For the second set, the band's "musical costume" was all debuted originals, performed as the invented band Sci-Fi Soldier (a 14-page comic book distributed upon entry detailed the group's adventure to save the planet). For that set, the band performed in elaborate costumes (helmets and all), with alternate instruments (Trey on a BCR Mockingbird), each playing within a flashing/glowing shape (two circles and two squares), after descending (in the form of holograms) from the ceiling in cylinders of colored light. Knuckle Bone Broth Avenue included extended choreography by Trey and Mike. During Get More Down, matching upright geometric shapes danced around behind the band, reducing to the two circles overlapped by Egg in a Hole, which featured pyrotechnics. Before Clear Your Mind, Trey introduced the band as from the year 4680 (the total of the October 28, 2021 songs as noted during that night's encore-ending Grind). During The 9th Cube, there were projections of donuts and turtles on a cube above the band. Fireworks rained down on the stage during The Inner Reaches of Outer. For I Am in Miami, Trey switched to an acoustic guitar and the band stood together at stage front with the four-mic a cappella setup. After the set, the band departed as holograms back up the colored tubes. Soul Planet contained Knuckle Bone Broth Avenue and Don't Doubt Me quotes. Mike quoted Thanksgiving in Death Don't Hurt Very Long. The start of Harry Hood included alternate lyrics (Holy Blankenstein).

Sci-Fi Soldier Comic Book

Teases
Knuckle Bone Broth Avenue and Don't Doubt Me quotes in Soul Planet, Thanksgiving quote in Death Don't Hurt Very Long
Debut Years (Average: 2010)

Show Reviews

, attached to 2021-10-31

Review by sheikyerbouti

sheikyerbouti Writing this spun in the airport hours after the show. Why I thought this was a good idea? Well, that’s beside the point. Let’s get to why you scrolled down here. This run was incredible, and the band proved that on the night where it mattered most, they still delivered.

The Halloween Buried Alive was a welcome opener, short and sweet. Ghost however steaks it’s claim as jam of the night. This ended up being one of the longest jams of the run IIRC. How do they follow this up? A tight Wolfman’s, and KDF finds itself a strong version. The crowd was thrilled to see David Bowie, and after some flubs to open it up, the band delivered a strong version to finish.

Now the gag… I loved it. Walking into the venue, I was expecting a phish bill, shocked to see a couple comic books floating around… then it hit me. Stuff like this is why I love the band. Despite all the rumors and talk about potential things that could be the gag, it’s something completely out of left field that makes so much sense. The days of them covering albums are over sorry to say. For them, the musical costume is an Avenue for them to become something they’re not. Like we saw in Kasvot, and even with Chilling Thrilling to an extent, they are able to break free from their “expected conventions.” They are able to just let loose and do what they want. And this SCI FI theme was a treat to watch. All the theatrics and pyrotechnics on stage were amazing. KBBA, Egg in a Hole, Don’t Doubt Me, and the Howling just to name a few were real good, I can see them entering the rotation for years to come. Closing things out with a cool acoustic acapella song with plenty of Phishy word play resonated with the audience. And just like that, they teleported back to their spaceships never to be seen again.

I’ll be brief with the third set, gonna miss my flight if I don’t type quicker. Carini. Nuff said. MVP of ‘21, must listen to version tonight. Soul Planet also had extra mustard. Love how DDHVL gets sprinkled in real quick these days. Also, I’m one of those drift while sleeping haters. Not a fan, but it did jam hard at the end. And to end things off with a powerful Hood for the encore was fitting. Ladies and gentlemen, what a pleasure it was. This run will stand the test of time.
, attached to 2021-10-31

Review by DividedSkySolo

DividedSkySolo I feel like I’m in the minority but I’ve never been crazy about Halloween shows. I think they’re fun one-offs and I love the way the band uses them to exercise their creative muscles. I rarely listen to even the best of them though. It’s a great tradition and I hope they never stop doing them, but the gag sets themselves aren’t really my favorite from a re-listen value perspective.

I will say that I prefer this kind of thing to covering classic albums. I’d rather see something that came out of the weird brains of my favorite musicians than watch them play Pink Floyd or whatever.

