Weekend Nuggets: Giant Country Horns ’91

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on May 29th, 2010 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

A couple nuggets from the horns tour of Summer ’91. Below is a link to my all-SBD compilation from the same tour.

7.19.1991 Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA < Megaupload

I: Golgi Apparatus, The Landlady > Bouncing Around the Room, David Bowie, Fee > Cavern, The Squirming Coil, You Enjoy Myself, Gumbo, Touch Me

II: Suzy Greenberg > The Divided Sky, I Didn’t Know My Sweet One, Magilla > Tweezer, The Mango Song, Big Black Furry Creature from Mars

E Lawn Boy, Runaway Jim

Notes: This show featured the Giant Country Horns for all songs except Fee, Coil, I Didn’t Know, My Sweet One, and Runaway Jim.

Source: FOB Neumann KM-86

*****

7.24.1991 Trax, Charlottesville, VA < Megaupload

I: Golgi Apparatus, Chalk Dust Torture, The Squirming Coil, Buried Alive > Split Open and Melt, Bathtub Gin, The Landlady, Cavern, Tela, You Enjoy Myself

II: Possum, Guelah Papyrus, David Bowie, Jesus Just Left Chicago, My Sweet One, Bouncing Around the Room, Funky Bitch, I Didn’t Know, Frankenstein, Suzy Greenberg

E: Contact > Big Black Furry Creature from Mars

Notes: This show featured the Giant Country Horns on Buried Alive through Cavern, YEM, Bowie through Funky Bitch, and Frankenstein through BBFCFM.

Source: Schoeps CMC64->Aerco->Apogee500E

*****
Miner’s Picks:Giant Country Horns ’91 < Torrent

Miner’s Picks:Giant Country Horns ’91 < Megaupload

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Jam of the Weekend:

Sand > Misty Mountain Hop” 9.24.99 II

The ending of the second set at Phish’s last visit to South Park Meadows in Austin, Texas.

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

“David Bowie” 3.24.92 – Richmond, VA

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Halloween ’96 – Changing the Game

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on October 1st, 2009 by Mr.Miner

pb1Never has one show affected the course of Phish’s musical direction as much as Halloween 1996. Deciding to cover Remain in Light, an album centered on percussive grooves, forced the band to acclimate to a different style of play. Phish approached its tracks from a rhythmic point of view; different from the arena rock psychedelia that captivated audiences throughout Fall ’95. As 1996 moved into its second half, Phish hovered in a holding pattern, ready for a fresh musical path, but not exactly sure what that would be. As a result, their initial east coast run of the Fall was nothing to write home about. But as they prepared to unveil The Talking Heads’ album for Halloween, Phish brought other musicians into the mix, and their extensive practice sessions pushed the band towards their destiny.

With the addition of Dave Grippo and Gary Gazaway on sax and trumpet, and more specifically, Santana’s percussionist, Karl Perazzo, the band worked on executing the collaborative patterns that were strewn throughout the record. Phish’s meticulous preparation for their third musical costume resulted in a masterfully interpretive set in which they killed the album from beginning to end.

During a 1998 interview with David Byrne for Sessions at West 54th, the band discussed each of their Halloween “costumes” and how they subsequently affected the band’s style. Page noted the profound influence of covering Remain In Light.

It may have had the biggest effect on us because we really learned the grooves and we really tried to get inside the grooves on the album…I took so much away from that. And the groove-oriented playing that we’ve done in the last few years – repetition, pulling things out, putting them back – all that sort of thing, a lot of it was from learning [Remain In Light].

The effects Page spoke of began to emerge at the very next show in West Palm Beach. To open the second set, Phish launched into an extended groove exploration of “Crosseyed > Antelope,” and the music sounded more like the rhythmic jamming that defined Remain In Light rather than the fast-paced, guitar-centric playing that peaked in ’95 and spilled into ’96.

10-31-96 The Omni (T.Wickersty)

10-31-96 The Omni (T.Wickersty)

“Crosseyed > Antelope” began a gradual evolution of the band’s sound throughout the rest of the fall. Starting to slow down and funk out, Phish started moving towards their groove-based playing of 1997 and beyond. When comparing the pre-Halloween shows with those after October, the changes leap out. Pieces that helped define this shift included the Auburn Hills “YEM” (11/9), the Grand Rapids “Tweezer” (11/11), the San Diego “Mike’s” (12/4), and the Vegas “2001”(12/6).

