Celebrating 20 Years Of JamBase

Memorable Halloween Concerts & Events


This year marks the 20th anniversary of JamBase. Part of the yearlong celebration includes the 20 For 20 series featuring 20 lists focusing on 20 notable topics and events of the JamBase era. The lists were compiled by current and former JamBase staff members and contributors, music industry professionals and other experts. Stay tuned for more, as the series continues throughout the year and we look back at two decades of encouraging fans to Go See Live Music!

Previous 20 For 20 Lists include Standout Debut Albums By Jam Acts, Pranks & Gags Played By Jam Acts, Festivals We’ve Lost, Memorable Reunions, Farewells Of The Past 2 Decades, Longest Jams & Standout Improvisations and Fan Sites. Next up is a look at Memorable Halloween Concerts that have taken place in the past 20 years.

Halloween night has long been associated with going to see live music. Within the jam scene, Halloween has risen in significance over the years, rivaled only by New Year’s Eve when it comes to bands going out of their way to craft atypical holiday setlists. Jam icons the Grateful Dead played a number of times on Halloween and often gave their audiences audio treats (their October 31, 1971 show was released as Dick’s Picks Vol. 2).

In 1994, Phish introduced the concept of a musical costume in which they spent a set covering The Beatles’ White Album in its entirety. Since then, many other jam bands have elevated their games for performances on All Hallow’s Eve. New covers, debuts, bust outs, special guests, themes, improvised movie scores and other inventive hijinks and stunts have been pulled off over the past two decades — making Halloween truly one of the nights each year to go see live music.

The String Cheese Incident
Oct 31, 2000

The String Cheese Incident had played Halloween a few times before their show on October 31, 2000, at the State Theatre in Portland, Maine. The “Hulaween” concerts later became part of the annual Suwannee Hulaween music festival in Florida that began in 2013.

SCI’s Halloween 2000 show saw the band fully embrace the holiday. The band members wore costumes (drummer Michael Travis dressed as Spiderman and was lowered from the venue’s ceiling while firing spiderwebs at the audience) and dug into the tradition of debuting cover songs that continues through the present.

First-time played tunes originally performed by The Police, The Beatles, KC & The Sunshine Band and – perhaps most notably – Phish, formed the bulk of the evening’s encore. In 2000, Phish skipped playing Halloween for the second-straight year after four consecutive years performing musical costumes. They also played a hiatus-starting show just weeks prior, taking an open-ended “final” bow on October 7, 2000, at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.

The cover of Phish’s “The Wedge” came after covers of “Walking On The Moon” by The Police and “Come Together” by The Beatles. Following “The Wedge,” SCI closed the night with “Get Down Tonight” by KC & The Sunshine Band. The entire encore, including the truncated opening “Land’s End,” was selected for Cheese’s Hulaween live compilation Trick Or Treat that came out in 2009.

Subsequent “Hulaween” Incidents incorporated elaborate musical themes, special guests sitting-in and a wide-range of cover debuts. This year, The String Cheese Incident headlined Suwannee Hulaween on October 27, 28 and 29. Their performance on the 28th featured a set entirely made up of covers of ’90s songs — including the bust out of The Wedge for the first time in 19 years. SCI performs tonight at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, Texas to open a three-show run.

Setlist via Friends Of Cheese

Set One: Spiderman Theme* > Lonesome Fiddle Blues, Mrs. Brown’s Teahouse, St. Thomas, Barstool, Turn This Around, Lost > Come As You Are
Set Two: Search, Howard, Joyful Sound > Drifting Away, Outside Inside > Mouna Bowa > Salt Creek > Black Clouds
Encore: Land’s End** > Walking on the Moon > Come Together > The Wedge > Get Down Tonight

  • * Entire band except Travis came out in costume. As the Theme was played, Travis was lowered from the ceiling and shot spiderwebs at the crowd.
  • ** Only the beginning portion, not the complete tune.
  • First Time Played: Walking on the Moon, Come Together, The Wedge, Get Down Tonight

Oct 31, 2001

[Video Credit: 3po1nt0]

Oysterhead — the supergroup made up of Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio, Primus bassist Les Claypool and The Police drummer Stewart Copeland — will reunite for the first time since 2006 when they play 1st Bank Center outside Denver in February 2020. Oysterhead debuted at the Saenger Theater in New Orleans on May 4, 2000 and released their lone album, The Grand Pecking Order in 2001.

The trio’s only tour came in fall 2001 (their only subsequent performance was a one-off set at Bonnaroo 2006). The 2001 tour’s stop in Denver stands out for a number of reasons, not the least of which was Anastasio wearing his Phish band mate Jon Fishman’s iconic donut dress.

Here’s an excerpt of a previous JamBase article about Oysterhead’s October 31, 2001 concert at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium:

[Oysterhead’s Fall Tour 2001] mostly stuck to songs on the band’s only album, The Grand Pecking Order with a regularly rotated set of classic rock covers thrown into the mix. Halloween was a bit different as the band was particularly loose, and weaved a handful of teases and other unexpected songs into the setlist.

Costumed in Phish drummer Jon Fishman’s familiar frock, Anastasio gave fans a treat with a taste of “Stash” during the mid-set “Pseudo Suicide.” The tricks continued inside the “Army’s On Ecstasy” that followed as the song’s jam section was revved up by a quick take on The Kinks’ “All Day And All Of The Night” and a spooky workup of the chorus to The Police hit “Walking On The Moon.”

Trey then jumped on his antlered Matterhorn guitar for Copeland’s spoken word meditation “Wield The Spade” before switching over to acoustic guitar for a solo portion of the set. A talkative Anastasio jokingly played a few songs regularly covered by Fishman including Syd Barrett’s “Love You” and “Bike” and Neil Diamond’s “Cracklin’ Rosie.” He played “Birthday Boys” next, with Claypool and Copeland reemerging at the end of the biographically celebratory tune.

“Owner Of The World” appeared to be the final song of the main set until Les stepped to the microphone to sing one verse of “God Bless America” as his band mates left the stage. They all returned together and the regularly covered Jimi Hendrix/Buddy Miles favorite “Them Changes” was selected as the encore.

Setlist via Phish.net

Set: Little Faces, Mr. Oysterhead, Oz is Ever Floating, Rubberneck Lions, Radon Balloon, Pseudo Suicide, Army’s On Ecstacy > All Day and All of the Night [1] > Walking on the Moon > Army’s On Ecstacy, Wield the Spade, Birthday Boys [2], Owner of the World, God Bless America[1]
Encore: Them Changes

  • [1] Oysterhead debut.
  • Trey was dressed in Fish’s frock, Les wore a pig mask, and Stewart donned camo paint to celebrate Halloween.
  • God Bless America and the cover of The Kinks All Day and All of the Night were Oysterhead debuts.
  • Army’s on Ecstasy contained a Tomorrow Never Knows tease.
  • Birthday Boys featured Trey singing lines from a number of covers that Fish often performs with Phish: Love You, Bike, and Cracklin’ Rosie.
  • Owner of the World included a Stash tease.
  • Drums and Tuba opened.