This particular set had a lot of ups and downs. I think they cultivated some really tight grooves. I absolutely love it conceptually. The comic book is hilarious, and I find the cooky lore entertaining and even kind of cool. The music itself has a lot of cool sections but also a lot of fluff. I think there are some segments that should be cut to keep it engaging. The front half was honestly pretty great, it dragged in the middle, but I dug the ending. I also don’t care for the tone on that BC Rich, I think many of these songs will shine more once they’re better practiced and played through the band’s usual equipment.

Knuckle Bone Broth Avenue - Has a tight groove to it, sort of peters off in the middle. I’d like to hear this one with more Page synth noise. Just needs to be filled up a little bit and it will create some interesting jams. Definitely agree that it has some Camel Walk DNA to it.

Get More Down - Oh boy is this one going to be polarizing. I think it’s hilarious. They know a lot of people don’t like the Fish noises and they made an entire groove around one of the most annoying ones. They actually develop a nice pocket around it, I think.

Egg in a Hole - The early fan favorite. As a Chicagoan, I love this one and hope they heed their own thoughts and get back here soon. This is a very dark, psychedelic tune, especially where it fits in the narrative about drinking “pressed, fermented, mind-expanding liquid” lol. Hoping to hear a dark type II jam off this in Chicago next summer!

Thanksgiving - I loved this one. Tight, funky pocket. Good vocal interplay. I like the lyrics, they’re kind of creepy!

Clear Your Mind - Nice work by Mike on this track. I think this is one where the lyrics will grow on me. Some of the really simple, repetitive Phish songs rub me the wrong way until I have a moment at a show where they hit me right. This song kind of overstays its welcome though.

The 9th Cube - I like Trey’s sweet little prog sections. I can’t wait to hear this one with a bit more practice and on the Doc.

The Inner Reaches of Outer - This one is kind of a mess haha. Page’s synth doesn’t quite fit but I think with a little work they can salvage this one. The lyrics are actually not bad in my opinion. Musically a bit boring though.

Don’t Doubt Me - This one drags a bit. Definitely a few too many “unhead the knees” ha. I think this will be one of the most “memed” songs (he’s a genuine asshole). I like the way they build at the end, just need to tidy up that middle section a bit.

The Unwinding - This is where that BC Rich really started bugging me. Sounds flat and out of tune. This song will ruin 2nd sets for a lot of you next summer, but I think it will be a nice cool-down after some heaters.

Something Living Here - Maybe my least favorite, though I do like the line “I twist humor to exist.” Just generally kind of boring. Could be a jam vehicle though, I’ll give it that.

The Howling - Nice little jam. I got some Allan Parsons Project vibes. I have a feeling we’ll see this one open some shows this summer.

I Am In Miami - It’s funny wordplay. Don’t mind it taking up a spot where they’d normally do Grind or something.

I’ve been really impressed with 2021 Phish. They’re playing tight, mixing up setlists, and creating interesting jams. I only caught Deer Creek this year, but after hearing that Simple it just feels right they’d do a sci-fi theme. I had fun and I’m all for some of this making it into rotation. There is no doubt in my mind that more than a couple of these songs will become staples. We’ll see a JOTY contender from one of them. We’ll refer to “classic versions” of some. There will also be a handful of throwaways. I’m feeling a strong 7 to a light 8 on this one.
, attached to 2021-10-31

Review by SawItAgaaain

SawItAgaaain When the band enjoys themselves, I enjoy myself.

This year has been peak Phish. Shows are brimming with energy, jams bust through the walls of windowless rooms, and our tired little legs can hardly keep up. After last night, I can see why. Don't they just look excited to be themselves again? After 18 months of down time, would crate digging through the archives in Cleveland and dusting off Tarkus or Led Zeppelin IV be the creative beast they would be animated ride? Would *we* really be excited for that journey?

Not this year. The only thing that makes sense is something so different it makes no sense the first time you see it. (Isn't that the definition of Art, anyway?) But when it makes sense to them, it'll make sense to us. Just like Gamehendge, just like a 27-minute Roses, just like the first festival, just like Kasvot Vaxt all do now. (And Holy Blankenship! If your soul is confused, read the book!)

Last night is why we love this band, even when we don't see it in the moment. I can't wait to see how they end this banner year at MSG and I hope they bring these new pets with them for some good, long walks on that stage.
, attached to 2021-10-31

Review by DownWithSteam

DownWithSteam Well the hype is over - Phish played new material for Halloween and some of it was pretty great and funky. Some questionable and will get some hate. But one thing cannot be denied - the band was was tight nearly all night long. Once Ghost led into that sick jam in the first set I knew we were getting a good one tonight.