While ’96’s New Year’s Run didn’t necessarily capture this emerging style of jamming, the band was poised for a transformation come 1997. And during their winter tour of Europe in Markthalle, an intimate club in Hamburg, Germany, this evolution came together. The band references “Wolfman’s” from 3.1’s Markthalle show as the moment they realized the type of 3329098551_6cb1b984f6collaborative playing they had quested after. Everything simply clicked, bringing the community their first helping of “cow funk,” mastered and released on Slip Stitch, and Pass. And so it began – 1997’s rhythmic revolution was underway – but the process of transformation started late one Fall night in Atlanta – and Phish never looked back.

Winged music note=====

Jams of the Day:

Crosseyed > Antelope” 11.2.96 II

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Ghost > Runaway Jim” 7.2.98 II

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Capping a three-night stand at The Grey Hall, Phish threw down a four-song second set; this is the first half. Only the second version featuring the song’s new intro, this “Ghost” sits among the upper echelon of all-time renditions.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

10.1.00 Desert Sky Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ < Torrent

10.1.00 Desert Sky Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ < Megaupload

Desert Sky Pavilion - Phoenix, AZ

Desert Sky Pavilion - Phoenix, AZ

The night after Vegas ended, Phish made their way into the desert for the last show before the final four.  Markedly better than the previous performance, “Piper > Guy Forget” (an old soundcheck song never performed live) held down the opening segment of the second set, while a thick “Camel Walk” and a solid “Bowie” closed it out.  After Phoenix started the fateful final four of 2000.

I: First Tube, Wolfman’s Brother, Back on the Train, Beauty of My Dreams, Vultures, The Inlaw Josie Wales, Billy Breathes, Llama, Lawn Boy, Runaway Jim

II: Roses Are Free, Piper > Guy Forget* > When the Circus Comes, Camel Walk, Driver, David Bowie

E: Waste

*debut

Source: B&K 4011’s > Lunatec V2 > Apogee AD-500 > Tascam DA-P1

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Summer ’91 and The Giant Country Horns

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on July 20th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
Arrowhead Ranch July 1991

Arrowhead Ranch w/ GCH July 1991

If we were to travel back 18 years in time this week, we would find ourselves in July of 1991, right in the middle of Phish’s famous summer tour with The Giant Country Horns.  Spanning only sixteen shows, Phish took local musicians Dave Grippo (alto sax), Russell Remington (tenor sax), and Carl Gerhard (trumpet) on the road for what was an exciting and musically divergent few weeks.

phish-summertour-91Taking their moniker from Giant Country White Bread, a brand of bread from New Hampshire, The Giant Country Horns were born.  Spicing up many standard compositions with horn arrangements that sounded completely natural- like they were meant to be there- the horns gave songs like “Gumbo,” “Cavern,” and “Suzy Greenberg” new life for this summer run.  In more open improvisational pieces, like “Tweezer,” “Mike’s” and “Stash,” the horn ensemble lent a darker feel of fusion to the jams, enhancing the band’s interplay and adding another layer on top of the textured jams.  This well-loved tour of early-era Phish started in their home town of Burlington, and culminated at Amy Skelton’s Farm in Auburn, ME for what would be the earliest foreshadowing of the Phish festival.

In addition to enhancing songs already in the band’s rotation, the addition of The Giant Country Horns also allowed Phish to break out some jazz tunes that had been shelved such as “Caravan” and “Flat Fee,” some new covers in The Doors’ “Touch Me” and Charlie Parker’s “Moose the Mooch,” and breakouts like “Frankenstein.”  The horn lineup certainly lent a jazzier feel to Phish’s early music, which was rooted in jazz tradition, itself.

7.14.91 Townshend, VT (M. Gordon)

7.14.91 Townshend, VT (M. Gordon)

Largely contained to the Northeast corridor, Phish’s 1991 Horns Tour did stretch all the way to Atlanta during a four-show southern dip between the festival-like weekends at Arrowhead Ranch in Parksville, NY and their finale at Amy’s Farm.  Though the members of The Giant County Horns would reappear in various incarnations come 1994 and beyond, it was this sixteen-show collaboration that was the central focus of Phish’s experiments with their horn section.