The Disco Biscuits
Oct 31, 2001

One of the 20 For 20: Longest Jams & Standout Improvisations entries was The Disco Biscuits‘ 1999 Jam Of The Year Jammy Award-winning improvisation that occurred at their New Year’s Eve concert in the Bisco’s hometown of Philadelphia. One of the sets that night featured an improvised Katsuhiro Otomo’s Japanimation film, Akira.

The successfully pulled off on-the-spot soundtrack would not be the last time tDB held a show while simultaneously playing along to a movie being shown on large screens. Over four straight nights, beginning on October 31, 2001, the Disco Biscuits improvised scores to four full-length feature films while they were projected inside the venues.

First up was Walt Disney’s animated classic Alice In Wonderland on Halloween at Woodmen of the World Hall in Eugene, Oregon. Another animated favorite, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, received the instant-score treatment the following night at The Wett Bar in Vancouver, British Columbia. Next, Bisco replaced Phillip Glass’ score to Godfrey Reggio’s experimental film Koyaanisqatsi at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon. The Disco Biscuits’ Halloween Run 2001 wrapped on November 4 at King Cat Theatre in Seattle during which they played along to Tom Tykwer’s thriller, Run, Lola, Run.

Halloween in Eugene began with tDB’s debut cover of “Funeral March Of A Marionette,” best-known as the Alfred Hitchcock Presents theme. Hinting perhaps at the next night’s score, set one also saw the debut of “Linus And Lucy” from the Peanuts cartoon. An inverted “Reactor” was also among the first half highlights.

The entire second set was devoted to going through the looking glass with Alice In Wonderland. The performance was capped with an encore consisting of “And The Ladies Were The Rest Of The Night” and “Munchkin Invasion.”

New Year’s Eve 2016 saw Bisco once again live-scoring a film, this time choosing the 1980s sci-fi favorite Tron.

Setlist via PT Bisco

Set One: Funeral March Of A Marionette, Nughuffer > Linus And Lucy, Voices Insane, Radiator > Reactor [1] > Nughuffer
Set 2: Alice in Wonderland Jam [2]
Encore: And The Ladies Were The Rest Of The Night, Munchkin Invasion

  • [1] contained multiple teases as well as the theme from John Carpenter’s Halloween
  • [2] spontaneous score to Walt Disney’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ which was being shown simultaneously
  • DJ Mauricio opened and played setbreak; stage filled with Halloween decorations

[Audio taped by Nick Michels. Transferred by Evan Leon.]

Jan 31, 2002

While moe. frequently played on Halloween during their formative years, it wouldn’t be until October 31, 1999 when they started implementing themes. That night, the band incorporated tunes from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory into their setlist. One year later, they performed all of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon while The Wizard Of Oz was displayed on screens at the venue and on Halloween 2001 they honored the five senses. On October 31, 2002, the quintet pulled off a The Simpsons-themed concert at RPI’s Houston Field House in Troy, New York.

Here’s an excerpt from a JamBase article about moe.’s impressive The Simpsons tribute:

moe. mixed originals and songs from the TV show over the span of two lengthy sets and an encore. The band members were all dressed as Simpsons characters and the stage was set up like Moe’s Tavern from the TV show. Opening act Particle even got in on the act by playing pool at the on-stage pool table during the first set before engaging in a full band segue with moe. “See My Vest,” “Bagged Me A Homer” and the “Itchy and Scratchy Theme” were among The Simpsons songs moe. performed that night.

moe. followed The Simpsons-themed show with a heavy metal-themed performance on Halloween 2003 and a country-heavy affair on October 31, 2004. Themes from the past few years have included The Big Lebowski in 2014, Star Wars in 2015, “Tarantinoe.” in 2016 and “A Night At The Arcade” in 2018.


Set One: Simpsons’ Theme*, Plane Crash, Itchy and Scratchy Theme*, Bullet** > moe./Particle Jam > The Elevator > Particle/moe. Jam > Moth, Itchy and Scratchy Theme, Bagged Me A Homer*, Itchy and Scratchy Theme
Set Two: Flaming Moe’s Theme* > Spaz Medicine, Itchy and Scratchy Theme, Kyle > Kids, Itchy and Scratchy Theme, See My Vest*, Itchy and Scratchy Theme, Spine Of A Dog > Simpsons’ Theme > Buster
Encore: Captain America, Simpsons’ Theme

  • * First time played
  • ** With Steve Molitz of Particle on keyboards

[Audio taped by Scott Gordon.]

The Flaming Lips
Oct 25, 2007

Though technically not concerts, the annual March Of 1,000 Flaming Skeletons organized by The Flaming Lips were nonetheless musical events not to be missed. The first invasion through downtown Oklahoma City — The Flaming Lips’ hometown — took place as part of the Oklahoma Gazette’s first Ghouls Gone Wild parade on October 25, 2007. Frontman Wayne Coyne continued leading the tradition each year through 2010.

As the name implies, The Lips-led March Of 1,000 Flaming Skeletons saw many (maybe not quite 1,000 though) of the band’s fans gather to be outfitted in skeleton costumes and face paint. The costumed skeletons were then given lit tiki-torches, which they carried while walking the Ghouls Gone Wild parade route. Trailers with speakers pumping music and haze machines enhancing the spooky atmosphere were pulled along the parade route with flaming skeletons.

These two videos capture scenes from the first March Of 1,000 Flaming Skeletons in 2007:

[Video Credit: Lindsay Parker]

[Video Credit: BlueTune Audio OLD CHANNEL]

Check out the OK Gazette’s commercial for the 2008 event:

Here’s footage via George Salisbury from 2009’s March Of 1,000 Flaming Skeletons:

This video was shared by The Flaming Lips and goes behind-the-scenes at the final March Of 1,000 Flaming Skeletons in 2010:

Gov’t Mule
Oct 31, 2008

Gov’t Mule is another band that initially started off debuting a few covers each Halloween before going full throttle on themes. The quartet’s “Mule-O-Ween” tradition officially began with a tribute to Led Zeppelin in 2007 featuring a first set heavy on originals before a guest-filled performance of Led Zeppelin tunes. On October 31, 2008, Gov’t Mule presented “Dark Side Of The Mule” at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston. The band loaded their second set with Pink Floyd classics in which they were joined by vocalists Machan Taylor, Sophia Ramos and Durga McBroom Hudson for some songs and saxophonist Ron Holloway for a number of tunes.

Mule released the live album and concert film Dark Side Of The Mule in 2014 featuring their Halloween 2008 tribute to Pink Floyd. The concept went so well the band revived Dark Side Of The Mule for a set at the Mountain Jam festival in 2015 and a 2018 run of co-headlining shows with The Avett Brothers as well as an appearance at last year’s The Peach Music Festival. Check out an excerpt of JamBase contributor Andrew Bruss’ recap of the original Dark Side Of The Mule performance:

From the opening notes of the reverb-heavy “One Of These Days,” everyone in attendance collectively flipped their shit over what they knew would become a concert that would be discussed for years to come. As the set moved past “Fearless” and “Pigs On The Wing” — equipped with an inflated pig to the right of the stage — Mule moved into “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” With sheet music in front of band members, it was clear that a great deal of effort went into pulling off their Floyd “costume.” Not only did they nail the composition, but Haynes even managed to replicate the near-perfect guitar tone of Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour.

