Phish at Coachella, Day 2: For Halloween, The Band Covers Exile on Main Street (with Sharon Jones)
Halloween's a holiday that Phish built their reputation for unpredictability on - since 1994, when a show by the band's fallen on October 31st, they've celebrated by donning a "musical costume" covering a band's classic album in its entirety, and keeping its identity secret until the day of the show.
That first year, it was The White Album; since then, they've tackled classics from the Talking Heads (Remain in Light), the Who (Quadrophenia) and the Velvet Underground (Loaded)
But yesterday, at Festival 8, their three-day fest at the Coachella field in Indio, the stakes were even higher: not only has the band not played on Halloween in over a decade, but, through an elaborate animation on their website, they build anticipation by whittling down a list of nearly 100 albums to eight possibilities, which ranged from the esoteric (Genesis's The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway) to hipster-popular (MGMT's Oracular Spectacular) to the absolutely ridiculous (Larks Tounges in Aspic, King Crimson's dense, technical masterpiece of pretension).
So when their choice for this year, the Rolling Stones' eclectic, 1972 Exile in Main Street was made clear via a ridiculously in-joke filled "Phishbill" (which included faux ads for a David Bowie/UB40 double-bill in Florida for New Years, and Time Turns Elastic Waistband Sweat Pants), it wasn't so much a shock as the safest pick from the shortlist. What they did with it, however, was a different story altogether.