With Grippo, Remington, and Gerhard on the bus for the tour, the band’s onstage dynamic took new form.  Trey and the horns played off of each other dynamically, and the band, as a whole, took on a new sonic shape for these shows.  Often adding rhythmic lines as well as complementary lead melodies and psychedelic backdrops, the horns brought a whole new element to Phish’s music.  Trained in the jazz tradition, Phish easily blended with their guests, playing off of their musical ideas amidst jams as well allowing space for their composed accompaniment.  What resulted over the abbreviated tour was some of the most memorable music of Phish’s early years.

Phish Update - Summer 1991

Phish Update - Summer 1991

The Giant Country Horns appeared as a six-piece ensemble with Phish for a couple more shows in 1994 at Burlington’s Flynn Theatre (4.4) and New York’s Beacon Theater (4.15), and the band periodically featured different horn lineups through the years.  The Cosmic Country Horns- a six-piece lineup led by New Orleans’ Michael Ray, included Grippo, Gerhard, and some of his own Cosmic Crewe- joined the band for a few shows in 1994.  This lineup gave the music a more free-jazz / Sun-Ra feel rather than the more classic swing style of accompaniment of The Giant Country Horns.  Additionally, individual members of both groups have appeared with Phish over the years, including their landmark Remain In Light performance in which Grippo and Cosmic trumpeter, Gary Gazaway, joined the band for their defining set.  Grippo and Russell Remington would go on to become integral members of Trey’s solo band in later years, and friendships between the musicians still exist.  Will we ever see the return of the horns-  who knows?  But just as always in this Phishy world- anything is possible.

Below is an all-SBD compilation of highlights from Summer ’91 with The Giant Country Horns.  Check it out to hear a wholly different vibe to our favorite band.

DOWNLOAD “MINER’S PICKS: GIANT COUNTRY HORNS ’91” < TORRENT

DOWNLOAD “MINER’S PICKS: GIANT COUNTRY HORNS ’91” < MEGAUP.

1. “The Landlady” 7.23 Washington, DC II

2. “Tweezer” 7.21 Arrowhead Ranch, NY II

3. “Cavern” 7.23 II

4. “Magilla” 7.14 Townshend, VT II

5. “Split Open and Melt” 7.14 II

6. “Bathtub Gin” 7.14 III

7,8. “Oh Kee Pa > Suzy” 7.23 I

9. “Stash” 7.15 New Music Seminar, NYC, NY

10. “AC/DC Bag” 7.21 II

11. “Flat Fee” 7.23 I

12,13. “Dinner and a Movie > Gumbo” 7.23 II

14. “Frankenstein” 7.15

15,16,17. “Mike’s > Hydrogen > Weekapaug” 7.21 I

18. “Contact” 7.11 Burlington, VT E

19. “Caravan” 7.15

20. “Touch Me” 7.21 E

21. “You Enjoy Myself” 7.20 Arrowhead Ranch, NY II

22. “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars” 7.14 E

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Tweezer” 4.21.92 Eureka, CA SBD

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If you know this “Tweezer,” you love it, and if you don’t, take fifteen minutes of your time with some headphones and fall in love.  One of the most unique and sublime jams to come from the band’s amazing west coast run of Spring ’92, this “Tweezer” is musical nirvana- all surrounded by redwoods in Northern California.  This is an impeccable soundboard recording of one of my all- time favorite jams.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.14.91 Townshend Family Park, Townshend, VT SBD < TORRENT

7.14.91 Townshend Family Park, Townshend, VT, SBD < MEGAUP.

7.14.91 Townshend, VT (phish.com)

7.14.91 Townshend, VT (phish.com)

Here we have a three setter from the Summer of ’91, showcasing Phish and The Giant Country Horns in all their glory.  The horns joined the band for most of the second and third sets of this marathon show.  While the compilation gives you snapshots of the era, this is a portrait of the band during a very special tour.

