, attached to 1998-10-31

Review by waxbanks

waxbanks Four years prior to this night, the Halloween '94 show yielded several (arguably) best-ever takes on classic Phish songs on top of that outlandish Beatles cover; this is a more ambivalent pleasure. Not for nothing did the band choose the somewhat dopey fun of the November Hampton shows for a big-budget CD release rather than this weird outing.

The second set is probably the strongest Halloween costume in non-Phish (ahistorical) terms and the first set is standard excellent late '98 stuff, but it's the third set that gets the (decidedly mixed) press. Yes, it's three songs in just over 50 minutes; yes, Trey apparently walked off the stage in a weird mood mid-Ghost jam; yes, Wolfman's Brother tops out at a half-hour of complex, largely ambient improv. Like the 46 Days from 2003's IT festival, this late-nite Wolfman's has a terminal feeling to it; the song passes through a cloud of fearful noise before emerging into an exhausted groove, which leads in turn to Piper. Piper and Ghost have an ominous feeling; the ending of Ghost is downright scary. This show is *different* from the usual, as a Halloween night should be. Serious, somehow. The next show is the playful yin to this one's twilight yang, and both have entered the canon, though for very different reasons.
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