We might begin by looking at the albums they've played before. It's certainly true that
they could throw a curveball
and bust out, say, the full soundtrack to West Side Story, or a Kanye cover (Pheezus?).
But for the six musical
costumes they've chosen since they began their Halloween tradition in 1994, there are
certain patterns that have
• Every album they've selected has been released between 1968 and 1980.
• They've covered each artist prior to the Halloween set. (Note that this is only barely
true: their only pre-
10/31/94 Beatles cover was a 1985 take on Piggies. It also doesn't narrow down the choices
much: the list of
has covered is quite
long. Also note that the frequent assertion that Phish has played a song from each album
before they played it is
false: they'd never played anything from Quadrophenia before 10/31/95 or
• Each band they've covered has had between 4 and 6 regular members. All of these bands'
lead vocalists have
• Every album has indeed been by a band – no solo artists have been covered.
• All of the albums but Waiting For Columbus have been in the top 300 on Rolling Stone's 2012 Top 500 albums list. All but Loaded have hit
20 in the charts. And all
six got 4.5 or 5 stars on allmusic.com. All but
WFC are in the top
which compiles fan ratings.
• Each album has had between 8 and 30 songs. Quadrophenia, Exile and
WFC all sit in what
seems to be the
spot of 17-18 songs.
• This point is arguable, but all of them are essentially “rock” albums. You could call
Remain In Light “new wave,”
but the point is, they've never played an album full of funk, bluegrass, jazz or any of
the other genres they've