In addition to dozens of lasers piercing through a smogged theatre, the effects of a run through the first five tunes off Dark Side Of The Moon was enough to make any attendee melt in their seat. However, the highlight of the set was a funky rendition of “Have A Cigar,” featuring drummer Matt Abts on vocals. One of Haynes’ strong suits is his ability to mesh Black Sabbath-heavy guitar riffs with a sense of Headhunters-era Herbie Hancock funk, and “Cigar” just so happened to be the Floyd tune that brought that out the most in him.

The second set wrapped with “Wish You Were Here,” and an encore of Mule tunes. “A Million Miles From Yesterday” and “Blind Man In The Dark” brought the shenanigans of Gov’t Mule’s Halloween to a close. Calling their show a success would be an understatement. Given the high hopes of attendees before they got to the Orpheum, most bands would have had a rough time meeting people’s expectations, but for the man who regularly fills the shoes of Duane Allman and Jerry Garcia, sending people home feeling satisfied required nothing more than practice, sheet music and some extra-trippy lighting. With Halloween ’08 behind us, talk of Mule’s follow-up for ’09 can be expected right around the corner.

Gov’t Mule honored The Rolling Stones on “Mule-O-Ween” in 2009 and went on to pay tribute to The Who in 2010, Jimi Hendrix in 2012, The Doors in 2013, Neil Young in 2014, Traffic in 2016, Free in 2017 and Black Sabbath in 2018. While last year’s “Mule-O-Ween” concert actually took place on October 27, the quartet played highlights from past “Mule-O-Ween” shows on October 31, 2018.


Set One: Brighter Days, Bad Little Doggie, Brand New Angel, Gameface, Trane > Third Stone From The Sun Jam > Eternity’s Breath Jam > St. Stephen’s Jam > Monkey Hill, Child Of The Earth, Kinder Bird Jam* > Kind Of Bird
Set Two: One Of These Days* > Fearless* > Pigs On The Wing Part 2* > Shine On You Crazy Diamond*$& > Have A Cigar*& > Speak To Me* > Breathe*$ > On The Run* > Time* > Great Gig In The Sky*$ > Money*$& > Comfortably Numb*$ > Shine On You Crazy Diamond Reprise*$& > Wish You Were Here
Encore: A Million Miles From Yesterday$, Blind Man In The Dark&

  • * First Time Played
  • $ with Machan Taylor, Sophia Ramos & Durga McBroom Hudson
  • & with Ron Holloway

Umphrey’s McGee
Oct 31, 2008

On October 31, 2008 Umphrey’s McGee began a tradition of debuting inventive mashups as part of their Halloween shows that lasted until 2016. The sextet combined portions of songs — mostly covers with the occasional original thrown in — to create new concoctions. UM unveiled five mashups on Halloween 2008 at The Warfield in San Francisco.

In addition to premiering mashups, band members sported mashup costumes at each Halloween show from 2008 – 2016. At The Warfield, guitarist Brendan Bayliss was “Rick James Bond,” guitarist Jake Cinninger was “Bezel Bob Dylan,” keyboardist Joel Cummins was “Sugar Ray Charles,” percussionist Andy Farag was “Ronald McDonald Trump,” drummer Kris Myers was “Incredible Hulk Hogan” and bassist Ryan Stasik was “Pittsburgh Van Pirate.”

The first Umphrey’s mashup Halloween concert featured performances of “The Triple Wide/Robot Rock” combining UM original “The Triple Wide” with a dose of Daft Punk; “TNT/Paranoid/Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” combining a pair of AC/DC tunes with a portion of a Black Sabbath song; “Phil’s 7 Nation Money Farm” combining the original “Phil’s Farm” with bits of tunes by The White Stripes, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin; “Another Brick In The Wall/Thriller” combining material by Pink Floyd and Michael Jackson and “Sad Clint Eastwood” combining Metallica and Gorillaz hits.

Read JamBase contributor Nick Boeka’s thoughts on UM’s first set from Halloween 2008:

The mashup theme that took over the evening’s costume selections also seemed to be applied to Umphrey’s song choices. After a blistering “Higgins,” the rest of the first set featured a few “songs” with mixed up sequences. Or to describe it in words, take the verse of Pink Floyd‘s “Another Brick in the Wall” and then jam in the chorus of MJ’s “Thriller,” then back into “Brick” and then return to “Thriller” for an outro jam. Think of a rock music DJ, where the DJ is the band and each musician is the pad, knob or dial that executes the result. And it was executed perfectly. At set break, as people started getting really weird and the intensity grew larger and larger in the room, I spoke with several folks who commented on how well the mash-up idea was being presented, and how the risk was paying off in spades.

On November 11, 2016, Umphrey’s released ZONKEY, a studio album featuring 12 mashups the six-piece unveiled during Halloween concerts. A number of the mashups have made it into UM’s repertoire with “Bittersweet Haj” (The Verve/Umphrey’s McGee), “Come As Your Kids” (Nirvana/MGMT/Dead Or Alive), “Frankie Zombie” (White Zombie/Frankie Goes To Hollywood/Pink Floyd) and “Life During Exodus” (Talking Heads/Bob Marley/Frank Zappa) each played at least once in 2019.

The band went on to put the tradition to bed and honored Prince for their 2017 Halloween celebration in St. Paul, Minnesota. UM skipped Halloween last year but will play a special themed concert tonight at The Anthem in Washington D.C.

Setlist via All Things Umphreys

Set One: Higgins > The Triple Wide/Robot Rock[1] > Ocean Billy > Rainy Day Women #12 & 35[2] > Ocean Billy, Women Wine and Song > Utopian Fir > Gulf Stream > Utopian Fir, TNT/Paranoid/Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap[3]
Set Two: Phil’s 7 Nation Money Farm[4] > All In Time, Bridgeless > Miss Tinkle’s Overture -> Thunderstruck[5] > Miss Tinkle’s Overture[6], FF -> The Floor, Another Brick in the Wall/Thriller[7] -> Bridgeless
Encore: Hangover, Sad Clint Eastwood[8]

  • [1] debut; Umphrey’s McGee + Daft Punk mash-up; with Jamie Shields on keys and Darren Shearer on percussion
  • [2] debut, Bob Dylan
  • [3] debut, AC/DC + Black Sabbath mash-up with Bon Scotty Osbourne (Whitfield Crane) on vocals
  • [4] debut, Umphrey’s McGee + The White Stripes + Pink Floyd + Led Zeppelin mash-up
  • [5] partial
  • [6] with Thunderstruck (AC/DC) tease
  • [7] debut, Pink Floyd + Michael Jackson mash-up
  • [8] debut; Sad But True (Metallica) + Clint Eastwood (Gorillaz) mash-up

[Audio taped by Ian Stone.]

Pearl Jam
Oct 31, 2009

Costumes? Check. First time covers? Check. Rarely played bust outs? Check. Original debuts? Check.