As for the Halloween set, I know there will be haters like with Kasvot but some of the tunes seemed like keepers (KBBA, GMD, CYM off top of my head) and others seemed repetitive and very forgettable. I do hope the days of getting covers are not over, but Im going to listen either way.

For set 3, we really got going with a good carini, and the band remained tight throughout despite the show running past 230am. Drift had a strong ending. I think its a good song.

Not the best Halloween show ever, but still an amazing show, Check out Ghost, Wolfmans, Carini and the 2nd set.
, attached to 2021-10-31

Review by mattybweston

mattybweston Howdy all,

Bleary eyed in Austin after 4 nights of late night/early morning couch tour. I'm a crusty vet with a deep deep love for this band and our community (most/all vacations revolve around tour and both kids are fully indoctrinated), but not at the expense of honest criticism. So howsabout a praise sandwich here- a classic management technique to couch (wordplay!) the meat of your less flattering remarks between two slices of fresh-out-of-the-oven positivity. Apologies if I go long - I'm unpacking some complicated feelings about one of the touchstones of my adult life here.....

Taken as a whole, these shows are four of the strongest sequential shows of the last decade - deep transmorgrifying jams, bust outs, gags on gags and continual evolution of the soundscape. Awe inspiring. That said - last night was the least successful of the run.

Set One started off with two very tentative takes on reliable barn burners - Buried Alive & Roses Are Free. The former had Trey repeatedly looking back as his rig as he appeared unhappy with something and the latter generally failed to launch, not quite a ripcord but ripcord adjacent, in favor of Ghost. But what a Ghost. Layered, constantly evolving and super exciting until about minute 19 (as I relisten right now) when Fish incorporates a beat that the rest of the band has trouble adjusting to. Possibly they just ignore it as they soldier on through another 6+ minutes. The wheels never come completely off, but it does require a complete shut down to return to the Ghost coda. Not to worry - Wolfman's to the rescue! A reliably great guitar laden peak has us fully back on track and Kill Devil Falls also inspires - Trey's recent love for his octave down effects fits in nicely just before and after a sweet little "do it again" refrain. Free is next, and though lacking a screaming, evil Phish peak, we get some Mike bombs and more octave down wah from Trey. David Bowie comes in on the wrong foot (literally) to finish off the first set. After that inauspicious start the jam eventually goes full bliss in the major and seamlessly shifts back into Bowie for our familiar trilling finale. Ba Da Ba Da!

Comic books are thoroughly digested at setbreak and anticipation is both sky high and curious. Sci-Fi synth space funk? Yes please. We get not one but two unplanned fake outs as the stream comes back with its graphics and intro music but the house lights are still up. Then the houselights dim only to come back up. But eventually we get to....

Set 2!

The spectacle of the tubes and holograms is incredible as our our heroes' hopelessly goofy space outfits. I won't recap the comic in its entirety but the premise is simple enough (for Phish)- welcome Sci-Fi Soldier, a band of time travelling superheroes with telepathic abilities who have met with a renamed Icculus (see Harpua from last night) here from the future to save us from destruction with the power of music. And......

.....well.

With the exception of the pyrotechnics, the visuals are simplistic and seem to have stolen CK5's mojo- odd to tie one hand behind the back of the man who can conjure spaceships and the swirling cosmos out of thin air, smoke machines and light. As for the music? I'll paint with a broad brush here and this is obviously one man's opinion - it too is simplistic and feels rushed & unedited. Most are based around a simple one or two chord vamp and several of them feel fully self indulgent. For example - an entire song based around one of Fish's more grating samples? Hmm. Half baked and half remembered choreography in the first song again? Huh. At one point my wife asked (between various band members shouting lines, often over top of each other) if the lyrics were improv. I could not disprove her theory as most songs lacked a coherent vocal melody and/or harmonies. And Page's synth, instead of being complementary or laying down a melody of its own, seemed random and wildly up in the mix. One of our gaggle gamely dancing in our living room said "it sounded like a bus just drove past the microphone." Again, as a crusty vet I'm prepared to suffer a bit to get to the meat of the groove, and indeed the groove was eventually there in nearly every song. But getting past the vocal portions of this set was challenging. Challenging.That's probably the word I would use to describe the whole set. I personally found myself hoping they would not step back toward the mics & just keep this thing in the pocket and instrumental. But alas, that was not to be. And then....I Am In Miami shows up at the very end to heap some musicality on this challenging, borderline confrontational set. Wordplay, harmonies and general geeky goofiness. Thank goodness. My crew and I will love this band forever and none of us were huge fans of Kasvot Vaxt right off the bat. But it was easy to see the potential of some of those tunes and many of them have transformed into jams we eagerly anticipate dancing to. So perhaps that's the real gag - transforming these 12 tracks over the next year or so....

