Phish Issues Halloween Show Playbill Heralding Performance Of ‘Ziggy Stardust’ By David Bowie

By Scott Bernstein Oct 31, 2016 6:02 pm PDT

We’re just about two hours away from the start of Phish‘s Halloween show at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Fans have been waiting for doors to open for word of which album the quartet will perform as their second set in Sin City tonight. Well that time has come as the first pictures of the Playbill distributed to concertgoers have surfaced. If the Playbill is to be believed Phish will cover The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars by David Bowie as this year’s musical costume.

David Bowie released The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars in 1972. The 11-track LP contains such songs as “Starman,” “Ziggy Stardust” and “Suffragette City.” Bowie passed away earlier this year leading some fans to predict Ziggy Stardust would be performed in Vegas. It appears those fans are correct. Show time is listed as 7:30 p.m. PT. A live webcast is available via Check out an image of the Playbill:

[Photo by Jay Kocyla]

The band will be joined by a string section and vocalists including Sylvia D’Avanzo, Jennifer Hartswick, Celisse Henderson, Alisa Horn, Jo Lampert, Todd Low, Antoine Silverman, Alissa Smith and Hiroko Taguchi. “It was a conversation we had pretty quickly. ‘Oh, Halloween is coming up. Let’s do Ziggy Stardust, Trey Anastasio said to David Fricke. “You can’t point to anyone else in rock who was so relevant for so long,” Page McConnell told Fricke about Bowie. “It’s hard to know how to honor them all [but Ziggy on Halloween] felt right. And there are no weak links – no fluff, no filler. Every sonic detail is intentional, more than on any other album we’ve covered.” Mike Gordon revealed, “I was the guy who didn’t know this album.” He said after learning the album he could hear the connection, “to 1950s rock & roll, how the chugging piano and down-to-earth rhythms are stretched out to the space stuff. I like weird juxtapositions. I just had to buy both ends of the contradiction.” Anastasio added, “We always set the bar high, but Ziggy is so seminal. Bowie is riding on the shoulders of the giants that came before – then pushing everything forward.” Mike talked up “the descending bridge” as a place Phish could insert improv, while Jon Fishman “thinks the runaway outro to ‘Star’ could be a ‘big honking thing.'” Though McConnell mentioned, “It holds up just fine. You Don’t want to put on a big jam just because we’re Phish.” He went on to state, “We have left ourselves some room for improv. Hopefully, there will be jamming.”

Head here to check out the Playbill.

The Vermont jam act honored David Bowie earlier this year, when they debuted an a capella cover of “Space Oddity” from The Thin White Duke’s self-titled 1969 album at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Phish has since sung “Space Oddity” three more times with the most recent coming at Lockn’ this past August.

Phish first presented a musical costume of covering another act’s album as their second set on October 31, 1994; when they covered The Beatles’ White Album at Glens Falls Civic Center in Glens Falls, New York. The album was voted on by fans, which was also the case for 1995’s performance of Quadrophenia by The Who at Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois. In 1996 the foursome chose Remain In Light by Talking Heads and distributed a Playbill to fans entering The Omni in Atlanta. The Halloween tradition continued on October 31, 1998 as Phish covered Loaded by The Velvet Underground at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Post-breakup the band tackled The Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main Street on October 31, 2009 for the fourth set of their Festival 8 event in Indio, California. Halloween 2010 saw the first live album featured as a musical costume in the form of Waiting For Columbus by Little Feat. A change came on October 31, 2013; when Phish debuted a batch of originals for a set dubbed Wingsuit. Finally, the quartet added their own inventive twist to the sound effects found on Disney’s Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on October 31, 2014.

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars Tracklist

  1. Five Years
  2. Soul Love
  3. Moonage Daydream
  4. Starman
  5. It Ain’t Easy
  6. Lady Stardust
  7. Star
  8. Hang On To Yourself
  9. Ziggy Stardust
  10. Suffragette City
  11. Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide

Past Phish Musical Costumes

  • 1994 – The Beatles – White Album
  • 1995 – The Who – Quadrophenia
  • 1996 – Talking Heads – Remain In Light
  • 1998 – Velvet Underground – Loaded
  • 2009 – The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street
  • 2010 – Little Feat – Waiting For Columbus
  • 2013 – Phish – Wingsuit
  • 2014 – Phish/Disney – Chilling, Thrilling Sounds Of The Haunted House
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