Phish Covers David Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’ Album On Halloween In Las Vegas – Setlist, Video & The Skinny
Phish renewed a Halloween tradition by donning a musical costume during their show in Las Vegas Monday night. The band utilized a number of special guests to perform a memorable and sincere cover of David Bowie’s 1972 album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars as the second of three sets performed at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Ending a trend of the prior three nights in Sin City, Phish didn’t pull from the second set of their 2014 Halloween show for the opener, instead inserting “Carini” into the slot for the first time in 16 years. Guitarist Trey Anastasio altered the lyrics to reference his colorful shirt, which was also worn when the band recently appeared on The Tonight Show, and then proceeded to lead the quartet through several minutes of intense jamming. Page McConnell triggered samples and worked the organ on “Your Pet Cat” – a song that was debuted in the same venue exactly two years ago. The quartet’s classic “AC/DC Bag” popped along and made an instant transition into the start of “Free,” which soon found Mike Gordon offering a series of thundering runs. Longtime staple “Possum” kept a lively pace with its typically straightforward blues-rock.
Simmering instrumental “What’s The Use” continued its welcomed renaissance before a rendition of “Wombat” – the funky tune debuted with a cameo by late actor Abe Vigoda on Halloween 2013. Drummer Jon Fishman drove the punchy “Tube” that kept the set moving along at an enthusiastic pace. A particularly peppy “Wolfman’s Brother” worked into a short-lived portion of grooving group interplay before being reeled in. One of the shortest songs in the band’s repertoire, Fish’s “Ass Handed,” was backed by one of their lengthiest, Anastasio’s Big Boat opus “Petrichor.” Dependable set closer “Run Like An Antelope” got another altered lyric from Trey as he asked “Been you to have any shirt?”
Following a wardrobe change for everyone but Fish, the second set began with the foursome trading verses on “Five Years” with Trey on an acoustic guitar propped on a stand and a six-piece string section on stage helping to kick off the musical costume set. Anastasio swung his electric Languedoc behind his back and played acoustic at the start of the second track on The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, with vocalists Jennifer Hartswick, Jo Lampert and Celisse Henderson joining in on the Page-sung “Soul Love.” The ensemble then followed Anastasio through “Moonage Daydream” as the guitarist ripped a solo while the vocalists and strings harmonized behind him.
“Starman” saw Mike earnestly singing lead and Trey again switching from acoustic to electric. The guitarist then put down his instrument and grabbed the microphone to go full on frontman while passionately taking lead on “It Ain’t Easy.” Page was in charge of singing “Lady Stardust” which featured just the quartet on stage and Trey once again on acoustic. Making their way through the second side of the LP, Fish counted off “Star” and was backed by the trio of singers while handling vocals on the sharp rocker. The guest vocalists shined on the romping “Hang On To Yourself” that featured Anastasio letting loose on electric guitar. Page joined Trey at the center of the stage for the triumphant debut of “Ziggy Stardust,” the two at times sharing a mic. The backing singers were back for the lively penultimate song of the album and set, “Suffragette City.” The strings – Sylvia D’Avanzo, Alisa Horn, Hiroko Taguchi, Todd Low, Antoine Silverman and Alissa Smith – reemerged for the second set finale, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide,” that was also presented by Anastasio on vocals without his guitar.
The third set got underway with a take on “46 Days” that developed into a concise jam led by Gordon’s melodic passages. “Sand” was called up next and soon an improvisation propagated around Trey’s gritty tone, Page’s work on the Clavinet and the rhythm section propelling the action along. Eventually the foursome locked into a melodic theme and centered on it for several joyful minutes leading Trey to ring in the opening strums of “Twist.” Gordon got in front of the “Twist” jam, employing a variety of effects before the foursome congregated at Fish’s kit. Trey played the Marimba Lumina during a full band drums breakdown and eventually directed the percussive segment back to something that resembled “Twist.”
After four nights in Vegas and it was then time for the “Meatstick,” loaded with typically choreographed moves and Japanese lyrics. During the subsequent spacey “2001” Trey interjected some of Bowie’s “Fame” into the tightly wound build up to the song’s patiently cultivated climax. The jolly rocker “Backwards Down The Number Line” took a few moments to get going and was capped by a take-charge solo from Anastasio. A dramatic execution of “Slave To The Traffic Light” brought the third set to a close. The encore was Phish’s a cappella take on Bowie’s “Space Oddity” – an arrangement debuted by the group earlier this year at Wrigley Field.
Watch official footage of the first song of each set in the three videos below:
MGM Grand Garden Arena [See upcoming shows]
7 shows — 10/31/2014, 11/01/2014, 11/02/2014, 10/28/2016, 10/29,2016, 10/30/2016
12 songs / 8:09 pm to 9:39 pm (90 minutes)
11 songs / 10:06 pm to 10:52 pm (46 minutes)
9 songs / 11:24 pm to 12:40 am (76 minutes)
32 songs / 19 originals / 13 covers
22.05 [Gap chart]
The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
Wombat, The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, Drums
Space Oddity - 17 show gap (LTP 08/26/2016)
Petrichor - 15:30
Ass Handed - 2:02
Lawn Boy - 1,Hoist - 1, Billy Breathes - 1, Farmhouse - 2, Round Room - 1, Joy - 1, Fuego - 1, Big Boat - 1, Misc. - 10, Covers - 13
68° and Clear At Show Time
Phish From The Road Photos
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