If considering the usual suspects listed above that make Halloween shows special, the Pearl Jam concert on October 31, 2009, checked all the boxes. The band wore iconic yellow hazmat suits and plastic red hats while debuting a cover of Devo’s “Whip It.” Frontman Eddie Vedder also led the band through their first performances of “Pilate” since 2000 (a 284 show gap) and “Out Of My Mind” for the first time since 1994 (an even more impressive 515 show gap).

Vedder & Co. also offered the live debuts of the Vitalogy track “Bugs,” which has only been played once since, along with the Lost Dogs cut “Sweet Lew,” which has only been played twice since. All told, Pearl Jam played 41 songs during the marathon three-and-half-hour long performance. What was played that night was not the only aspect that gave the concert a considerable amount of significance.

Pearl Jam’s Halloween 2009 concert — the fourth of a four-night run — was also the final event held at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Opened in 1967, the Spectrum was the home of the Philadelphia 76ers NBA basketball team and the Flyers NHL hockey team. The Spectrum hosted many rock concerts as well, with the Grateful Dead holding the record with 53 shows at the since-razed arena.

Setlist via Livefootsteps.org

Set: Why Go, Last Exit, Corduroy, Severed Hand, The Fixer, Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, You Are, Amongst The Waves, Even Flow, Pilate, Unthought Known, Daughter, Another Brick In The Wall, Johnny Guitar, Rats, I’m Open, I Got Id, Glorified G, Out of My Mind, Black, Insignificance, Life Wasted
Encore One: Just Breathe, The End, Low Light, Speed of Sound, Jeremy, Inside Job, Bugs [1], Spin The Black Circle, Porch
Encore Two: Whip It [1], Got Some, Crown Of Thorns, Satan’s Bed, Sweet Lew [1], Do The Evolution, Better Man, Save It For Later, Smile, Alive, Rockin’ In The Free World, Yellow Ledbetter

  • [1] Live debut
  • Daughter contained It’s Ok and Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2) tags
  • Better Man contained a Save it for Later tag
  • Yellow Ledbetter contained a Star-Spangled Banner tag

Oct 31, 2009

When Phish returned from a second hiatus in March 2009 it was unclear if the musical costume tradition had been retired. On Halloween 1998, Phish covered The Velvet Underground’s Loaded (and two days later surprised fans by covering Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon), but they did not play Halloween in 1999 or 2000, and after their first hiatus, Phish did not play Halloween in 2003 or 2004 before beginning the aforementioned second hiatus.

Phish brought back the musical costume in 2009 as part of their Festival 8. Leading up to the event, the Phish website one-by-one counted down from a list of 99 potential musical costume albums. The band’s lone West Coast festival, held at Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, California on October 30, 31 and November 1, featured a complete performance of The Rolling Stones’ classic album Exile On Main Street.

Here’s an excerpt of JamBase’s coverage in 2009, reviewed by Brian Bavosa:

Joined onstage for the set by soul singer Sharon Jones (The Dap-Kings), David Gray (trumpet), David Smith (trombone), Tony Jarvis (sax) and Saundra Williams (vocals), Phish donned its musical costume and delivered a two-hour experience that defied expectations.

From the opening one-two combo of “Rocks Off” and “Rip This Joint,” something at Festival 8 seemed to change instantaneously; in band, in crowd, and in the holy spirits that certainly swirled around us. Building momentum at a breakneck pace, the night turned a corner during the raucous “Tumbling Dice,” and the slow, beautiful twang of “Sweet Virginia” that found [drummer Jon] Fishman on vocals with the crowd singing along in perfect harmony, especially to the line, “Got to scrape that shit right off your shoe.”

Arguably the strongest song of the set was “Torn and Frayed.” Around the mid-point of the album, it was here that Phish finally made Exile its own. Built around the first big Trey [Anastasio] jam of the night, it was hard to not see some of Anastasio in this story of a rock ‘n’ roller struggling with the life he’s chosen, “but never more than one great lick away from redemption” as [Rolling Stone journalist David] Fricke explained. This is the story of Phish’s past decade. Stardom. Pressure. Addiction. Failure. Redemption. Exile was Phish’s “one great lick” on Halloween.

The ninth track, “Loving Cup” was first covered by the band in ’93, at the very first show that [keyboardist Page] McConnell debuted his baby grand, and it has been a staple ever since. Highlighted by the guest horns and a valiant effort by each member, this take rivaled any single version of this tune over the past 16 years.

Many of the songs on the album had rarely, if ever, been played live by The Stones, making them all the more special on this occasion. The crude “Turd On The Run,” and slow cooked “Let it Loose,” were two such examples. With no road map except the album versions to go from, Phish was able to play these songs in their traditional sense, while adding swirling piano chords and sprawling fretwork by Anastasio, who played out of his head all night.

Phish was not only playing this costume but actually living it with each and every note. By the time “Shine A Light” rolled around, many in the audience had goose-bumps and shouted along to the choir-like epiphany of, “May the good lord shine a light on you/ Make every song you sing your favorite tune.” Phish was doing exactly that, with every song off the album executed near perfection and played with a sense of joy and vigor that radiated throughout the audience.

Exile On Main Street will rank with the best cover albums Phish has ever played. While the title of the album speaks of being in Exile, Phish continued their return to glory with this set.

Since performing Exile, Phish has used Halloween to cover David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, Little Feat’s Waiting For Columbus and Disney’s Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House.

They also “covered themselves” with Wingsuit (which became the album Fuego) in 2013 and last year pulled off the stunt of covering Kasvot Växt – a fictitious Scandinavian band whose false backstory was elaborately orchestrated by Phish.

Railroad Earth
Oct 30, 2011

[Video Credit: PaesanoProductions]

Since 2011, Halloween for Railroad Earth fans means Hangtown. That year Railroad Earth hosted the inaugural Hangtown Halloween Ball (now called Hangtown Music Festival) at El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville, California.

Held annually ever since, Hangtown’s first installment took place on October 28 – 30 and RRE played each of the three nights. On opening night the band performed an improvised score to the classic silent horror film, Nosferatu.

[Audio taped by Lou Gearing, Monkey Tunes Music.]

The next night, Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann sat-in with Railroad Earth. Billy, who was on the Hangtown 2011 lineup with his 7 Walkers project, joined RRE on a second drum kit for “Elko” and stuck around for a subsequent cover of the Dead’s “Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo.” That set also saw Bonnie Paine and Daniel Rodriguez of fellow Hangtown performers Elephant Revival sit-in on “Bird In A House.”

[Audio taped by Pete Gilmore, Monkey Tunes Music.]

Railroad Earth closed out the first Hangtown with two headlining sets on the third and final night. They capped the second set with a closing cover of “Gallows Pole,” marking its debut performance by Railroad Earth.

[Audio taped by Pete Gilmore, Monkey Tunes Music.]

Railroad Earth returned to El Dorado County Fairgrounds for the 2019 Hangtown Music Festival. The band was joined between October 27 – 29 in Placerville by Dark Star Orchestra, The Wood Brothers, The Lil Smokies, Anders Osborne, Cory Wong, Steve Poltz, Joe Craven & The Sometimers, Lindsay Lou and more.

