RECAP: Phish Halloween Run in Las Vegas

It’s been a little over a week, and we’re still having a hard time wrapping our heads around what happened during Phish’s Las Vegas Halloween run.  For months, Phish’s musical costume for Halloween night was one of the most talked about topics swarming our community. Would it be Eat a PeachJoe’s Garage, or 2112?  Then, as Halloween night approached, rumors circulated that Jon Fishman claimed it’d be obscure album from 1981 the band treasured during their Goddard College days and we all scrambled.  Could it be King Crimson’s Discipline?  It surely couldn’t be Abacab by Genesis!  Then what?  Something even better, of course.  On Halloween night, Phish tricked attendees by making up a Scandinavian rock band from the 80’s named Kasvot Växt, created some sort of loose ended back story, wrote and performed Kasvot Växt’s only studio album í rokk for their musical costume, and published articles about the album on obscure blog sites to cement the story line.  It was what nobody wanted, but everybody needed.  Let’s jump into highlights from night one set one before fully analyzing what happened in set two that night.

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The cover of the Phishbill from Halloween 2018

 

Starting right off the bat on night one, Phish played the appropriate and long awaited “Buried Alive” to get the show started which transitioned right into “Ghost” – a perfect start to the run and Halloween night.  Later in the first set, Phish would go onto jam “Halley’s Comet” (9:58) which broke eight minutes for the first time since Alpine Valley on August 8, 2015.  The last time Phish jammed “Halley’s Comet” passed 10 minutes was at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts on May 28, 2011 (12:03).

 

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Photo by Rene Huemer

 

When the first set concluded, in dramatic Phish fashion, black curtains fell from the ceiling and covered the stage from all angles.  At this point, it became prevalent that this year’s costume set would have some sort of theatrical essence to it.  The costume featured all members of the band wearing all white suites, and [Jon] Fishman in a white moo-moo with glow in the dark donuts.  Everything on stage was white including Trey [Anastasio]’s Stratocaster and synthesizer, [Jon] Fishman’s all white kit which featured white cymbals, amplifiers, mics, mic stands, and best of all Page [McConnell]’s furry white ZZ-Top style synthesizers.  Also notable about Page [McConnell]’s rig was it consisted of mainly synthesizers including the Clavinet and electric piano but left out the grand piano.  Chris Kuroda got to have a field day with the stage which was fully lined in lights, and the cube-shaped projectors which hung from the ceiling and moved up and down through-out the set.  Phish presented us with 10 new original songs choreographed with bizarre dance moves for Mike [Gordon] and Trey [Anastasio] to wow the audience.  By the time those two had ran a couple laps around the stage and Trey [Anastasio] had ripped into a couple guitar solos, I remember thinking to myself “this sounds a lot like Phish!”  The truth was becoming more and more evident, but every molecule in my body wanted to believe that Kasvot Växt was real!  But… but… but…  How could they?  They couldn’t… Could they?  They could, they did, and it was incredible!

 

Phish – “Turtle In The Clouds” by Kasvot Växt – 10/31/2018 – MGM Garden Arena – Las Vegas, NV

Phish – “Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.” by Kasvot Växt – 10/31/2018 – MGM Garden Arena – Las Vegas, NV

 

Later in the night during the third set, Phish would go on a space odyssey during a killer rendition of “Tweezer” (16:05) which led straight into the “A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing,” the come back to life jam.  “Meatstick” in the third set was another reminded of just how silly this band is, and a hot and heated “Run Like An Antelope” would come later to conclude the set.

 

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Photo by Rene Huemer

 

Setlist: Phish | MGM Grand Garden Arena | Las Vegas, NV | 10/31/2018

 

SET 1: Buried Alive > Ghost > Crazy Sometimes > Free, More, Halley’s Comet > Ocelot > Theme From the Bottom, First Tube

SET 2: Turtle in the Clouds[1], Stray Dog[1], Everything is Hollow[1], We Are Come to Outlive Our Brains[1], Say it to Me S.A.N.T.O.S.[1], The Final Hurrah[1], Play by Play[1], Death Don’t Hurt Very Long[1], Cool Amber and Mercury[1], Passing Through[1]

SET 3: Set Your Soul Free > Tweezer > A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing > Backwards Down the Number Line > Meatstick, Bug > Run Like an Antelope

ENCORE: Loving Cup > Tweezer Reprise

Notes: [1] Debut.

 

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Photo by Rene Huemer

 

Things really got started night two when “AC/DC Bag” was released into the wild for the first time since July 18, 2018 at Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harvey’s (31 show gap).  That’s the longest “AC/DC Bag” gap since February 19, 1993 when Phish played it at The Roxy Theatre for the first time in 84 shows.  It really warmed the crowd up for the “Wolfman’s Brother” that it would transition into.  “Chalk Dust Torture” went for a ride later in the first set, followed by Page McConnell letting us know where he’s been in fan favorite “I Been Around” which featured Trey Anastasio interjecting to belch “FACEPLANT INTO ROCK,” famed lyrics to Kasvot Växt’s “The Final Hurrah.”

 

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Photo by Rene Huemer

 

Phish lit the place up with a 20-minute, exploratory “Blaze On” jam to start the second set.  Also featured in the second set was a funky and exhilarating “Twist” which dove straight into “Prince Caspian” before Phish reeled the jam back into “Twist.”  Another highlight was the feel good “Harry Hood” where Jon Fishman sang lyrics to “We Are Come to Outlive Our Brains” from Kasvot Växt: í rokk in the middle of the ambient jam.  This song would end the second set.

