A Different Halloween

Today a couple other online minds in the Phish fan world wrote about the same topic, but I still think this is interesting enough to have another perspective.  I’m talking about Phish’s upcoming Halloween show.  As most of you have seen all over the internet, a lot are speculating that this year’s Halloween show isn’t going to feature their usual “musical costume”.  Since 1994, Phish has not played a show on Halloween without playing three sets–the second containing a “musical costume.

I didn’t even start thinking about this being a possibility until the OPT fan, Trisha, mentioned it on the OPT Facebook Fan Page wall.  She pointed out a couple weeks ago that Phish only confirmed a “special show”.  Phish, like any company, is very careful with their words.  They usually specify a musical costume, remember how much excitement there was behind the mystery album last year?  Also, I can’t think of anytime that they didn’t specify when they would be playing a three-set show.  So far, they have not said anything about a musical costume or playing three sets on Halloween.  In fact, their Halloween ticket time, 7:30pm, is the same as the other shows at the venue (and most of the tour).  Three-set shows usually have an earlier ticket time so they can still comply with the city’s curfew (however, I hear that Atlantic City’s concert curfew is far later than most).  The ticket price of $60 is the same as all the other prices for the tour–I can’t think of when a three-set show was the same price as a normal two-setter.

It’s hard for many to believe, including me, that Phish would actually book a Halloween show without playing three sets or another band’s album.  They surely know that’s what everyone expects from them–it’s the standard they set for themselves–it would almost be as odd as them playing a two-set New Year’s Eve show.

A new aspect of this tour and Halloween speculation has come to light with tickets arriving in the past few days.  Four of six are Gamehendge references: Llama, Famous Mockingbird, Punch You in the Eye and the Sloth (along with Ocelot and Dog Faced Boy).  The tickets almost look like some form of Gamehendge currency.  Since Phish, in fact, is billing their upcoming Halloween show as “very special”, are they planning on playing the Gamehendge saga that evening?  Wrapping up their tour with a Halloween Gamehendge would certainly be interesting, however, in my opinion, Gamehendge should come out in a random show–out of left field.  If they pre-planned a Gamehendge this far ahead of time, I think it would be greeted with a lot of fan criticism–not only because of how pre-planned it would be, but also how inappropriate the venue and vibe surrounding the show.  A Gamehendge in Atlantic City on Halloween wouldn’t fit at all considering the party atmosphere that will be in the air that night.  Also, people want Gamehendge in a naturally beautiful setting (ahem, TELLURIDE), not some slimy venue on the boardwalk of Atlantic City, NJ.

I would say the likelyhood of them playing a traditional “musical costume” this Halloween is now under 50%.  With the Gamehendge thing even less likely to happen, I have no clue at all what will make this show “very special”.  I guess we will wait and find out.  If Phish is good at anything, it’s messing with their fans.