guita-” QUIET YOU! “But n00b, they took almost a year and a half of-” YOU SHHMMM! And if any of you nerds nitpick this, well, I’m not sure how to finish that threat, but be warned: I will caustically and needlessly shame you in the comments section - like a mature internet stranger should. And n00b knows how to fire a crossbow! Very good.
Phish.net is a non-commercial project run by Phish fans and for Phish fans under the auspices of the all-volunteer, non-profit Mockingbird Foundation.
This project serves to compile, preserve, and protect encyclopedic information about Phish and their music.
The Mockingbird Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Phish fans in 1996 to generate charitable proceeds from the Phish community.
And since we're entirely volunteer – with no office, salaries, or paid staff – administrative costs are less than 2% of revenues! So far, we've distributed just about $1,500,000 to support music education for children – hundreds of grants in all 50 states, with more on the way.