Wednesday 04/24/2019 by howard_roark

WEEKLY CATCH WITH OSIRIS #12: NEW ORLEANS FAIRGROUNDS - NEW ORLEANS, LA - 04/26/1996

[Welcome To Weekly Catch With Osiris! A weekly series brought to you from the team at Osiris. Each Wednesday we're going to bring you a historic Phish show from that week with some commentary. Our goal is to go beyond official releases and well-known shows to bring you some of the overlooked gems throughout Phish history. If you like what you find, we'd encourage you to check out the assortment of podcasts at the Osiris! This week's catch comes from Michael Shield of Across The Margin.]

Listen: New Orleans Fairgrounds, New Orleans, LA - 04/26/1996

With the 2019 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival kicking off this week down in Louisiana, we at Osiris figured this would be an ideal time to Weekly Catch-up with the instances in which Phish played the festival, occurrences which have taken place twice, first in 1996 and then eighteen years later in 2014. While we would like to direct you towards the exploratory, fiery “Down With Disease” that ripped through the fairgrounds in 2014, the focus here today is on the quartet’s first appearance at Jazz Fest, where Phish played and enthused and entirely fun “jukebox” set highlighting many of the facets that make them so special — and oh yeah, Michael Ray (Sun Ra) joined the party for a hot minute!

Festival (Non-Phish fests of course…) sets are what they are — festival sets. Besides the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival they have rocked Bonnaroo (and are set to return this Summer), Outside Lands, Austin City Limits, and Lock’n. On these instances it is assumed that the band is targeting their output toward an audience that would benefit from their more accessible offerings, but this is Phish we are talking about, so even within the confines of what the true heads deem custy-ish, they are poised to come with it, pulling from their their bag of tricks and getting deep from time to time — and this warm April evening in NOLA was no different.

This night started out with a funky, buoyant “Ya Mar” (with an apt “When The Saints Go Marching In” tease) that set a jovial atmosphere that coursed through the ensuing “AC/DC Bag” and “Sparkle.” But the tone turned on a dime when “Stash” took the reins launching the band into darker territories they would hardly re-visit (excepting the “David Bowie” closer) the rest of the evening. The “Cars Trucks Buses” that followed enlightened the mood and featured the aforementioned Michael Ray (Ray has played trumpet on “CTB” two other times, once on 9/26/99 and then again on 9/9/00). The “You Enjoy Myself” to follow was standard, yet tight and driven, and led into the most interesting moment of the night where the concluding vocal jam led into a festive acapella opening to “Wolfman's Brother.”

Following a “Scent of A Mule” the rest of the set fashioned itself in the semblance of a great hits compilation as they ripped through “2001,” "Harry Hood," “Sample in a Jar,” “A Day in the Life” and “David Bowie (with a “Caravan” jam).” More acapella Phish initiated the encore with "Hello My Baby" and “Cavern” enthusiastically closed down a show that, in hindsight, played out as a celebration, a moment for the band to relish — their first Jazz Fest.

Treat yourself to to a trip to N’awlins and down memory lane, delving into an energized set which has been archived over at LivePhish.com (with all proceeds going to Tipitina’s Foundation and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation!)

Thanks for reading and hopefully you're enjoying this series. Another Weekly Catch with Osiris will be up next week!

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Comments

, comment by MsCharacterZero
MsCharacterZero I was there!!! This was my very first Jazz Fest!!!
, comment by DaleCooper
DaleCooper This was the show/experience where I got it.

Still, to this day, the climax of Cavern and the brief rain that came with it (at the perfect moment) is still one of my three favorite Phish moments.

It was a perfect few days that I hold near and dear.
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