Phish began their fall tour on September 27th in California (see TMIPH September 1995). The band notified fans that they would accept votes by mail for their second Halloween musical costume, renewing their commitment to cover an entire album by another artist at the fans’ behest. Audience excitement was high, as many people vividly recalled the October 31st, 1994 performance of the entire Beatles “White Album” and couldn’t wait to hear what the band would tackle for 1995′s celebration.
After completing a run down and back up the California coast, Phish settled in for two shows October 2nd and 3rd at Seattle Center Arena, near the Space Needle. Baby Gramps, an eclectic native of the Northwest, was the support act. After leaving Seattle, the band performed on October 5th at Portland, Oregon’s Memorial Coliseum. October 6th found Phish in Vancouver, British Columbia at the Orpheum Theatre where they played the month’s first Tweezer. The band appeared at the ornate Spokane Opera House the next night where the second set featured a notable rendition of longtime classic Harry Hood.
On October 8th, Phish made their second visit to Montana’s Big Sky country, descending on Adams Fieldhouse at the University of Montana in Missoula. Set one there opened with AC/DC Bag, followed by Demand. Keyboard Army (a/k/a Keyboard Cavalry) opened the second set followed by Cars Trucks and Buses, Timber Ho and Ya Mar.
The 9th and 10th were days off and the tour continued October 11th at Compton Terrace in Tempe, Arizona. There the second set featured a combination of songs including Bathtub Gin, Mound, Mike’s song segued into McGrupp and then Weekapaug Groove and Suzy Greenberg transitioning into Crossroads, which the band had not performed in almost two and a half years. After another day off, the next show took place in Fort Worth, Texas, the city where Trey was born. The first set at this show closed with Split Open and Melt, followed by Fluffhead and the band’s first cover of David Bowie’s Life on Mars. Tube opened the second set and Axis, Bold as Love was the encore rounding out the show. The band made themselves at home in Texas, playing October 14th and 15th at Austin Music Hall. They were joined onstage on the 14th by John Medeski, Billy Martin, and Chris Wood (Medeski Martin and Wood) along with the band’s bus driver, Dominic Placco, on trumpet for You Enjoy Myself. Meanwhile, Fish utilized his vacuum and trombone and Trey played guitar and a small drum set near the front of the stage. Trey repaid the favor by joining MMW on guitar at their show later that evening at Emo’s.
On October 17th, Phish played at the State Palace Theatre in New Orleans. Medeski Martin and Wood opened the show and again joined the band toward the end of the second set, when Suzy Greenberg led into Keyboard Army, during which the three guests came onstage spurring the normally mellow segment into a caucaphonous jam. After a day off and a stop for a show October 19th in Kansas City, Missouri, the band and crew rolled into Cedar Rapids, Iowa on the 20th where they began the first set with My Friend My Friend, Ya Mar, Ha Ha Ha, and Divided Sky.
The October 21st show at Pershing Auditorium in Lincoln, Nebraska began with a reprise of the Tweezer from the previous night, and the tone was set for an outrageous gig. Good Times Bad Times segued back into Tweezer to end the first set. The audience was greeted by a second set opening combination of 2001 into David Bowie. Highway to Hell served as an encore to this special show, which was later released as 10/21/95 Lincoln on CD and as an audio and video download. As the tour moved on to Illinois: October 22nd found Phish at Assembly Hall in Champaign. Set two was woven together as the band went smoothly from Possum into Catapult into The Curtain into Tweezer into Makisupa Policeman into Big Black Furry Creature From Mars. The other Mars song debuted earlier in the month reappeared next and the set closed with Slave to the Traffic Light and Cavern. The band used their day off on the 23rd to practice their Halloween “musical costume” (see TMIPH October 1994, TMIPH October 1996 and TMIPH October 1998), which by then was rumored to be Michael Jackson’s smash hit Thriller. Phish played on October 24th at Dane County Coliseum in Madison, Wisconsin and again October 25th at Saint Paul Civic Center Arena. The band put a twist on the Halloween rumor during the second set Mike’s song – they threw in a strong tease of the Pink Floyd song Breathe, unwittingly foreshadowing their performance three years later of the epic Dark Side of The Moon (see TMIPH November 1998). The encore that night was Jimi Hendrix’s Fire, fueling more speculation on what the Halloween album selection would be.
As the tour spiraled closer to the Chicago region, the band played on October 27th at Wings Stadium in Kalamazoo, Michigan and on the 28th at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The Auburn Hills show opened with AC/DC Bag, followed by Mound and Timber Ho, then Antelope to close the first set. The encore of While My Guitar Gently Weeps harkened to the previous Halloween. A long trek to Kentucky ensued for a show at Louisville Gardens, where Shaggy Dog was played for the first time since a vocal performance of it during You Enjoy Myself in Detroit in 1992. The band teased Beat It during Possum which propelled the audience into a state of considerable anticipation. Afterwards, the band and crew made their way to Chicago for a day off to get ready for the Halloween event.
Phish performed October 31st, 1995 at Rosemont Horizon (now Allstate Arena), near Chicago. Costumes of all kinds were proudly displayed by concertgoers as they gathered prior to the sold-out show. The night began with Brad Sands’ birthday request Icculus, followed by Divided Sky and Wilson. The set closed with a high-energy Antelope followed by Harpua, during which Mike attempted to explain a dream he had about raccoons. Trey brought the crowd’s excitement to a peak when he added that Jimmy was listening to the halloween album and the band answered with a solid Beat It tease. The second set began with a taped excerpt from Thriller before Phish broke into their true Halloween cover album, Quadrophenia by The Who. They were joined by a horn section consisting of longtime friend Dave “The Truth” Grippo (see TMIPH July 1991, TMIPH May 1991, TMIPH April 1994, TMIPH July 1995 and TMIPH October 1996) and Joey Somerville (see TMIPH April 1994) along with Don Glasgo and Alan Parshley. The eight musicians tore through Quadrophenia, showcasing longtime crew member Leigh Fordham as The Bellboy and spawning such popular additions to their repertoire as Drowned and Sea and Sand. The third set began with a rendition of You Enjoy Myself, Jesus Left Chicago featuring Grippo and a full-bore Suzy Greenberg complete with horns. The encore was My Generation and the band performed it on acoustic instruments; Fish played a miniature drum kit bearing front drumhead emblazoned with “The Who”. As they ended the song, they smashed their instruments in historic Who style. Fish demolished the drum kit and Trey smashed his acoustic guitar and used a plunger to detonate an onstage explosion, ending the show with a bang. The entire Halloween show was later released as LivePhish14 – 10/31/95.
A much deserved rest followed. Phish returned home for a week or so to prepare for more touring in November and December, beginning with a three night run at Fox Theatre in Atlanta.