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TR: The Phinal Phour (MGM Grand and… shhhh... it’s a secret) Oct 29th - Nov 4th, Nov 4th – Nov. 7th

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Audible Nectar, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. Audible Nectar

    Audible Nectar Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    As I post this, it is expected that we will be in Las Vegas within 24 hours, with nine months preparation having come to fruition, the best we know how, in large part as a result of this forum. This is posted for YOU – the VMB reader, in thanks to all you have written and shared, both in archive as well as direct responses to us. It has been a tremendous help – and while not always what we wanted to hear, but was what we needed to hear. Thanks for that.

    There comes a point where the obsession over the best laid of plans must cease, and where one just has to “Let It Go”. This is now that time. I did what I could with what was given and known, now I enjoy and hope it all pays off. If not, I know I tried. For better or worse, I share the results here.

    I will do what’s possible to have it be in some part – “Live”. This is dependent on data reliability both in wireless and wi-fi applications, as well as brain reliability. If I disappear for a time, it’s not going to be from lack of trying. It’s a nine day scheduled trek, and for the most part in no hurry. So there should be time – if there is data :) And no software bugs on the new-ish phone….


    Prologue: October 28th (The Night Before)


    The Plan: Arriving tomorrow at 2:20ish and will check in to MGM Grand, staying until Sunday afternoon, Nov 4th. Then we move to (censored) for a three day stay post-concert-run, kept a secret from my wife until the point of check-in (but you know it for the balconies with Fountain View, hehe). She will walk in, by, through that place….and will never know….shhhhh….until Sunday the 4th :)


    The Event: Vegas to me is not really a city/destination unto itself as much as it is a VENUE. So as one might expect, I wouldn’t come to Vegas just to come….but for an EVENT. And in the world of events, Vegas knows how to do this: the biggest fights, poker tournaments and The Greatest Rock and Roll Tradition to ever exist.

    But first, a history.

    The “thing” that became Phish Halloween was born on October 31, 1994, in a 7000 seat arena/gym in Glens Falls, New York. If you can imagine a point in a band’s career where the creative spark – that explosion of a band going parabolically large right in front of your eyes, this was it in a very real sense – that 1992-1995 period where Phish went from a little old bar band outta Vermont to a national touring juggernaut. That arena was “overflow” – people sneaking in through the fire escape, roof and venting, like mice through the cracks with the holy load of cheese inside. It was a show that should have played host to 20K people, but not understanding just how big they had become had woefully underbooked the venue.

    It was a special show, indeed. It was based on an interesting premise: The band would don “The Musical Costume” – where they would perform another band’s album, in its entirety, as the middle set of a three set performance. They would literally be “another band” for Halloween.

    They started off easily and obviously enough: They selected The Beatles (self-titled), otherwise known as “The White Album”, and rather well played considering it’s a double album with a lot of music to learn and perform. But that was only the one set - as the other two sets of live Phish performed that night to this day are still considered some of the best live Phish the band has done in their own right.

    But it was only the beginning.

    The parabolic growth/interest in the band necessitated a move to larger digs: The Rosemont Horizon got the nod for the Halloween show site the following year, with a new premise: The fanbase would vote on the album and the band would (to the extent possible) perform the winning vote getter. Frank Zappa’s “Joe’s Garage” got the vote (which should tell you something about their core fanbase’s musical taste) but due to the complexities of the studio overdubs on that release opted for the number two vote getter: The Who’s “Quadrophenia”.

    That performance was my first live Phish concert. After several failed scheduling attempts I finally made a date with this band stick, and to this day is the single best live concert performance out of multiple hundreds of concerts. By ANY band. It’s the Babe Ruth of The Game, and the resulting tradition its “Hall Of Fame” – because it became about much more than just THIS band. It became about the GENRE – influences, appreciation, and rock music history. The Quadrophenia performance made such an impact as to leave the WXRT staff in Chicago almost speechless – Tom Marker had a really hard time doing that once he brought up the subject. When a guy who is THAT steeped in rock and roll knowledge, and is paid in part to explain that to people, and couldn’t give it the justice it deserved – it just said it all.


    “For those of you who were at Rosemont last night, and witnessed that five hour performance, just WOW.” Yeah Tom, we know, and wouldn’t be sure how to explain that over a song break either.