I: Reba, Llama, The Squirming Coil, Golgi Apparatus, Guelah Papyrus, My Sweet One, Colonel Forbin’s Ascent > Famous Mockingbird, The Sloth, I Didn’t Know, Possum

II: Suzy Greenberg, Caravan, The Divided Sky, Gumbo, Dinner and a Movie, Bouncing Around the Room, Split Open and Melt, Magilla, Cavern, Run Like an Antelope

III: AC/DC Bag, The Landlady, Esther, Chalk Dust Torture, Bathtub Gin, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, HYHU > Touch Me, Harry Hood

E: Contact, Big Black Furry Creature From Mars

With The Giant Country Horns for most of set II and III

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“Golgi” 7.20.91 Arrowhead Ranch, Parksville, NY (partial)

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Weekend Nuggets: Arrowhead Ranch

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , , on May 8th, 2009 by Mr.Miner

DOWNLOADS OF THE WEEKEND:

Arrowhead Ranch '91

Arrowhead Ranch '91

These are the shows that everyone had on analog at some point in the ’90s.  Some of most circulated tapes, these Arrowhead Ranch shows were a staple of any fan’s listening rotation at one point or another.  Smack dab in the middle of Phish’s famed Summer ’91 tour with the Giant Country Horn, these shows were an early signpost on Phish’s road to glory.  With Dave Grippo on alto sax, Russell Remington on tenor, and Carl Gerhard on trumpet, songs such as “Stash,” “Split,” Gumbo,” and “Cavern” took on new life with new arrangements.  Bringing a fusion feel to Phish’s unique form of rock and roll, the horns added an undeniable dynamic to their music and improvisation.  These two shows, the second in SBD fashion, are a hallmark of Phish history.

***

7.20.91 Arrowhead Ranch, Parksville, NY < LINK

7.20.91 Arrowhead Ranch, Parksville, NY < TORRENT LINK

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Foam, The Squirming Coil, Llama, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, The Landlady, Bathtub Gin, My Sweet One, David Bowie

II: Buried Alive, Reba, Caravan, Dinner and a Movie, Flat Fee, Golgi Apparatus, Stash, TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIY, You Enjoy Myself, Rocky Top

E: Possum

With The Giant Country Horns

Source: AKG 451+ck8a in sbd booth, by Kevin Shapiro

***

7.21.91 Arrowhead Ranch, Parksville, NY  SBD < LINK

7.21.91 Arrowhead Ranch, Parksville, NY SBD < TORRENT LINK

I: Cavern, The Divided Sky, Guelah Papyrus, Poor Heart, Split Open and Melt, Lizards, The Landlady, Bouncing Around the Room, Mike’s Song > I am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: Tweezer, I Didn’t Know, Runaway Jim, Lawn Boy, The Sloth, Esther, AC/DC Bag, Contact > Tweezer Reprise

E1: Gumbo* > Gumbo reprise*, Touch Me*

E2: Fee*, Suzy Greenberg*

With The Giant Country Horns. *With Steve-O from New Orleans on washboard.

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VIDEO OF THE WEEKEND:

“Buried Alive” 7.20.91, Arrowhead Ranch

***

“Foam” 3.7.09, Hampton

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Jamming With The Aquarium

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , , on May 4th, 2009 by Mr.Miner
12.28.93 (C. Taylor Crothers)

12.28.93 (C. Taylor Crothers)

If you have been reading this site for a while, you’ve probably come to know how I feel about guests stepping onstage with Phish- more often than not it doesn’t really work.  Most of the time the improv is diluted by the band trying to cater to their guest by laying back musically; and other times they just don’t gel.  Yet there have been those special times when guests have not only fit in with Phish, but have pushed them and made the music better.  On this date sixteen years ago at The Palace Theatre in Albany, NY, long-time friends and touring cohorts, The Aquarium Rescue Unit, stepped on stage with Phish during “You Enjoy Myself,” resulting in the craziest, and one of the best, guest sit-ins of Phish’s career.

Aquarium Rescue Unit

The Aquarium Rescue Unit

A large part of the reason that these two bands gelled so well on stage, tapping into the same wacky psychedelic energy, was that they had a close friendship.  In the early ’90s, as both bands were trying to extend their fanbase into each other’s region of the country, Phish would open for ARU in the South, while they would return the favor and invite ARU to open for them in the Northeast.  As the two bands shared bills around the country, they developed a friendship and an affinity for each other, sharing an eccentric sense of humor.  In addition, the two bands were founding members of the H.O.R.D.E. Tour in 1992, an acronym for Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere.  Inspired by Perry Farrell’s Lollapalooza the year before, they sought to put a foot forward for the second wave of the “jam” scene.