Greensky Bluegrass
Oct 31, 2011

Greensky Bluegrass will celebrate Halloween tonight with the “Totally Bitchin’ ’80s Halloween Party, Part Three” at the Chicago Theatre in Chicago. The band first used the “Totally Bitchin’ ’80s Halloween Party” theme for a performance at Boulder’s Fox Theatre on October 31, 2011, and revived the theme the following year on October 31, 2012 at The Independent in San Francisco. As the name implies, Greensky fit plenty of ’80s covers into their setlists at each past “Totally Bitchin”80s Dance Party” and are expected to do the same in 2019.

While the 2012 “Totally Bitchin’ ’80s Dance Party” featured all covers until the “Don’t Lie” encore, Greensky tossed in the occasional original in Boulder on October 31, 2011. Take a look at an excerpt from a past JamBase article discussing GSBG’s first “Totally Bitchin’ ’80s Dance Party”:

The ’80s covers Greensky Bluegrass filled the show with songs spanning a wide range of genres from the roots-rock of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” to the hip-hop of Young MC’s “Bust A Move” to the pop-rock of Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like The Wolf” to the hard rock of ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man.” Greensky also mixed in a few originals such as “Tarpology” and “Break Mountain Brokedown.” Dead fans will also appreciate the group’s take on “West L.A. Fadeaway,” while Greensky honored Prince with “When Doves Cry.”

“Thriller,” “Hungry Like The Wolf,” “West L.A. Fadeaway,” “Ghostbusters Theme Song,” “Eye Of The Tiger,” “Atlantic City,” “Who Can It Be Now?” and “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” were all Greensky debuts on Halloween 2011. Most of those songs were retired after that night or after a few plays, but Greensky’s cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City” became a setlist staple and has been performed over 170 times per Phantasy Tour.


Set One: Thriller (Michael Jackson) > Beat It (Michael Jackson), Hungry Like A Wolf (Duran Duran), Bust A Move (Young MC) > Break Mountain Brokedown (Greensky) > West LA Fadeaway (Grateful Dead), Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top), When Doves Cry (Prince), Ghostbusters (Ray Parker Jr.) > New Rize Hill (Greensky) > Can’t Stop Now (New Grass Revival)
Set Two: Eye Of The Tiger (Survivor), Young Turks (Rod Stewart), Little Red Corvette (Prince) > Shuckin’ The Corn (Traditional) > Little Red Corvette (Prince), Atlantic City (The Band), Who Can It Be Now (Men At Work), Driving My Life Away (Eddie Rabbit), Tarpology (Greensky) > One Slip (Pink Floyd) > Tarpology (Greensky)
Encore: Every Rose Has Its Thorn (Poison)

[Audio taped by Phil Rollins.]

Phil Lesh & Friends
Oct 31, 2013

This year, for the first time since 2013, Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh will not celebrate Halloween at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. Lesh, who received a “Key To The Village Of Port Chester” from the city’s Trustee and Deputy Mayor Luis Marino on Halloween in 2017, was set to hold his annual Phil-O-Ween run over three nights at The Cap, but extra time needed to recover from a minor back surgery forced the 79=year-old to cancel his Phil Lesh & Friends concerts. Grateful Dead tribute act Dark Star Orchestra was tapped to “Phil” in tonight.

According to The Capitol Theatre, the 2013 Halloween Phil & Friends among the 79 most memorable Lesh moments at the storied venue. The theatre’s website states:

This is the first show of Phil’s now famous “Phil-O-Ween” concert series. This would go on to become an annual event where Phil would come to The Cap and perform a Halloween themed show with various musical friends. Below is an incredible fan video from the front row that shows Phil and Friends performing “Who Do You Love/Not Fade Away.”

[Video credit: Jim Homon]

Joining Lesh for the 2013 run was his son, guitarist Grahame Lesh, along with guitarists Anders Osborne and Luther Dickinson, multi-instrumentalist Jason Crosby and drummer Tony Leone. Guitarist Larry Campbell and vocalist Teresa Williams also participated throughout the night.

The concert was Phil’s Fall Tour 2013 opener, and prior to the 12-date jaunt Lesh revealed the band would “be integrating exciting thematic elements into each performance … it could be an album, a band, or some special unique thread that PLF will weave into the tapestry of each set.” Halloween’s theme was The Band’s landmark debut album, Music From Big Pink. A total of five songs from the 1968 LP were played at The Cap, including “Caledonia Mission” and “The Weight” in the first set, “We Can Talk” in the second set and an encore made up of “Long Black Veil” and “Chest Fever.”

When the band took the stage after setbreak, a person wearing a terrapin costume assumed Lesh’s place onstage while holding Phil’s bass. The terrapin “played” with the band for the opening “Who Do You Love” before Lesh tapped in ahead of a segue into “Not Fade Away” (as seen in the video above).

Setlist via Philzone.org

Set One: Big Railroad Blues, Caledonia Mission, Walkin Blues, The Weight, Brown Eyed Women, And It Stoned Me, Deal
Set Two: Who Do You Love > Not Fade Away, We Can Talk > The Wheel > Two Trains Running > Scarlet Begonias, The Other One (PL), Rollin’ and Tumblin’, Cortez the Killer > Fire on the Mountain
Encore: (Donor Rap) Long Black Veil, Chest Fever

[Audio taped by JT/NY.]

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead
Oct 31, 2015

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead is best known for their well-jammed versions of songs from the Grateful Dead’s live repertoire, but the band often inserts covers of material from other artists into their setlists. The quintet did just that on October 31, 2015, at The Ritz in Raleigh, North Carolina. JRAD debuted a cover of Neil Young’s “Vampire Blues” on Halloween 2015 as well as renditions of three Radiohead songs.

The concert still stands as JRAD’s only Halloween show. Drummer Joe Russo handled vocals on “Vampire Blues” which came within the first set. Almost Dead has since covered the song from Neil Young’s 1974 album On The Beach four more times with the most recent play taking place on March 14, 2019 per Setlist.FM.

The first Radiohead cover played in Raleigh was the title track from the group’s sophomore studio album, The Bends. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead performed “The Bends” again on October 12, 2017 and August 16, 2018. A few songs later, the quintet unveiled their take on “Killer Cars” which also appears on The Bends and has yet to be played a second time by JRAD. The tribute act also covered “Myxomatosis” off Radiohead’s Hail To The Thief, a song that made its way into a number of Benevento/Russo Duo performances and was revived by Almost Dead on November 26, 2016.

Here’s a recap of the show that ran on JamBase:

Joe Russo, Marco Benevento, Scott Metzger, Dave Dreiwitz and Tom Hamilton took the stage dressed as ’80s Bob Weir right down to the trademark jorts. The five-piece opened with “Promised Land” and then dug into “Playing In The Band.” Later in the first set, Almost Dead debuted their version of “Vampire Blues” by Neil Young just before a triumphant, 40+ minute “Throwing Stones” > “Terrapin Station” sequence.