    The legend grew even further with the two following Halloweens’ performances – 1996’s Atlanta/Omni performance of Talking Heads’ “Remain In Light” and Velvet Underground’s “Loaded” at the Thomas and Mack Center in 1998. Among most old guard Phish fans, these two “costumes” were the hallmark of the holiday, being the best of the costume performances (maybe the Phish sets not being as good as the 1994 and 1995 Phish sets were those respective nights – but the costume sets are pretty much considered the best two). It was as if the band was giving these two performances and explaining to their fans “this is a band you should know – and appreciate”. Then they would show you why, by crushing the rendition of the Musical Costume in front of you – even catapulting a return of VU’s “Loaded” to the Billboard Hot 100 almost 30 years after its release.

    The album selections make up a “Hall Of Fame” within a “Hall Of Fame” of rock music’s biggest and most influential releases. The Rolling Stones’ “Exile On Main Street” (2009), Little Feat’s “Waiting For Columbus” (2010), and David Bowie’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars” (2016) round out the seven so-far-selected classic albums Phish has performed over the recurring holiday tradition. Two other years they opted to step out of that box, one year releasing their own album in 2011 (effectively playing themselves) and in 2014 doing a Disney/Haunted House theme framework with their own music created for the show. Many fan purists welcomed the Ziggy/Bowie performance as it harkened a return to the original tradition and exists something of a debate between the “classic” and the “original”. I would and have always argued that Phish’s performances of other band’s albums as tribute on Halloween is The Greatest Live Tradition in Rock and Roll. It’s better than New Year’s Eve, better than even a hometown show (arguably the best place to see any musical artist), because Phish Halloween has always been about something much bigger than just them. It’s about the history, tradition, and influences of the genre, which makes Phish Halloween the Greatest Rock Show On Earth.

    In recognition of that fact, I have seen six of Phish’s Halloween classic album sets personally – all but the original Beatles costume. It’s something of a holy Mecca around here, albeit shaken with a general distaste for deviating from the original “album/cover as costume”.

    I see these shows as my “Super Bowl” of the Rock and Roll world. That comes from someone who has witnessed four Super Bowls personally (XXV, XXXVI, XL, XLV). Waking up at the MGM Grand and looking out at that venue will be much like a future Super Bowl attendee will witness in Las Vegas on a Sunday not that far off into the future. Twenty years ago, we wondered post-Phish Halloween what it would be like if this gig were at the MGM Grand and we had rooms. Why couldn’t they have this gig on The Strip? This now being the third edition – what has become to Phish Halloween as New Orleans became for Super Bowls for many years – an acknowledged perfect site for such a proceeding, and an overwhelming favorite every year it is selected.

    What will the costume be this year? The album (or new “concept”, or ????) will be announced at gates open on October 31, 2018 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Will it be an addition to Rock’s “Hall Of Fame” within the “Hall Of Fame” – an eighth inductee into that very select club of classic rock lore? Or will it be something different…..


    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


    Now of course, there will be more: three more Phish concerts Nov 1-3 (you read that right), as well as Absinthe on Oct 30th. So there will be lots to do and see, as we attempt to do some of the other “Vegas” while we are there. Reservations at Joe’s and a few other choice morsels are in the plan, and we’ll see just how well and thoroughly those plans get realized.

    Why “The Phinal Phour”? We expect that this will be our last such/similar trip for the foreseeable future, for a multitude of reasons, and we think that since we started this Phish Phetish with Halloween that there’s no more perfect way than to do one phinal weekend with the way it started, as well as the way we always wished we could do it. Not that it will be our last Phish show – who knows, taking in a local/regional show might well be in the future, but the “destination” runs/locations won’t be. No regrets and no whining permitted – it’s been one helluva ride, and I wouldn’t change a thing.


    So with reservations, boarding passes (A 37 and A38), bankroll, tickets, and luggage in tow……..tomorrow, we roll.
     
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  2. Audible Nectar

    Audible Nectar Low-Roller

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    Some historical highlights to whet your appetite.....










     
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  3. Audible Nectar

    Audible Nectar Low-Roller

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    I will also add that we deposited another $25 in the donation cup to support the site. :thumbsup:
     
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  4. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Have a great time!
     