Oteil Burbridge

Oteil Burbridge

Another reason why this guest spot worked out so well was the sheer musicianship of Col. Bruce Hampton’s crew.  Combine Phish with Oteil Burbridge, Jimmy Herring, and Jeff Sipe, and you had some serious chops on stage.  Subtract sixteen years from today, and you had a youthful, zany energy behind the collaboration, driving it at a breakneck pace in very exploratory directions.  This is the Phish of old, with like-minded friends, absolutely tearing shit apart.

19930508ph_adi_6_6

May 1993 (A.Dines)

With several added layers to the jam, members of both bands took liberty to improvise vocally, as well as musically, lending a bizarre psychedelia to much of the jam.  All the musicians onstage, while having a blast, were simultaneously taking their improvisation incredibly seriously, creating some insane music.  Page absolutely slaughtered it as the lone piano player on stage, leading some of the early parts of the jam.  Gordon and Oteil, two of the best bass players on the planet, were crushing it, while there was incredibly dynamic interplay between Trey and Jimmy Herring.  Jeff Sipe added some tight percussive tabla rhythms to Fish’s beat, and took over the drums as Fish moved to vacuum for a bit.  Following the Electrolux-centric section, the groove resurfaced as a quasi-ska beat, but almost immediately moved out of it as Fish hopped back onto the kit and Trey began to get loose.  If the madness of all these virtuoso musicians wasn’t enough, this jam also featured The Dude of Life carrying on with his antics and “singing” some nonsensical lyrics.

MAy 1993 (A.Dines)

MAy 1993 (A.Dines)

Before coming to an end, the improv turned the way of jazzy textures with some straight up scatting over top.  Touching on so many different musical feels, all with incredible coherency, this was one guest spot that certainly did not disappoint, and goes down in history as one of the most outrageous “YEMs” ever played.

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LISTEN to the 5.5.93 “YEM” NOW! ^ LINK (Roll over, click play)

***

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

5.5.93 The Palace Theatre, Albany, NY SBD < LINK

5.5.93 The Palace Theatre, Albany, NY SBD < TORRENT LINK

The Palace, Albany, NY

The Palace, Albany, NY

Although this is a repost from months ago, I figured it would be appropriate given today’s sixteen year anniversary of the show.  Beyond the absurd “YEM,” this show is filled with oddities, including “My Friend > Manteca > My Friend,” and “Cavern > Take the ‘A’ Train > Cavern.”  If you didn’t grab it last time it was posted, grab this SBD recording of a great show.

I: Rift, Guelah Papyrus, Foam, Sparkle, Stash, Bouncing Around the Room, It’s Ice, Glide, Maze, Golgi Apparatus

II: Runaway Jim, My Friend My Friend > Manteca > My Friend My Friend, Poor Heart, Weigh, Big Ball Jam, Ya Mar, You Enjoy Myself*

E: Amazing Grace, Cavern > Take the A-Train > Cavern

*25 min jam with Aquarium Rescue Unit and the Dude of Life.

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Please Welcome to the Stage…

Posted in Uncategorized with the tags , on November 12th, 2008 by Mr.Miner

The excitement of Phish shows existed in their intense compact journeys into the unknown.  While trying to craft artistically coherent sets, the band was often limited by venue imposed curfews ranging from 11 pm to 12 pm, as very few shows extended past midnight.  While the band tried to squeeze many aspects of their playing within two time-constrained sets, they always left you fiending for more.  One of the most frustrating things in the second set of a Phish show was when the band called up a guest to jam with them.  With already limited time, when these sit-ins happened, you kissed fifteen to twenty of those precious minutes good-bye.

12.30.03 w/ P. Funk

12.30.03 w/ P. Funk - photo: Max Z.

Regardless of who the guest was or vast their musical talent, Phish + 1 could never match the intensity and fury of the locked and loaded quartet.  More often than not, when a guest came up, the resulting music was watered down by the forced, unnatural communication.  Did all guest spots effect shows negatively?  Certainly not.  However, if given a choice to have Phish play with any guest or just rage as a band, I would cast all other musicians aside every time.

Sure, some of the guest sit-ins weren’t musically poor, but they provided no adrenaline or adventure to the course of the evening.  Examples of harmless sit-ins that ate up precious Phish time are plentiful.  Such occasions include Derek Trucks’ “Possum,” “Funky Bitch” double encore appearance in Charlotte on 7.7.99, Scott Murawski’s guest appearance at Great Woods for “Possum” and Skynyrd’s “Tuesday’s Gone” at the end of two great nights, Dave Matthews’ appearance in Virginia on 6.17.95 to cover “Three Little Birds, or  B.B King’s extended on-stage visit at the Meadowlands in 2003.  These musical passages were fun for the masses, and clearly enjoyable for the band as well, but after a show of pure fire when you are jonesing for one more ripping Phish jam, a guest appearance was inevitably a let down.

The fundamental issue at hand is that no one can enhance the Phish.  They have perfected their art, and when a fifth wheel gets thrown onto the car, it is usually for fun and entertainment value rather than musical direction (see the P-Funk medley from Miami ’03).  While most guest appearances fall relatively flat, there have been some instances where they turned out incredibly well, with guests complimenting Phish’s improv with some of their own.  Below are some of the better guest appearances in Phish’s career.

Bela Fleck 11.29.95, “Slave to the Traffic Light”, Municipal Auditorium, Nashville TN

Bela Fleck

Bela Fleck

Adding his virtuoso talent into the mix on the delicate Phish jam proved to be incredibly successful.  As Trey and Mike played off of Bela’s banjo melodies, the band created a gorgeous rendition of their old school classic.  With true jazz-based improvisation, the musicians echoed and connected each others lines while Fishman balanced the jam on his shimmering cymbal-driven beat.  Getting into some intense musical communication, this is an example of an improvisational maestro fitting right in with what the band does.  Bela also joined the band twice previously in ’93 and ’94, and once later, with the Flecktones, in France during Summer ’97.

LISTEN TO THE 11.29.95 SLAVE w/ Bela Fleck NOW! (Roll Over link and press play)

Karl Perazzo 10.29.96-11.3.96, Tallahassee, Atlanta, West Palm, Gainesville

Karl Perazzo

Karl Perazzo

The veteran Santana percussionist sat it with Phish for a run of shows surrounding their transformative Halloween set in 1996.  The centerpiece of this run was the band’s cover of Talking Head’s “Remain In Light,” an album for which Phish needed multiple extra musicians to round out the polyrhythmic compositions.  Yet, Perazzo played a major role in the progression of Phish’s sound from fiery arena rock to collaborative groove-based playing; a shift that would alter the band’s musical direction forever.  His extra layers of percussion amidst this Southern run brought Phish’s jamming to a slower, cooperative tempo- something that can be heard on many selections from these shows.  The Tallahassee “Mike’s” on 10.29, 11.2’s “Crosseyed > Antelope” from West Palm, and the Gainesville “Tweezer” on 11.3 are all terrific examples of this phenomenon.  Having sat in with the band earlier that year in Europe, and many years earlier in 1992, Perazzo knew what Phish was all about.  When listening to shows in the Midwest after the Perazzo run, one can hear the noticeable difference in pace and groove as Phish began their transformation to 1997.

LISTEN TO 11.3.96 GAINSVILLE, FL TWEEZER w/ Karl Perazzo NOW!

Michael Ray 10.14.94, 2.26.96, 9.26.99, 9.9.00, New Orleans, Albany

Michael Ray

Michael Ray

Michael Ray is one of the more accomplished musicians to grace Phish’s stage.  A veteran of The Sun Ra Arkestra and his own Cosmic Crewe, Ray also worked with Trey on Surrender to the Air, an album of free jazz experiments.  Sitting in by himself at four different shows throughout the band’s career (and three other times as part of the Cosmic Country Horns) Michael Ray and Phish have had a close musical relationship for years.  All of Ray’s guest appearances have come in his hometown of New Orleans except for the last.  On 9.9.00, the second show of Phish’s fall tour in Albany, NY, Ray joined the band for most of the second set, including “Sand,” “Makisupa Policeman, “Funky Bitch,” “Cars, Trucks, & Buses,” and “Harry Hood.”  Already quite familiar with Phish and their improvisational direction, Ray felt right at home coming on stage mid-jam and adding his searing psychedelic lines and on-stage antics to the final peak of a dark twenty-minute “Sand.”  Ray’s Phish literacy was quite apparent as he wove in a tease of “First Tube” to his trumpet solo.  The cover of “Funky Bitch” provided the perfect trampoline for Ray to bounce his melodies off, as he lent his Bayou flavor to this Northeastern excursion.

