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Wednesday, September 14

In the spirit of the Upcoming Halloween show, I Want to Take a Look Back at Some of the Bands Phish has Covered. An article including video of the live concert the album was taken from.

 Many people all have their favorite Phish halloween show. They more or less correspond to whether you were there. It also matters how big a fan you are of the band they covered. I love the Talking Heads and The Velvet Underground but I'm not a big Who fan. It's a tradition that even mainstream music media respect at this point.

Phish always surprises me with it's Halloween choices. I think the most inspired choice so far has easily been the Chilling Thrilling Sounds Disney album. The fact they had free rein and could interpret the vignettes as they felt like and had little in the way of a roadmap made up the perfect recipe for a Halloween costume. I will discuss the other choices later but today I wanted to talk about Waiting For Columbus. It was one of the top-selling albums of 1978 and is widely considered to be one of the greatest live albums ever made. This puts it in a different category than the other costumes. True, almost all have been double albums but that isn't a lock when trying to make a guess because Remain in Light and Loaded were both single albums. So was Dark Side of the Moon.  That's not technically a Halloween show but it was the next show and specifically played because so many people got shut out of Vegas and since Salt Lake City was undersold, they gave the fans a treat. This is a band that rewards those that go out of the way. I learned that lesson when my friends skipped Darien Lake to get to The Great Went early and I got to see the Merry Pranksters and the Furthur bus instead of driving up through New York and Maine and then sitting in line for forever like they did. Yes, I still sat in line but we ended up only about two miles behind them and had seen the "Prankster show" taboot. 

All the other albums they have covered have been double albums that were either extremely produced, e.g. The White Album or almost live like Exile on Main Street. I still don't know how I feel about the Halloween show where they played themselves in the future by playing Wingsuit which later became Fuego. It seemed like a live rehearsal and a way to test new material. Still, the show was pretty good but it wasn't their most creative choice. This is backed up by the fact that only a handful of tunes off of Fuego are still played but the Disney set songs have almost all been played again. I've long heard rumors that Fish and Trey want to do Loveless by My Bloody Valentine but Page and Mike aren't into it. I personally would love to see them do it almost as much as I would have loved to see them do Kid A, one of the finalists at Festival 8. But we will delve more into the Phish Halloween tradition in the next few days.

I don't know what it is about Little Feat. They have a rabid following but a lot of the younger people that were exposed to Phish in the 99'-04' era only heard them if they were looking through their parents vinyl for the worst album cover. Lowell George was a wizard who played with Frank Zappa but was told to leave because Frank knew he deserved his own career instead of being led by Frank, or the popular story of George writing "Willin'" which has drug references that the famously drug-free Zappa didn't approve of but that sounds far-fetched to me. They only had one big hit but they were incredibly influential, so much so that the Grateful Dead asked Lowell George to help produce a record for them. The results were, well, mixed at best. But Little Feat, has fallen into the crevasse of so many great bands of the 70's. All people remember is disco and singer-songwriter stuff like James Taylor or John Denver. At most the Eagles are a notable 70's band. Little Feat just doesn't have the familiarity with younger fans and I think that is why it isn't ranked higher in the Phish Halloween show power rankings. So for you listening pleasure, here is video of the actual concert most of Waiting for Columbus was recorded at. 

Greg Heffelfinger

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