  5. boxsocial

    boxsocial Tourist

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    my birthday is the 31st, I'll be flying in for the show and flying back out the next morning. 2014 was fantastic, had a less than great time in 2016, very excited for this year based on the recent show reviews.
     
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  6. Iratus

    Iratus Tourist

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    I feel bad that I don’t know who phish are, sounds like you’re going to enjoy your trip though. Have fun.
     
  7. fenway68

    fenway68 High-Roller

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    Enjoy. Following along as we will be out there when u are 1-5th (not going to Phish tho). If we find ourselves in the same place let’s have a drink!
     
  8. 93 Octane

    93 Octane Chief bottle washer

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    To hell with the TR, thanks for an excellent introduction to the history of Phish! Phucking phantastic!
     
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  9. Audible Nectar

    Audible Nectar Low-Roller

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    C588DDCA-B9F7-4B8C-A309-D939206EEC79.jpeg 54E8B38D-83AD-4E41-B3E9-A043E7991AB5.jpeg A three hour trek to the Chi/MDW area for a park, pizza, and Jet:
     
  10. Audible Nectar

    Audible Nectar Low-Roller

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    549D7939-F40C-415D-935A-2A88D6BA2C47.jpeg Life’s always good when the plaaaaaane’s onnnn tiiiiiime:D

     
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  11. etm117

    etm117 Low-Roller

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    Looking forward to you having a big winner before the sun goes down tonight! :headbang:
     
  12. zerofan

    zerofan VIP Whale

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    Have a great time - Wonder what album they are going to do this year.
     
  13. flysrb

    flysrb Hey Now!

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    Hey Now!
    My vote is for Terrapin Station.
    I will be there for the show
     
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  14. Audible Nectar

    Audible Nectar Low-Roller

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    6A35DF61-B10D-4F5D-AB6D-5FD4C3B82A81.jpeg :: resume transmission ::
     
  15. Audible Nectar

    Audible Nectar Low-Roller

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    3E2206D1-5267-4349-9268-6E175EF827C1.jpeg E53DEB13-BD5B-41E4-BB71-3C38242516FC.jpeg 701E677C-CA50-4E78-BE46-7CD2B7F00317.jpeg 5D7DDD18-DAEF-4FAD-A77A-6A542F24C98D.jpeg An interesting check in yesterday....in line at 3PM, ask desk agent about upgrades availanle. She talks to a spervisor, and offers this - I give you “The Level Up Suite”:
     
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  16. Audible Nectar

    Audible Nectar Low-Roller

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    2025244A-39BF-4147-AE68-B8E20E5C6715.jpeg B830A55B-BB91-4A35-BB07-6620EC79AC81.jpeg The view ain’t half bad either.......
     
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  17. Audible Nectar

    Audible Nectar Low-Roller

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    64C3E752-ADFF-4DB5-A360-05E00B6F794E.jpeg E0445495-217F-4D03-9247-9DF1EF6F3BD7.jpeg Offers the double sink and shower:
     
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  18. Richard Morgan

    Richard Morgan Tourist

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    I am not really a Phish fan, so I never knew about that tradition. That sounds all kinds of awesome! I look forward to reading this report to see what they have up their sleeve!

    On a somewhat related note, I always thought it would be kind of cool if a big-time band would serve as their opening act and play the new stuff right away. Then take a break and play all the hits as the main attraction. If I were a big-time singer - and trust me, nobody wants to hear that - that would be my plan.

    Anyway, have a great time!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2018
  19. The Rumor

    The Rumor VIP Whale

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    Room looks...one of a kind! Neat experience, though! Bathroom does look nice.
     
    NFL Weekend
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  20. Audible Nectar

    Audible Nectar Low-Roller

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    A194F66A-59B6-4355-8BB5-1EBD1216D3A5.jpeg 063740DE-855E-467D-A005-8027CEAAC8F2.jpeg B43587E9-D94F-4604-B3E6-2086A2EBF973.jpeg 379687B6-987B-4851-98D4-5BDC2AE779F6.jpeg So now the project moved to “shopping trip”. We went to an upscale area in SW Vegas and hit the Wal Mart, Albertsons, beer, and cannabis, courtesy of Enterprise inside Tropicana. Just a few of the gathered items:
     
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