Halloween Concerts Provide Unusual Covers, Inspired Performances

Everyone knows by now that Phish presented The Rolling Stones‘ Exile on Main Street in its entirety for their “musical costume” on Halloween. Featuring the incredible Sharon Jones on vocals, along with the necessary horns, the performance is deserving of the immediate praise it received. But what about the rest of the holiday shenanigans across the nation?

Some instances of Halloween’s madness may not warrant a complete set list posting, but they are worth mentioning. At New Orleans’ Voodoo Music Fest, Drive-By Truckers took the stage with a version of KISS‘ “Strutter” in homage to one of the headlining bands of the festival. The Radiators brought their annual masquerade ball to Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Fine Line Music Cafe, where they sprinkled their show with their scariest songs and covers like The Who‘s “Magic Bus,” David Bowie‘s “Life on Mars,” Eddie Bo‘s “Pass Out the Hatchets,” and Roky Erickson‘s “I Walked With A Zombie.”

The Disco Biscuits were joined by Glitch Mob, Orchard Lounge, and Holy Fuck at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre for a night that was probably weird enough without any kind of high-minded musical costumes, but the Biscuits broke out a  first-time-played cover of Smashing Pumpkins‘ “I Am One” for good measure anyway. Meanwhile, at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, The Avett Brothers dressed as The Three Amigos and treated the audience to a jaw-dropping show full of rare songs and the unique addition of drums.

One of the most publicized and anticipated Halloween concerts in recent memory unfurled with majestic grandeur in Philadelphia, as Pearl Jam captained a farewell party for one of the oldest arenas in the nation. The Spectrum will be demolished soon, but Pearl Jam did their best to beat the demolition crews to the punch, treating fans to more than 40 songs that lined themselves up in devastating fashion. The band kept the Halloween histrionics to minimum, preferring to cloak themselves in rare songs and celebratory camaraderie. The show featured the live debuts of Bugs (a date-appropriate oddity from the Vitalogy album), Sweet Lew (an outtake from the Binaural sessions that surfaced on the rarities compilation Lost Dogs), and Devo’s Whip It (complete with the band in Devo costumes). A large donation to one of the band’s charities resulted in the first performance of Out of My Mind in 15 years, and a large portion of the show featured the Philadelphia String Quartet. I could write volumes about the show, and I wasn’t even there, so if this paragraph has piqued your interest, I’d recommend checking out the set list and downloading the show. It should be available at Etree very soon.

Here’s a collection of set lists and notes from some of the more interesting performances last night, along with links to recordings where available.

All shows occurred 10/31/09.

Gov’t Mule at The Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, PA (download)

The band performed a wide array of Rolling Stones songs for the first set, and the show featured guest multi-instrumentalist Steve Elson.

Set 1 (with Jackie Greene): Under My Thumb*, Monkey Man*, Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)*$, Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’*$, Angie*, Ventilator Blues*$, Shattered*$#, Wild Horses, Slave*$, Gimmie Shelter*$, Play With Fire, Paint It Black, Bitch*$, Brown Sugar*$

Set 2: Steppin’ Lightly, Broke Down On The Brazos, Railroad Boy > Monday Mourning Meltdown > Forevermore, Frozen Fear > Brighter Days > Blind Man In The Dark$

Encore (with Jackie Greene): Goin’ Out West$(w/Peter Gunn Tease) > Bang A Gong$ > Goin’ Out West

* 1st Time Played
$ with Steve Elson
#with Matt on Lead Vocal, Danny on Bass & Jorgen on Drums

Widespread Panic at Austin Music Hall, Austin, TX (download)

Band Member Costumes: Sunny Ortiz – skeleton; Todd Nance – breast cancer awareness; JoJo Hermann – The Pope; John Bell – Vincent Van Gogh; Dave Schools and Jimmy Herring – cowboys/Brokeback Mountain

Set 1: Waitin’ for the Bus* > Chilly Water > Rock > Chilly Water, Trouble, Gimmie% > You Got Yours, Give, Mama Told Me (Not to Come), Red Beans (58 min)

Set 2: Come as You Are# > Bowlegged Woman, The Last Straw, Holden Oversoul > Jam > Vampire Blues, Imitation Leather Shoes > Drums > Bust It Big > Pigeons, Lake Of Fire@ > Henry Parsons Died (92 min)

Encore: This Masquerade^, Postcard, Flat Foot Flewzy

*ZZ Top, first time played
%with Norwegian Wood tease
#Nirvana, first time played
@Meat Puppets, first time played
^Leon Russell, first time played

Umphrey’s McGee at Los Tortugas Dance of the Dead, Groveland (Yosemite), CA (photos)

Band Member Costumes: The band wore mashed-up costumes to complement their Monster Mash-Up theme:
Jake Cinninger (guitar) – George Harrison Ford
Ryan Stasik (bass) – Bret Michaels Jackson
Brendan Bayliss (guitar) – Captain Kirk Hammett
Joel Cummins (keys) – Dirty Harry Caray
Kris Myers (drums) – Rod Stewart Copeland
Andy Farag (perc) – Wizard of Ozzy Guillen

Set 1: JaJunk% > 2×2 > Q*Bert > 2×2, Cemetery Walk, Padgett’s Profile, All In Time%%, Cemetery Walk II, Sweet Sunglasses*

Set 2: Jazz Odyssey > Nothing Too Fancy > Hangover > Night Gambler** > Nothing Too Fancy, FF > Professor Wormbog^, JaJunk, Mulche’s Odyssey, Land of Wappy$

Encore: 40’s Theme, Nemo’s Fat Bottomed Good Times$$

% with Smooth Criminal/Heartbreaker jam
%% with Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ jam
* mash-up of Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics), Sunglasses at Night (Corey Hart), and Electric Feel (MGMT)
** mash-up of The Gambler (Kenny Rogers), Night Fever (The Bee Gees), and Rapper’s Delight (The Sugarhill Gang)
^ with Bill Kreutzman on drums
$ mash-up of Wappy Sprayberry, Land of Confusion (Genesis), and Seek & Destroy (Metallica)
$$ mash-up of Nemo, Fat Bottomed Girls (Queen), and Good Times Bad Times (Led Zeppelin)

moe. at Washington Ave. Armory, Albany, NY

Many of the show’s songs were selected via fan voting.

Band Member Costumes: The band wore the uniforms of the Cobra Kai dojo from the film The Karate Kid.

Set 1: The Ghost Of Ralph’s Mom, Godzilla, Farmer Ben*#, You Can Call Me Al**, We Got The Party^, George, Echoes

Set 2: Stash, meat > Eyes Of The World > Echoes, Rebubula > Dark Star > Rebubula

Encore: Fuck Her Gently^^, Don’t Fuck With Flo, Crab Eyes

# Last Played 3/02/05
* with Werewolves Of London, The Munsters (theme), The Adams Family (theme), and Powerhouse teases
** Jim on piccolo bass & Al on trumpet
^ Jim on acoustic
^^ only Al (acoustic) and Chuck

Perpetual Groove at The National, Richmond, VA

Band Member Costumes: The band dressed as various characters from John Hughes films, and performed musical selections from the films throughout the night.

Set 1: Space Paranoids, TSMM > Harmonium > TSMM, At the Screen, Cairo, Oh Yeah, Mayday

Set 2: Teakwood Betz (Fakeout) > Weird Science > Teakwood Betz, Three Weeks, Speed Queen > Blitzkreig Bop > Speed Queen, Don’t You Forget About Me

Encore: Lost Connection, Twist and Shout

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