 

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Photo by Rene Huemer

 

Setlist: Phish | MGM Grand Garden Arena | Las Vegas, NV | 11/01/2018

 

SET 1: Everything’s Right, AC/DC Bag > Wolfman’s Brother, Nellie Kane, Funky Bitch, Chalk Dust Torture, I Been Around, Joy, Walls of the Cave

SET 2: Blaze On > No Men In No Man’s Land, Fuego > Twist > Prince Caspian > Twist, Bouncing Around the Room, Harry Hood

ENCORE: Contact > Rise/Come Together

 

Phish – “Twenty Years Later” – 10/16/2018 – Times Union Center – Albany, NY

 

Night three of the run was arguably the best night of fall tour. Hell, it’s arguably the best Phish show of the year! Highlights from the first set include “If I Could” coming off the shelf for the first time since NTELOS Pavilion in Portsmouth, VA on July 29, 2014, and a majestic type-two “Mercury” which clocked in at 24 minutes and 29 seconds.

 

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Photo by Rene Huemer

 

When “Soul Planet” developed into an other-worldly jam, you could tell this set was going places.  “Down with Disease” followed, was left unfinished and contained “In the Summer Time” and “Oye Como Va” teases from Trey [Anastasio].  If the entire second set is too vague, we’d have to pin point the “Down with Disease” > “Guyute” > “Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley” as the biggest highlight of the set. As they did during “Harry Hood” and “I Been Around” the night prior, Phish continued to throw more Kasvot Växt teases into this show when Trey [Anastasio] quoted “Everything is Hollow” during “Sneakin’ Sally Thru the Alley.”

 

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Photo by Rene Huemer

 

As if this show wasn’t good enough, one of the biggest highlights was the encore.  With an approximated 20-minute window, there were no doubts in my mind that Phish would take the stage and start laying into “You Enjoy Myself.”  Instead, when Phish took the stage,Trey [Anastasio] was manning the kit.  This was a sure sign that things were about to get weird.  Page [McConnell] began to play the notorious organ line from “Hold Your Head Up” and [Jon] Fishman took center stage, vacuum in hand.  Trey [Anastasio] began to introduce [Jon] Fishman as Bob Weaver before he sang Syd Barrett/Pink Floyd classic “Bike” which, of course, ended in a vacuum solo and was concluded by another “Hold Your Head Up.”  This time, featuring Bob Weaver flailing around the stage and twerking center stage.  As this was far too weird a note to conclude the show on, Phish squeezed Led Zepplin’s “Good Times, Bad Times” on the tail of the encore to wrap up this glorious evening of music!

 

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The notorious Bob Weaver twerking for the people

 

Setlist: Phish | MGM Grand Garden Arena | Las Vegas, NV | 11/02/2018

SET 1: Cavern, Beauty of My Dreams, If I Could, Weigh, Sand, Back on the Train, Martian Monster, Mercury > Suzy Greenberg

SET 2: Soul Planet > Down with Disease[1] > Guyute, Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley > Light > Slave to the Traffic Light

ENCORE: Hold Your Head Up > Bike > Hold Your Head Up, Good Times Bad Times

Notes: [1] Unfinished.

 

Phish – “Simple” – 10/21/2018 – Hampton Coliseum – Hampton, VA

 

Anything after night three was all gravy, but Phish didn’t let off the gas for night four.  The first set produced a killer type-two rendition of “Tube” which went for 10 minutes and 50 seconds, and a “Mike’s Song” > “Weekapaug Groove” segment which saw rare bust out “Lifeboy” sandwiched in the middle.

 

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Photo by Rene Huemer

 

Night four set two was another barn burner!  Front to back, everything was satisfactory.  To pin point some high points “Carini” (13:39) was a dark mysterious jam which contained “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long” quotes from [Jon] Fishman, a light a dreamy “Scents and Subtle Sounds” jam (15:10), and best of all, the monstrous “Split Open and Melt” (21:22) which wrapped the set up.  This set went places!  Honorable mention to everything that came from it.  The “Crosseyed and Painless” > “2001” > “Possum” segment which followed the “Scents and Subtle Sounds” and led into the “Split Open and Melt” went places!  The only other song that was played in the second set was “46 Days” which brought MGM back to life after “Carini.”

 

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Photo by Rene Huemer

 

Setlist: Phish | MGM Grand Garden Arena | Las Vegas, NV | 11/03/2018

SET 1: The Moma Dance, Kill Devil Falls > Roggae, Water in the Sky, 555 > Tube > Farmhouse, Mike’s Song > Lifeboy > Weekapaug Groove

SET 2: Carini > 46 Days > Scents and Subtle Sounds > Crosseyed and Painless > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Possum > Split Open and Melt

ENCORE: Wading in the Velvet Sea, Character Zero

 

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Photo by Rene Huemer

 

Another run in for the books!  If you enjoyed reading our review of Phish’s Halloween run, be sure to follow us on Facebook.  We can’t wait to share in the groove with all our phamily for the annual New Year’s Eve run at Madison Square Garden.  Next stop, Penn Station.  All aboard for the Garden Party!

 

Phish – “The Final Hurrah” by Kasvot Växt – 10/31/2018 – MGM Garden Arena – Las Vegas, NV

About author

Zach Schwartz

Born and raised in Upstate New York, and residing in Southern California for the past 4 years, Zach, better known as Shvansi, has a vast taste and passion for live music. Shvansi graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelors degree in Communication in 2018. Feel free to contact with any comments, questions, or concerns regarding anything music related!