A breather or ten, some text chains between dance parties scattered throughout South Austin, and then on to Set 3

2021 MVP Carini shows up and covers a ton of ground in 13 minutes, multiple sections melding together to drift into Lonely Trip. A gorgeous, nearly dead silent version that I'm sure has the ragers questioning its placement but, hey man, play what you want. The inevitable Soul Planet is up next, and it goes long but has a bit of trouble picking a lane, jumping between bliss and darkness, guitar god and techno echo. It finally reverberates into Death Don't Hurt Very Long. In fact death only hurts for about two minutes - it's much more of a longform DDHVL tease twisted by SFS (are we abbreviating Sci-Fi Soldier yet?) and ripcorded for Twist. A gentle, blissful Twist at that. The divisive Drift follows as the closer and has some extra sauce on it taboot. Think of it as three songs in one - more bang for the buck, baby. Harry Hood comes very late to the party as the encore and is packing an endless sustained Trey note. Typical great Hood proving the point that a little bit of structure in a song can only help as a monster jam vehicle.

What an incredible four nights of music and tomfoolery. Set 2 was a very big swing and I'm sure that it is generating a ton of conversations. Only in a collective community of band & fans like ours would they feel comfortable enough to try something so outrageous. If the past is prologue, I'd guess we will see mostly positive thoughts, or at least the accentuation of the positives, here at .net. I'd imagine that the knives are out over at PT but I'm not going over there to check. Now is the time for more civility, not less.

My crew will be putting this run into heavy relisten rotation as long as our ears still work.

Be safe out there and see you on tour. And as always - anonymous posts are for cowards. Put your name on it people.

Matty Weston
South Austin. Texas. Earth.
, attached to 2021-10-31

Review by SawItAgaaain

SawItAgaaain When the band enjoys themselves, I enjoy myself.

This year has been peak Phish. Shows are brimming with energy, jams bust through the walls of windowless rooms, and our tired little legs can hardly keep up. After last night, I can see why. Don't they just look excited to be themselves again? After 18 months of down time, would crate digging through the archives in Cleveland and dusting off Tarkus or Led Zeppelin IV be the creative beast they would be animated ride? Would *we* really be excited for that journey?

Not this year. The only thing that makes sense is something so different it makes no sense the first time you see it. (Isn't that the definition of Art, anyway?) But when it makes sense to them, it'll make sense to us. Just like Gamehendge, just like a 27-minute Roses, just like the first festival, just like Kasvot Vaxt all do now. (And Holy Blankenship! If your soul is confused, read the book!)

Last night is why we love this band, even when we don't see it in the moment. I can't wait to see how they end this banner year at MSG and I hope they bring these new pets with them for some good, long walks on that stage.
, attached to 2021-10-31

Review by DrWilson

DrWilson I think all of these "new" songs are brilliant. I also think they are hand picked jams turned into songs. I wish I had time to go back and figure out from which specific jams or shows this stuff came from. The lyrics are intentionally hokey in places and pretty Phishy in other places. The Unwinding is probably the most likely regular player moving forward kinda like Cool Amber from KV. I think the last decade's studio releases are much different than early Phish obviously. But I think some of the elements we miss from those early years show up in stuff like KV and SFS. I put this webcast on tonight expecting to hate it or be bored by it from reading stuff here, but instead I love it. This is pure Phish jams retooled into songs. What other band has does anything like that? What other band could do anything like that? Keep it up phellas.
, attached to 2021-10-31

Review by Phluffheaddd

Phluffheaddd Was it some of the most *original* stuff Phish has ever done? Far and away of course not. Was it still extremely silly, thought out, entertaining, and overall well executed? Undoubtedly.