The five-piece kicked off the second set with “St. Stephen” and quickly segued into the first of three Radiohead covers within the closing stanza – “The Bends.” Russo and his mates alternated expertly between GD and Radiohead songs as “Uncle John’s Band” led into “Killer Cars” and “Shakedown Street” gave way to “Myxomatosis.” For the encore, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead played the traditional Dead Halloween encore of “Werewolves Of London.”


Set One: Promised Land, Playing In The Band > Reuben & Cerise > Vampire Blues > Throwing Stones > Terrapin Station
Set Two: St. Stephen > The Bends > The Wheel > Uncle John’s Band > Killer Cars > Shakedown Street > Myxomatosis > Cumberland Blues, One More Saturday Night
Encore: Werewolves Of London

[Audio taped by Robbie Dunn.]

Dead & Company
Oct 31, 2015

[Video Credit: sgibson818]

When initially announced, Dead & Company‘s first concert was scheduled on Halloween in 2015 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The band comprising Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann along with guitarist John Mayer, bassist Oteil Burbridge and keyboardist Jeff Chimenti ended up holding their first show in Albany, New York on October 29, 2015.

Weir, Hart and Kreutzmann confirmed Dead & Company’s lineup one month after the five Grateful Dead 50th anniversary Fare Thee Well concerts held in the summer of 2015 that included Chimenti, as well as Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, former Dead keyboardist Bruce Hornsby and Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio (Phish bassist Mike Gordon considered joining Dead & Co. but ultimately backed out).

Here’s a portion of JamBase’s review written by Scott Bernstein:

Dead & Company, performing in public for the second time following Thursday night in Albany, continued to gel as Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann teamed with bassist Oteil Burbridge, keyboardist Jeff Chimenti and guitarist John Mayer on Halloween night at a venue the Dead sold out 52 times between 1979 and 1994. Mayer’s time at “Grateful Dead University” over the past six months paid huge dividends, while Burbridge brought a more “in-the-pocket” sensibility to the music of the Dead and Weir was in fine form after taking more than a year off from the road …

While some Deadheads voiced disappointment in the selection of Mayer in the days after the lineup for Dead & Company was publicly announced, none of the musicians on stage received bigger cheers from the crowd than the guitarist. John earned the hoots and hollers thanks to a near-flawless evening as he’s developed a sound that mixes his trademark tone with the tones that [Jerry] Garcia perfected over the last few decades of his life. Mayer shined brightly on “Morning Dew,” nailed the vibe and tone of “Estimated Prophet” and left many jaws on the floor with the rapid-fire licks he laid down on songs such as “Deal,” “Eyes Of The World” and “China”/”Rider.” The Connecticut native’s voice fits Jerry songs well and he channeled Warren Zevon with aplomb on the traditional Grateful Dead Halloween cover of “Werewolves Of London,” the evening’s lone encore …

Oteil Burbridge seems to be getting comfortable with a canon of material that he hasn’t played often in his career, so it will be interesting to watch how his playing and approach progresses over the course of the next few months. The bassist found the pocket on nearly every tune and received one of the night’s biggest ovations following a sensational solo in “Eyes Of The World.” At times Oteil played a four-string bass, but for most of the evening, he used his usual Modulus six-string. There were a number of times he’d pick up on something one of his bandmates was playing which would quickly get their attention and garner huge smiles. After the first set was over, Mayer immediately walked over to Burbridge and gave him a huge hug as if to say, “wow, you are the real deal” …

In Albany, tempo was a big story of the night as many songs were played at a slower pace than typical GD versions. Perhaps it was the setlist in NYC, but the pacing of each song didn’t seem to drag and the tempos weren’t noticeably different from what Deadheads have come to expect. Jeff Chimenti seemed unchained at MSG as he wailed away on grand piano, Brent Mydland’s Hammond organ, synth and Rhodes. It appeared Chimenti didn’t want to step on Bruce Hornsby’s toes with Fare Thee Well, but last night he crushed every solo he was offered. Jeff is underrated as a backing vocalist and one surprising aspect of the night was how tight and powerful the backing vocals were.

Less than a year ago Bill Kreutzmann began his return to the stage following a few slow years after he folded 7 Walkers. The rust Billy showed last December and at the start of 2015 was a thing of the past as he provided a firm rhythmic foundation at Madison Square Garden. Mickey Hart let Kreutzmann do the heavy lifting and was content to throw fills into the mix at a less aggressive level than he did with Fare Thee Well. Hart shined brightest on “Drums” as he helped deliver a dance-friendly start to the segment and later provided the backbone for “Space” by strumming “The Beam.”

The weeks of rehearsals Dead & Company put in before tour was evident. These six musicians will continue to mesh as the tour progresses, but the sextet has already set the bar high just two shows into their debut run. Another impressive aspect of the evening was the production. The lights were strong yet tasteful and the band’s team utilized a giant Steal Your Face logo effectively by working animations into the skull such as a truck driving down a road in “Truckin’” and left the Mets logo within the skull during setbreak. Dead & Company return to Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

Dead & Co. continues to tour, having staged several tours since their appearance at MSG in 2015. The band returns to the Garden tonight for their second Halloween show at the storied NYC arena.

Setlist via Otherones.net

Set One: Jam > Jack Straw > New Speedway Boogie, Brown-Eyed Women, Ramble On Rose, Althea, Cassidy, Deal
Set Two: Jam > Truckin > Wang Dang Doodle > Truckin > Estimated Prophet > Lady with a Fan > Terrapin > Drums > Space > China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider > Morning Dew > One More Saturday Night
Encore: Werewolves of London

Yonder Mountain String Band
Oct 31, 2015

In April 2014, Yonder Mountain String Band mandolinist, the late Jeff Austin, announced his departure from the jamgrass group he co-founded. One year and one month later the band officially added fiddler Allie Kral and mandolin player the lineup that included banjo player Dave Johnston, guitarist and bassist Ben Kaufmann.

The new lineup’s first album, Black Sheep, came out in June 2015 and contained a cover of “Ever Fallen In Love” by British punk rock icons Buzzcocks. Months later, YMSB held their first Halloween concert after expanding to a quintet. The five-piece took the stage at LC Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio but it was not a typically delivered YMSB show as fans in attendance actually saw YMPB instead.

Yonder Mountain Punk Band was the theme for Halloween 2015. Before the show, the band shared a video and message which stated:

Halloween is that one time of the year where you really get to be whoever you want. Well, Yonder Mountain String Band isn’t going to miss out on this opportunity to switch it up and manifest our inner-punk, so without further ado, we give you YONDER MOUNTAIN PUNK BAND!

Yonder took fan votes on potential YMPB covers, which they previewed by revealing three of the winning songs they planned to cover were “Jesus & Tequila” by Minutemen, “Safe European Home” by The Clash and “I Don’t Want to Hear It” by Minor Threat. With the band dressed in their roughest punk attire and the stage decorated with similar grittiness, YMPB opened the first set with “Ever Fallen In Love.”

The three prior-named winning songs were covered during a two-set performance that also included Decendents’ “Clean Sheets” and “Hope,” Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation,” The Misfits “20 Eyes,” Sex Pistols’ “Holidays In The Sun” and Dead Kennedys’ “Kill The Poor,” among several others.

