Phish just posted the official video of the debut of “Wombat”, the centerpiece to Wingsuit, their Halloween 2013 spectacle in Atlantic City. I could probably sit here and write 1,500 words about what I think is so great about this video, but let’s just get it out of the way and watch the video together before we discuss it whatsoever.
“If you’re moving on, you gotta leave it behind…”
It’s kinda like the theme to the Fish TV show…
Given that Phish was debuting an entire new album of material on Halloween, a full-on departure from the Halloween experience most fans expected to see, it shouldn’t have been a huge surprise that they would add an element of spectacle that we weren’t expecting either. When fans read the song titles in the Phishbill before the show, there was probably a chuckle or two when we saw the word “Wombat” right smack dab in the middle of the set. And when they started playing it, I was reminded a lot of how the song felt like “Cavern” to me, a funky groove with a great backbeat and funny but clever lyrics. And that’s when we see a guy in a wombat costume getting walked out to the center of the stage somewhat slowly. Like the guy needed some help finding his mark.
Ya know, like Abe Vigoda…
So the funk beat is kicking and we see a guy in a costume on stage; sure, nothing too crazy there. Then BAM! The wombat and the walkers start busting out a choreographed dance sequence very much like their “Meatstick around the world” dance back from NYE 2011. Wombat guy is straight-up killing it and the whole band is locked on on the funkiest Phish jam you’ve ever heard, reminding me very much of the Berkeley “Cities” from 2010. Crowd is going nuts. Then, jam stops, wombat guy pauses… and it’s back to the way the gag started. Two of the dancers then grab an arm and walk off the wombat guy slowly again, like he’s an old man.
Abe Vigoda of the TV show, Fish, and The Godfather…
The band jam continues while the wombat guy is walked off stage. Then Trey calls for a bow from the dancers and introduces the dancer as “the legendary Abe Vigoda” of the TV show Fish and the Godfather. “Classic” Phish moment right there, although it was actually Abe Vigoda in a wombat suit for the bow but not very likely the same wombat suit who was cutting a rug on stage three minutes prior. What a laugh. Trey says something like “92 years old. Guy just won’t stop…” while Fish says,”…and he can dance like that!” Then they end the set with this:
I love this band. This is exactly why I go see them, that’s for sure. Love it or hate it, they looked to the future with this run and this is exactly the type of thing I wanted to see out of the band when I booked my flights for Philly. I’ll consider myself in the lucky camp of fans that was pleased with this, and we’ll have more to come later this week on what we thought about the whole affair. Enjoy the video for now and definitely stop by LivePhish.com to download a copy of this show.