I’ve seen it mentioned a few times... but you cannot possibly group all of these songs in to the bad batch category. It’s just blasphemy. You might not like all of them or really any of them, but that doesn’t mean that they’re bad songs. And the jams that were discovered throughout the evening tied all of what we’ve heard for the last two years together, so that in itself is a win.

If and when they play any of these tunes again (and they will), they will receive an abundance of cheers and an abundance of groans. That’s how it goes. Remember Soul Planet? Now look at it. It’s one of their best jam vehicles. Lyrics mean nothing. Ideas mean nothing. Phish is and always has been simply about compositional, improvisational, off the wall music.

Now onto bigger matters:

They “came down” from colored tractor beams dressed as space soldiers. What is not to love about that?! 4 grown ass men got to play dress up for Halloween and do some funny shit. I’m on board.

Knuckle Bone Broth Avenue: proggy, jammy track. Sounds pretty much like DDHVL2 with some mindless lyrics and Phish references scattered in it. I thought it opened up the show wonderfully. And I’ll be looking forward to the next time they play it. For sure. B+

Get More Down: this one is the most prog of all the songs they played, I think. Super DEVO vibes. I definitely was grooving to this one and I did exactly as instructed and got more down with it. The samples within are funny, but if you hate the samples, I get why you might not like a track like this. I was buckled in for a fun ride after these first two tracks though. So far, so good. B

Egg in a Hole: my favorite song of the bunch. So evil. So space. So very obviously Phish. I want this to come out of a Tweezer. I want this to come out of a Carini. I want this to come out of some filthy Mike’s Song. I just want this song in regular rotation and I’m sure it will be. What a groove. A+

Thanksgiving: our first real breather of a song for the evening. Very obvious vibes from the last couple of years and that’s about all I’ve got to say about it. I enjoyed it, but wouldn’t put it on my list of songs I’m chasing any time soon. C

Clear Your Mind: pretty similar vibes to Thanksgiving. Very much a culmination of the space jams we’ve heard on this tour. I’d rate it higher than Thanksgiving and would gladly welcome it, but I think I’d rather hear this song be a jam than an actual track, but that doesn’t mean it was bad. C+

The 9th Cube: prog out of the gate. Just sticks to a short and sweet little synth groove and that’s about it. And that’s all it had to do. It was another little cool down. The lights made it a lot better, for sure. I’ll say that at the very least. C

The Inner Reaches the Outer: Page driven tune. Weird lyrics. Very prog rock. Heavy synths throughout the entire song. Thought it was neat... wouldn’t rate it very high out of the 12 new tracks we got, though. C-

Don’t Doubt Me: comes out with a super good guitar riff. Immediately jumps into Page playing with his synth to bring the whole picture together. Very similar to Egg in a Hole and Knuckle Bone Broth Avenue in terms of the rock and roll. Gritty. Silly lyrics. Definitely going into the rotation. If you don’t like this one, you’re a genuine asshole. A+

Unwinding: very Sigma Oasis/GoTF vibes from this one. I would imagine these were all mostly penned during quarantine, but this one is obviously a quarantine Trey song if any of them were. I really liked it, but I’m usually a sucker for a few good cool down, slow songs in my Phish. I can only dance and hold my piss in for so long. Lmao. Would go well paired with Drift While You’re Sleeping, Beneath a Sea of Stars, or I Miss You IMO. Very similar vibes throughout all those songs.
B+

Something Living Here: very space, cowboy funk. Sounds like a Back on the Train-esque jam. I really liked the lyrics in this one. Probably my favorite track lyrically of the night. Will be revisiting this track for sure. I’d give it the green light for rotation in the same way Cool Amber and Mercury gets played. B

The Howling: SO. MUCH. SYNTH. SO. MUCH. PROG. This one was probably the single funkiest, weirdest track of the bunch. I loved every second of this one. Please please bring this one into rotation like the other Halloween songs. Not played as often as Martian Monster, but maybe on par with Your Pet Cat or DDHVL. I will definitely be singing The Howling for awhile lol. A

I Am In Miami: we were all patiently waiting to find out what the acoustic guitar was all about. And boy did they deliver. What a silly, NICU-style play on words and it’s just another goofy addition to the a cappella repertoire. I liked it. Would love to see it again as a bust out in the future. And hopefully that means they’ll be in Miami for NYE in a few years. A-

I’ll give the costume an overall B-. Certainly above average. Definitely not one of the best original Halloween costumes, though. I did thoroughly enjoy it however.
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