Setlist via YMSB PT

Set One: Ever Fallen In Love, Insult And An Elbow, Bad Reputation, Clean Sheets, Holland 1945, I’ve Got A Name, Troubled Mind > 20 Eyes > Troubled Mind, Holidays in the Sun, Safe European Home, Angel > Nausea > Angel
Set Two: All Aboard > Jesus And Tequila, The End Is Not In Sight, Kill The Poor, Joe McCarthy’s Ghost > I Don’t Wanna Hear It, Damned If The Right One Didn’t Go Wrong, Spanish Bombs, Blue Collar Blues > Wheel Hoss > Blue Collar Blues, Hope, Only A Northern Song > It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City > Only A Northern Song
Encore: Shit Yer Pants, Rambler’s Anthem, Black Sheep

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
Oct 31, 2015

It need not be Halloween for Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe to embrace wearing costumes or playing themed shows. The band has used Halloween and other occasions to perform tributes concerts honoring Beastie Boys, Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, The Allman Brothers Band and Prince, among others.

Denson discussed past KDTU theme shows during his The Art Of The Sit-In JamBase interview. Here’s what he told Chad Berndtson in May 2015:

JAMBASE: One thing fans bring up a lot is the Tiny Universe theme shows. You’ve done the Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones. It seems like there are fans that love these and some that are wishing you guys were more regularly doing the straight Tiny Universe stuff. What’s your response to that?

Karl Denson: From experience, I think those fans are in the minority. There’s plenty of opportunity to see us do our straight Tiny Universe thing. For most of our fans — particularly the regulars I hang out with when I go from city to city — they get super excited about these little random things we do. I think I’m often less excited than they are. I do get a little antsy, especially now when I’ve been trying to write for the better part of the last year. If we do 150 shows a year, and 40 of them have to be some kind of special thing, that does take away from new material. So I get a little antsy. But for a band like us, it’s kind of a necessary evil.

In August 2015, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe performed as the fictitious band Sexual Chocolate for a set at the Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco. Denson appeared as a member of Sexual Chocolate in the 1988 comedy starring Eddie Murphy, Coming To America. KDTU’s OSL set wasn’t the first time the band masqueraded as Sexual Chocolate, having done so a few times prior, including on Halloween in 2004. Con Brio frontman Ziek McCarter handled vocal duties at Outside Lands on songs from Coming To America and more.

A few months later, on October 31, 2015, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe again teamed with McCarter for a concert honoring Prince. Mere months before The Purple One’s untimely death in April 2016, KDTU’s tribute took place on Halloween night at Brooklyn Bowl in New York City. Here’s previous JamBase coverage related to the video above:

Back on Halloween, saxophonist Karl Denson rounded up Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and special guest vocalist Ziek McCarter of Con Brio for a tribute to Prince at Brooklyn Bowl in NYC. KDTU and Ziek wound up rolling through all of The Purple One’s severely underrated Dirty Mind LP for the October 31st performance and now professionally-shot video of the set has been shared on YouTube by nugs.net.

The video [above] starts with KDTU and McCarter performing each and every song off Dirty Mind including the title track, “Uptown,” “Head” and “Partyup.” Following a brief encore break, the ensemble returns to play “I Wanna Be Your Lover” from Prince’s 1979 self-titled LP as well as “Soul Glo” from the 1988 film Coming To America


Set One: Power Of Soul, Gold Mine, s1t04, Monk Strap, s1t06, Smart Boy, You’re A Wonderful One[1], My Baby Likes to Boogaloo
Set Two: Dirty Mind[1], When You Were Mine[1], Do It All Night[1], Gotta Broken Heart Again[1], Uptown[1], Head[1] -> Sister[1] -> Partyup[1]
Encore: I Wanna Be Your Lover[1], Soul Glo[1]
[1] with Ziek McCarter

Widespread Panic
Oct 31, 2015

Halloween for Widespread Panic means bust outs, cover debuts and costumes in a tradition that dates back to 1987 but really, hit a stride in 1992. On October 31, 1992, WSP debuted a take on Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain” and dusted off covers of “Black Sabbath,” “Last Dance,” “Lawyers, Guns & Money,” “Sweet Leaf” and “Werewolves Of London” as part of their festivities at the Georgia Theatre in their hometown of Athens.

Widespread Panic fans have circled the date on their calendars ever since and the band delivered in a big way on October 31, 2015, when they turned the stage at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, North Carolina into a recreation of Mayberry. Mayberry is the fictional city in North Carolina that served as the setting for famed television sitcom The Andy Griffith Show.

Not only was the U.S. Cellular Center stage designed as a replica of Mayberry, but band members dressed as characters from the show. Those watching on couch tour viewed a webcast streamed live in black-and-white to keep with the theme. As usual, WSP kept cover debuts coming throughout the night and treated fans to bust outs of the fitting “Journey Through The Past” and “Postcard.” Steep Canyon Rangers’ fiddler Nicky Sanders sat-in with the sextet at various points of both sets and throughout the encore.

Check out a portion of a recap of Panic’s Halloween 2015 show penned by JamBase’s Scott Bernstein:

After opening with a series of staples, Sanders emerged for the first cover debut of the evening, “Dooley,” a song by The Dillards which was performed on The Andy Griffith Show. Nicky stuck around for a “Driving Song” sequence that included another Dillards tune which was played on Andy Griffith – “There Is A Time.” Later in the set JB led a rendition of The Andy Griffith Show’s theme song, “The Fishin’ Hole.”

Last night’s second set started off with a triple dose of Pink Floyd covers. First up was the Widespread Panic debut of “Have A Cigar.” From there, WSP dusted off “Wish You Were Here” and debuted “Young Lust.” The rest of the closing stanza focused on originals with the first-ever Panic “I Shot The Sheriff” thrown in for good measure. Sanders came back out for the “Expiration Day” set closer. The Georgia rockers closed out the show with a three-song encore featuring Nicky on bust outs “Journey Through The Past” and “Postcard” as well as the debut of Sonny Curtis’s “I Fought The Law.”

Setlist via Everyday Companion

Set One: Ain’t Life Grand > Jam > Bust It Big > All Time Low, I’m Not Alone, Space Wrangler, Dooley*, Driving Song* > There Is A Time* > Jam* > Driving Song* > Dream Song*, The Fishin’ Hole, Love Tractor*
Set Two: Have A Cigar, Wish You Were Here, Young Lust, Bowlegged Woman, Angels Don’t Sing The Blues, Jack, Proving Ground, One Kind Favor > Drums > Jam, I Shot The Sheriff > North, Expiration Day
Encore: Journey Through The Past*, Postcard*, I Fought The Law*
* with Nicky Sanders on fiddle
[Only ‘Dooley’, Only ‘Have A Cigar’, Only ‘I Fought The Law’, Only ‘I Shot The Sheriff’, Only ‘The Fishin’ Hole’, First ‘There Is A Time’, Only ‘Young Lust’; Andy Griffith Show stage theme; ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ tease by Dave after ‘Drums’]

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
Oct 31, 2015

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong generally haven’t kept their Halloween festivities to just one night. The band announces a theme ahead of time that usually includes music from multiple bands such as 2018’s “Dead Hot Sergeant Peppers” in which they mixed covers of songs by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beatles and the Grateful Dead with originals over the course of four shows.

