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Published: 2002/11/23
by Jeremy Welsh

Live Phish 14: 10-31-95- Phish

Elektra Records 62807-2

To coincide with the end-of-hiatus festivities, Phish announced
that they would be releasing all four Halloween shows as part of their
Live Phish series. While the third installment of the series has only
four releases – compared to six in the first two – the fans have not
complained. Requests for an official release of the Halloween shows
began before the echoes in Glen Falls, New York faded into the fall
air…

Four years have now passed since the last Phish Halloween show — four
years, including the hiatus, for the run of costumed extravaganzas to
firmly mark their place in Phish's history. Much have been made of the
four and how the choice of the musical costumes can be interpreted as
signposts in the evolution of Phish's music. In 1995, riding the wave
of A Live One's success (released in June of that year), Phish
reached
for the rafters of the arena rock pantheon when they decided to take on
the challenge of covering The Who's epic Quadrophenia.

On October 28, 1973, at Trentham Grounds, The Who attempted to play
Quadrophenia. They had not rehearsed the album, believing they could
be
successful by simply manipulating background tapes. They soon realized
that Pete Townshend's story about the birth of the Mod culture could not
be taken lightly. Twenty-two years later, the setting would be the
hanger-cum-arena known as Rosemont Horizon in Chicago. And the
four-way split personality of the main character, Jimmy, would be
personified by
Phish. But this time around, the actors would be up for the task.

The first set glowed at both ends — starting with a mood-setting
"Icculus" and a shining "Divided Sky", ending with a rocking "Run Like an
Antelope" and a "Harpua" that included a raccoon-filled dream of Mike's and
a crowd-teasing snippet of Michael Jackson. But it was the
Quadrophenia
set that would shine into the Chicago sky. The only background tapes
Phish would rely on were the opening sound of waves crashing on a beach
— after that, the accomplishment was theirs. They filled the Rosemont
Horizon with such glorious rock and roll, sounds of such grandeur.

It must be mentioned that the horn section – Don Glasgo on
trombone and French horn, Dave Grippo on saxophone, Alan Parshley on
trombone, and Joey Sommerville on trumpet – does a wonderful job in
supporting the "rock opera" feeling of Quadrophenia
From the opening blast of "I
Am the Sea" to the outpouring of Fishman's "Love, Reign O'er Me", the
listener cannot help but be caught up in the story of Jimmy and his
desire to "fit in". And, as a group of four guys from Vermont who grew
from the counterculture, it forms an interesting parallel. It is
Phish's musical interpretation that helps in carrying the emotions of
the story. A large part of this success comes through the singing of
Page McConnell — he is just so believable in his interpretation of
Townshend's words. It is hard to believe Trey when he says they will be
back for one more set, out of breath and clearly tired. But it is true.
And the third set simply includes a forty-minute "You Enjoy Myself" that
is regarded as one of the best ever.

As a listener, with headphones over my ears, it is draining to simply
listen to the Quadrophenia set, seven years later. And then to
imagine
what it must have been like for the band that second set break, slowly
realizing what they had just done. It is natural to compare the
four Halloween releases, especially since they were all released
together. One can hear the novelty and simple enjoyment of The White
Album, or the incredible immersion into Remain in Light, or the
interpretation of Loaded. But it is with Quadrophenia that you
can hear
Phish's accomplishment. They were peaking after their commercial
success of Hoist, growing faster than they had before, playing sheds
across the country — what a better choice to show their musicianship and
where they were musically than with the arena rock opera
Quadrophenia.

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