On October 20th, 1998, David Byrne conducted a 40-minute-long interview with Phish for the PBS show Sessions at West 54th. During that time they get into their now-legendary Halloween shows, when Byrne inquires about the origins of their musical costumes:
"I gotta ask about the Halloween concerts, of course. I think... one of your Halloween concerts some years back, you decided to surprise the fans and you did The Beatles' White Album, top to bottom, and they apparently... no one knew... they didn't know this was coming. But of course the next year they were expecting something like that, and I think next year you did the Quadrophenia record, and then you did a record that I was involved with, which was kind of a surprise for me, too! It's kind of ambitious, and it's... what made you decide to do that?"
Trey responds, "We did a show in... somewhere down south, about a year before that first Halloween show, and because we have this habit of mixing up the set list, we thought it would be kind of a shock to play our own album, which was Hoist, exactly as [it is]... normally we improvise... so we the whole album top to bottom, exactly as it lay on plastic. And afterwards we were talking to some fans, and we were jokingly boasting, 'Oh we'll play any album ever recorded.' And that gave us the idea, the next Halloween let's do that as a musical costume. The first two years were votes, the third year was our choice, and that was Remain In Light."
Sixteen years after that interview took place, Trey has hinted that their show this year (which will be in Vegas) may mark the end of an era—the guitarist says, "I don’t know that we’re going to cover anything this year, to be perfectly honest. That’s the word I’m getting from the other guys. You never know. I’m guessing that we may have put that tradition to bed with the wink to Fuego.”
In the beginning of the interview with Byrne the band discusses their friend, the fascinating J. Willis Pratt, and you may be interested to know he is still at it up in Vermont. In fact, occasionally Fishman, Willis, guitarist Arthur Lafreniere, and bassist John Kasiewicz still play live shows together. Here's their own public access appearance, filmed just a few weeks before the above interview.