When the words “Phish” and “Halloween” are mentioned the most obvious mental association is their tradition of donning “musical costumes” – that is, playing an album by another band in full as their Halloween costume. What a trick and treat it was for Phish to play The Beatles self-titled 1968 double “White Album” in full in Glens Falls, NY. No less ambitious, the following year they played The Who’s Quadrophenia in Rosemont, IL, supplementing their line-up with Dave Grippo on alto saxophone, Don Glasgo on trombone, Joey Sommerville on trumpet and Alan Parshley on French horn. One of the most impressive aspects to these shows is the full album cover is merely one of three sets. What other band would play a set of originals, all of Quadrophenia, another set of originals, and then come out and debuted “My Generation” as the encore? 1996’s Talking Heads Remain In Light in Atlanta, GA is the most musically satisfying for many fans. It was followed by The Velvet Underground’s Loaded in 1998 (Las Vegas, NV), Rolling Stones Exile on Mainstreet in 2009 (Indio, CA), Little Feat’s Waiting for Columbus in 2010 (Atlantic City, NJ), their own then-still-unreleased Wingsuit (aka Fuego) in 2013 (Atlantic City, NJ), Disney’s Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House in 2014 (Las Vegas, NV), and David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in 2016 (Las Vegas, NV).
Among fans these are all the stuff of legend. But as great as they are, they tend to overshadow that Phish’s Halloween shows have treated audiences to more than just “musical costume” tricks. As with many Phish shows what’s most memorable, what lingers in the memory for years – decades even – and gets fans listening back to recordings from shows of yore is often the jams. Many from Halloween spring to mind: “Wolfman’s Brother” and the Velvet Underground’s “Lonesome Cowboy Bill” from ’98, the Stones’ “Loving Cup” from 2009’s Festival 8, or “Fuego’s” debut in ’13 for example. Which is your favorite? “Harpua” 1994 perhaps? Maybe the jazzy “Jesus Just Left Chicago” that outshined the Quadrophenia set in ’95 (and that’s saying something). 2014’s entire “Chilling, Thrilling” set can be viewed as the jam of all jams. Of course it’s completely up to debate, so in the spirit of that debate, here’s ten to consider: