149

Phish: 10.31.09 Festival 8: Indio, California

C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
In 1994, Phish inaugurated the practice of covering a famous classic rock album as the second of three sets making up its Halloween concerts. The band termed these concerts its "musical costumes." The first classic recording it chose to honor was The Beatles' White Album (Apple, 1968). Since that time, Phish has honored, in 1995, The Who's Quadrophenia (Polydor, 1973); in 1996, Talking Heads' Remain In Light (Sire, 1980); in 1998, the Velvet Underground's Loaded (Cotillion, 1970); and a surprise performance of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (Capitol, 1973) a month later. The band took the next 10 years off from presenting their musical costumes, reintroducing the practice in 2009 with the Rolling Stones Exile on Main St. (Rolling Stones, 1973).

The band performed the music in the order it originally appeared on the two-LP release, but the performances are far from rote covers. Phish behaves and sounds as if it's having fun recreating, one of the prerequisites for covering another artist's work. The band turns "Shake Your Hips" and "Casino Boogie" into crystalline crispiness, while deftly joining a soupy "Ventilator Blues" to a Grateful Dead-laden "I Just Want to See His Face." Trey Anastasio clearly did his guitar homework, managing as best he can in concert tuning. The guitarist believes in playing to the spirit of the music and does so with abandon.

The horn section is informed and not afraid to take liberties, with keyboardist Page McConnell playing Mick Jagger's harmonica part on organ on "Sweet Virginia," while a rocking "Rip This Joint" features a tenor solo from Tony Jarvis. The band excels on the songs chosen to stretch out. A lengthy "Torn and Frayed" gives Anastasio plenty of country solo room, and "Loving Cup" is performed with renewed vitality and an extended coda. The band even elevates "Turd on the Run" and "Let It Loose" to almost high art, caring more for the pieces than the Stones originally did.

The closing quartet of "All Down The Line," "Stop Breaking Down," "Shine a Light," and "Soul Survivor" is a dense microcosm of Phish's success. It's a favorite garage band, made up of superb musicians with enough whimsy and imagination to take old music and make it both new and vital again. Fresh musical arrangements strengthen the material, showing why it mattered in the first place, all the while sounding like everyone is having the time of their lives.

Track Listing: CD1: Sample in a Jar; Divided Sky; Lawn Boy; Kill Devil Falls; Bathtub Gin; The Squirming Coil; Runaway Jim; Possum. CD2: Run Like an Antelope; Rocks Off; Rip This Joint; Shake Your Hips; Casino Boogie; Tumbling Dice; Sweet Virginia; Torn And Frayed; Sweet Black Angel; Loving Cup; Happy; Turd On The Run. CD3: Ventilator Blues; I Just Want To See His Face; Let It Loose; All Down The Line; Stop Breaking Down; Shine A Light; Soul Survivor; Backwards Down the Number Line; Fluffhead; CD4: Ghost; When the Circus Comes You Enjoy Myself; Suzy Greenberg.

Personnel: Trey Anastasio: guitars, vocals; Mike Gordon: bass, vocals; Jon Fishman: drums, vocals; Page McConnell: keyboards, vocals; Dave Guy: trumpet; David Smith: trombone; Tony Jarvis: saxophone; Sharon Jones: vocals; Saundra Williams: vocals.

Title: 10.31.09 Festival 8: Indio, California | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Ugly Beautiful" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Astrometrics" CD/LP/Track Review Astrometrics
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 13, 2017
Read "Harlem" CD/LP/Track Review Harlem
by James Nadal
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert" CD/LP/Track Review Bill Evans – Another Time: The Hilversum Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 24, 2017
Read "Live in Sant'Anna Arresi 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant'Anna Arresi 2004
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Light Shines In" CD/LP/Track Review Light Shines In
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 2, 2016

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.