Phish Halloween Preview | Trying To Predict The Unpredictable

With just two weeks left until Halloween, we wanted to preview one of the most anticipated shows of the holiday - Phish at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Scribe Ben Greenfield who tweets and has written under the name Guy Forget, has been leading a conversation about just what album the quartet will cover on Twitter and we've asked him to lay out some of his thoughts for the preview that follows.

Phish's Halloween tradition of covering an album whose identity is kept secret until showtime has turned the holiday into fans' equivalent of Christmas morning. We spend months looking forward to it. Some of us make wish lists for Santa (who, in this analogy, has traded in his flying reindeer for a tour bus). Most of us will enjoy whatever we get – though there'll always be a few of us who end up like these kids. And as with any highly anticipated surprise, many of our minds run wild, in the weeks leading up to the big day, about what might be in store. So if you'll indulge my Christmas comparison one last time, this article is my attempt to root through the closets to figure out what we might be getting.

My speculation is born partly out of excitement, but also in part because many people – myself included – find the cover set more enjoyable when we're familiar with the album. Phish, after all, rewards familiarity more than any other band in history – they have a secret language, for goodness' sake – and so a full set of unfamiliar tunes can be a bit disorienting.

So if this is your first Halloween, I have two pieces of advice for you. First, don't get your hopes up for any particular album. I know, I know; the cloud on your PTBM ticket is clearly modeled after the cloud in one of the promo shots for Hanson's Middle Of Nowhere. But – sorry to break it to you – the odds that you'll actually get to MmmBop on Halloween are pretty mmmBad. (Sorry.)

My second recommendation is that if you want to be familiar with the album Phish plays, you should strategically curate your listening choices over the next couple weeks, because some albums are more likely than others. Not only will this strategizing increase the likelihood that you'll be familiar with the actual costume Phish has selected, but chances are you'll also fall in love with at least a new album or two along the way. Now there's one small problem. Tens of thousands of albums exist, and Phish could literally play any one of them. So where the heck do we start?

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