When the Moment Comes…
To add fuel to the fire, Phish has released the list of potential musical costumes for Festival 8. Since the announcement of the festival, the thought has been on my mind, ‘what will they play when the moment comes?’ With flying weapons slowly eliminating albums, it appears for the first time Phish will announce the album prior to the actual show. Most of the albums are ones that we have been considering, with a few unexpected ones standing out. For example I think Thriller and Electric Ladyland were on most people’s radar. However, I think its safe to say French-Latin singer Manu Chao’s Clandestino and Montreal based band The Arcade Fire’s Funeral were surprises to most people. That said, I have a hard time seeing the band sing in French, Spanish and Portuguese to the spooky setting of Halloween. With MMW’s Shack Man, Tom Petty’s Dam the Torpedoes, Huey Lewis and the News’ Sport, the Talking Heads’ Fear of Music and Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man already off the list, we feel we can start narrowing it down further. Throughout the week we will be selecting albums from the list and talking about them in detail. If you have not seen the list of albums, check them out here.
While many of the albums seem tempting, I think this year will be different from past years. For one, the festival setting will evoke an entirely different atmosphere than fans are used to on Halloween. It won’t be enough to simply cover an album this time. The album will have to fit with the spooky setting of Halloween. Based on that criteria, I’ve narrowed the list down a bit. We have already mentioned Thriller, The Basement Tapes and another of Brian Eno’s albums, which are all major possibilities (read the article here). Here are some more albums that we think might make the cut:
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Considered by many to be one of the greatest and most innovative albums of all time, Pet Sounds is one of the first concept albums of all time. In 2003, Pet Sounds was voted the #2 album of all time by Rolling Stone. The thick vocal harmonies, and unique use of instruments create a very interesting sound, one in which Phish could potentially push to new limits. Widely felt to be one of the most influential albums, The Beatles have said it was the main influence behind Sgt. Pepper. As George Martin, the Beatles producer, stated, “Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper wouldn’t have happened…Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds“. Needless to say, this would be an amazing choice for Halloween in California. With Phish singing the vocal harmonies, taking these surf rock tunes for wild rides, it would make for one of the best musical costumes to date.
Here’s “Sloop John B” off Pet Sounds.
Blind Faith – Blind Faith
The first of the ‘super-power’ groups, Blind Faith only existed for a short time. Featuring Eric Clapton, Stevie Winwood, Ginger Baker, and Ric Grech, the band released a single album in 1969 and disbanded shortly after. In that brief period, Blind Faith created some very innovative music, pushing each musician to the limits of their abilities. Some of Clapton’s most complex guitar playing was in Blind Faith, which he has recently ressurected with Stevie Winwood. I was lucky enough to catch one of the reuniting shows at MSG last year, and I can honestly say it was one of the greatest muscial experiences of my life. Seeing Phish play these songs is one of my biggest dreams. The opening notes of “Had to Cry Today” would bring the house down, and Trey would sound great playing Clapton’s leads.
Watch “Had to Cry Today”, the opening track off Blind Faith.
David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust
Another concept album, released in 1972. This album would make for the perfect musical costume, as the band would lead the crowd along the journey of Ziggy Stardust. Telling the story of a being from outerspace who comes to save Earth with a message of peace and love would create the perfect musical setting for Halloween. Bowie described the story behind the album in a 1974 interview with Rolling Stone:
“The time is five years to go before the end of the earth. It has been announced that the world will end because of lack of natural resources. Ziggy is in a position where all the kids have access to things that they thought they wanted. The older people have lost all touch with reality and the kids are left on their own to plunder anything. Ziggy was in a rock-and-roll band and the kids no longer want rock-and-roll. There’s no electricity to play it. Ziggy’s adviser tells him to collect news and sing it, ’cause there is no news. So Ziggy does this and there is terrible news. ‘All the young dudes’ is a song about this news. It’s no hymn to the youth as people thought. It is completely the opposite.”
Needless to say it would be an incredible experience if Phish were to cover Ziggy.
“Moonage Daydream” from Ziggy Stardust.
Frank Zappa – Hot Rats
If Phish were to cover this album it would be a major undertaking. Frank’s second solo album, released in 1969, consisting of five instrumental tracks and one track with vocals. The liner notes of the album describe the music as “a movie for your ears”. The music is extremely complex, and would take time to master. With Trey mentioning that they have recently begun learning a new album, it would be very difficult to learn the music to Hot Rats in such a short period. That said, the band already knows “Peaces en Regalia”, and could potentially learn the rest. Remember who we’re dealing with here. However, to acheive the right sound, I think they would need horns and perhaps a violin. It would be difficult, there’s no doubt about it, but I don’t put it past them.
“Son of Mr. Green Genes” from 10.26.68.
Check back throughout the week as we will continue to break down the potential Festival 8 musical costumes. Post your thoughts in the comments section, let us know what you think the album will be!