LISTEN TO 9.9.00 SAND and FUNKY BITCH w/ Michael Ray NOW!

Peter Apfelbaum: 11.30.96 “Timber Ho > Tatse”, Arco Arena, Sacremento, CA

Peter Apfelbaum

Peter Apfelbaum

In one of the best-ever guest sit -in segments, Peter Apfelbaum took center stage in a performance that brought the audience back to the late ’70s era of jazz-rock fusion.  A Grammy-nominated musician for various projects, Apfelbaum is one of few artists who has appeared on stage with both the Grateful Dead and Phish.  With his tenor saxophone, he joined Phish in a twisting psychedelic adventure of “Timber Ho > Taste” that provided the meat of the second set.  This segment has been a fan favorite since the night it happened- something very rare for guest spots.  In addition, Apfelbaum joined the band, and John McEuen on lap slide guitar, for the encore of the best “Amazing Grace” (w/jam) the band has ever played.  Apfelbaum went on to play with Trey’s solo band when it ballooned to a nine and ten piece ensemble.

LISTEN TO 11.30.96 TIMBER HO > JAM > TASTE w/ Peter Apfelbaum NOW!

Jay-Z: 6.18.04 “99 Problems” & “Big’ Pimpin” Coney Island, NY

rocafella.com

photo: rocafella.com

In a genre shattering mind-fuck, Jay-Z, king of the modern hip-hop scene and Brooklyn native, blew everyone away by stepping on stage with Phish at Coney Island during their final summer.  Retired at the time, no one could believe that Mr. Shawn Carter, himself, was onstage with our goofy heroes.  In an appropriate role reversal, Phish provided the tight backing music to two of Jay-Z’s biggest hits as the Jigga Man stepped to the mic in front of a flabbergasted crowd.  “Big Pimpin'” provided the musical highlight of the stint, even if the stoned-out hippie crowd might not have “bounced” like New York clubs.  Phish held the intricate beats and melodies perfectly for the Grammy winning single, proving once again, anything can happen at a Phish show.  They began the hip-hop interlude with the heavier and more recent single “99 Problems” of The Black Album.  Jay-Z was clearly enthusiastic about the appearance, commenting between songs, “You was hiding all this from me! I felt it!”  In a joining of two unquestionable kings of their scenes, the results were ridiculous memories nobody will soon forget.

LISTEN TO 6.18.04 99 PROBLEMS AND BIG PIMPIN’ NOW!

The Grammys

The Grammys

An article about guest sit ins would not be complete without a brief mention of the “Worst Guest Appearance of All-Time.” In Las Vegas on 9.29.00, there occurred a complete debacle.  After beginning the second set with the unthinkable combo of “Dinner and a Movie,” “Moma Dance,” “2001 > Fluffhead” and a buffer of “Meatstick,” Phish welcomed Kid Rock to the stage.  With no idea how many drugs were done and/or shared before this miserable idea was hatched, the audience was mostly confused as Trey’s “buddy” made it to stage in the last week of shows before the hiatus.  Ruining the second half of the show with songs that Phish could have slaughtered, this pristine night quickly turned into a mockery.  Spoiling the potential greatness of “Rapper’s Delight” and “Walk This Way,” the band kept the guy on for “You Shook Me All Night Long” and an encore of “We’re An American Band.”  Taking off into the Vegas nightlife and a hiatus that was less than a week away, the members of Phish were clearly over-indulged by this point, and in need of a break!

What are you’re opinions on Phish guests? Respond in Comments below!

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.23.91 The Bayou, Washington, DC SBD < LINK

phish-summertour-91This show is special for multiple reasons.  First, it is a complete performance with the Giant Country Horns.  Second, it took place at The Bayou, a great club that no longer exists.  Third, it contains a performance of “Flat Fee.”  Fourth, it is a crispy SBD.  This is a classic from the Summer of ’91.  Enjoy!

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Foam, The Squirming Coil, My Sweet One, Oh Kee Pa Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg, Stash, Flat Fee, Bouncing Around the Room, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: Llama, Reba, Cavern, Lizards, The Landlady, Tweezer, Sweet Adeline*, Dinner and a Movie, Gumbo, Touch Me, Caravan, Golgi Apparatus*

With The Giant Country Horns.    *missing from recording

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