Other past themes have included “R.I.P.P.P.P. A Tribute To Musicians We Have Lost” in 2017, “A Tribute To The Letter P” in 2016 and “Dead Zeppelin” in 2015. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s “Dead Zeppelin” run, featuring Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin covers, started in New York City on October 29, continued in Washington D.C. on October 30 and came to a close on Halloween in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The quartet’s Halloween 2015 performance at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre saw the members of the band dress as skeletons. After opening with their own “Walk Outside,” complete with “Scarlet Begonias” teases, PPPP treated fans to a 20-minute medley of “No Quarter” > “Help On The Way” > “Slipknot!” > “Black Dog” > “Slipknot!” > “Kashmir” > “The Ocean” > “Slipknot!” > “Franklin’s Tower.” Pigeons then performed “Melting Lights” before using “Horizon” to bookend a medley that featured portions of the Dead’s “Eyes Of The World” and Led Zeppelin classics “Fool In The Rain” and “D’yer Maker.”

Pigeons’ October 31, 2015, show was a co-headlining affair with Big Something and the quartet honored the other band on the bill by performing a cover of Big Something’s “Vibrations” within their own “Funk E Zekiel.” Next up was another inventive medley that typifies what Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Halloween concerts are all about as they linked “Moby Dick” with “Heartbreaker,” “Good Lovin’,” “One More Saturday Night,” “Lemon Song” and “Whole Lotta Love.”

PPPP closed out the memorable Halloween performance by working “Spacejam” into “The Hop,” which bled into an “FU” finale. The 2019 theme “Stop Making Cake” in tribute to Talking Heads and Cake will be presented in Boston on October 31, in New York City on November 1 and in New Haven on November 2.

Setlist via PT PPPP

Set: Walk Outside [1], No Quarter [2] > Help On the Way > Slipknot > Black Dog > Slipknot [3] > Kashmir > The Ocean > Slipknot > Franklin’s Tower > Melting Lights > Horizon [2] > Eyes of the World > Horizon > Fool in the Rain > D’yer Mak’er > Fool in the Rain > Horizon, Julia, Funk E Zekiel > Vibrations [4] > Funk E Zekiel > Moby Dick [5] > Heartbreaker > Good Lovin’ > Heartbreaker [6] > One More Saturday Night > Lemon Song [7] > Whole Lotta Love > Spacejam > The Hop > F.U.

  • [1] – with Scarlet Begonias tease
  • [2] – Intro only
  • [3] – with Living Loving Maid, Moby Dick and Heartbreaker teases
  • [4] – FTP
  • [5] – with Heartbreaker teases
  • [6] – with Moby Dick ending
  • [7] – Solo only

[Audio taped by Marty Loving.]

The Motet
Oct 31, 2015

Funk collective The Motet paid tribute to a different artist for each Halloween run in their home state of Colorado from 2000 – 2012 including Prince in 2004, Madonna in 2006, Talking Heads in 2008 and the Grateful Dead in 2011. The band changed up the tradition in 2013 by presenting “Mixtape 1980” in which they performed songs originally released in the year 1980. “Mixtape 1975” followed in 2014 and then in 2015, The Motet took their Halloween celebration of “Mixtape 1977” on the road for the first time. The Motet ended the four-night “Mixtape 1977” run through the Midwest with a sold-out show at the Park West in Chicago.

The run marked the end of an era for the band, who would soon part ways with longtime frontman Jans Ingber and conclude the Halloween tradition with “Mixtape 1979” in 2016. Ingber was still on hand for “Mixtape 1977,” which saw The Motet dress in threads from the ’70s and focus on performances of songs from 1977 with the occasional original thrown in for good measure.

Check out a portion of a recap penned for JamBase by Scott Bernstein:

The ensemble mixed material from many genres along with originals in The Windy City. Bob Marley’s “Natural Mystic,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by Thelma Houston, Pink Floyd’s “Pigs” and “Got To Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye were among the songs from 1977 performed in the first set. The second set included The Motet’s takes on Heatwave’s “Boogie Nights,” “Best Of My Love” by The Emotions, The Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle,” Steely Dan’s “Peg” and other classics from the year 1977. The band wrapped up the night with an encore featuring “fFUN” and Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song).”


Set One: Brother Man > Flashlight, Real Mother For Ya > Serpentine, Natural Mystic > Exodus, Jupiter, Don’t Leave Me This Way, Pigs, Night Fever > Got To Give It Up
Set Two: Boogie Nights, Funkify, Best Of My Love > Disco Inferno, Fly Like An Eagle, Funk Factory, Strawberry Letter 23, Peg > Bop Gun > Still Feels Good
Encore: Movin’ Out, fFUN

[Audio taped by wattsananda.]

Oct 31, 2017

Spafford revisited several of their past Halloween performances during their first set of their concert last Friday in Denver. The Arizona-based quartet busted out the Halloween movie theme and the Legend Of Zelda theme for the first time since October 31, 2014, as well as Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” for the first time since October 31, 2015 and the Ghostbusters Theme for the first time since October 29, 2016. Spafford also busted out “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” for the first time since October 31, 2017, as part of the set that utilized the previous one-timers as launching pads for extended jams.

Halloween 2017 saw Spafford host a Lion King themed concert at Parish at House of Blues in New Orleans. Here’s how JamBase previously reported on the show that featured special guest Matisyahu:

Bassist Jordan Fairless dressed as a giraffe, keyboardist Red Johnson wore a panda costume, guitarist Brian Moss was a crocodile and drummer Cameron Laforest chose to be a lemur. Crew members were each costumed as zoo keepers.

Spafford opened with their debut cover of The Tokens’ “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” featuring their first ever version of Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock” within as well as their own “Windmill.” Next up was a “People” with a lyric change to mention “pandas.” Then, reggae star Matisyahu emerged to add to “Leave The Light On” ahead of “Space Gadget” and a cover debut of “Bare Necessities” from Jungle Book.

The quartet opened the second set with a debut cover of Beck’s “Fucking With My Head” along with their own “In The Eyes Of The Thieves.” From there, Spafford played “Simon & Lily” and worked a “Lion Sleeps Tonight” reprise within “Weasel.” The frame concluded with “Backdoor Funk” and “Salamander Funk.” For the encore, Spafford fit “Hakuna Matata” [from The Lion King] into “All In.”

Setlist (via Spaffnerds)

Set One: The Lion Sleeps Tonight [1] > Crocodile Rock [1] > The Lion Sleeps Tonight > Windmill [2], People [3], Leave The Light On [4], Space Gadget, Bear Necessities [1]
Set Two: Fucking With My Head [1], In The Eyes Of Thieves, Simon & Lily, Weasel [2], Backdoor Funk, Salamander Song
Encore: All In > Hakuna Matata [1] > All In

  • [1] First Time Played
  • [2] The Lion Sleeps Tonight quotes
  • [3] Lyric change – Pandas
  • [4] With Matisyahu, The Lion Sleeps Tonight quotes

[Audio taped by teamikoiko.]