Battery Park, Burlington, VT
Soundcheck: Alumni Blues
Set 2: Dinner and a Movie > Cavern > TMWSIYThe Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIYThe Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday -> Mike'sMike's Song > HydrogenI Am Hydrogen > WeekapaugWeekapaug Groove, HYHUHold Your Head Up > Touch Me > HYHUHold Your Head Up, Frankenstein
 Giant Country Horns.
 Phish debut; Giant Country Horns.
Notes: This free show featured The Giant Country Horns for all songs except Oh Kee Pa, My Sweet One, both TMWSIYs, and both HYHUs. This show also marked the Phish debut of Touch Me. Frankenstein was played for the first time since December 3, 1989 (217 shows) and Flat Fee was played for the first time since September 13, 1988 (347 shows). Fishman was introduced before Touch Me as Henrietta and, several seconds later, the Lizard Queen.
This show was part of the "1991 Giant Country Horns Summer Tour."
I was 11 years old, and my family and I stayed in the Burlington area every year for a few weeks during the summer. Apparently we heard the music from the playground area of Battery Park and wandered over to have a look. I had no idea at the time who or what I was watching, which is crazy considering the love for the band that I have now. The only reason I remembered this show was from some photos in a family album I saw recently, then the memories came flooding back!
Someone alluded to the dust in the park, and that was certainly the case down front as a bunch of people were jamming out and kicking it up. I vividly remember Contact as the closer with the horn section, and its catchy "Sesame Street" esque sing along quality. A very festive atmosphere all over town that day, as the crowd spilled over to Church Street afterwards where we had dinner at an outdoor cafe. My first show ever, if you can count it as such!
A group of horn players called the Giant Country Horns sat in with Phish for the summer shows between 7/11/91 and 7/27/91. The horn section, named after “Giant Country" white bread added new arrangements to the line up. The original trio included Dave Grippo (a music teacher from Burlington, Vermont) on alto saxophone, Russell Remington on tenor saxophone, and Carl Gerhard on trumpet. They had mini tramps and wore white tuxedoes. This is also one of the first Phish tapes that I got my hands on.
Phish is introduced and they start into Oh Kee Pa. Very ceremonious. Then Suzy Greenberg. Enter GCH with the horn lines. The Divided Sky that follows is very memorable and has some of the best sustain I’ve ever heard Trey get on a Divided Sky. Tube Screamers x2 plus Languedoc custom guitar! This version is definitely on my top ten Divided list. Flat Fee is a long extinct song that Trey wrote while learning from Ernie Stires, a Vermont based composer and musician. This is one of the most overtly jazz songs that I’ve heard from Phish that wasn’t a cover song. Followed by My Sweet One; a blue grass song. The band shows their versatility with the additional musicians and the new horn charts that are added. It probably required a fair amount of rehearsal. Stash, The Lizards, and The Landlady finish off the set. The horn lines work in some places, and not so much in others. This is the first show that the GCH played with Phish, so the first set has a few bumps, but nothing to make it noticeably bad.
Set II: Let’s go out to dinner and see a movie. The part at the beginning is played by the horns. I’m not sure what I think. Listen to it yourself and see how it sounds to you. The trumpet work by “Gears” Gerhard is sounding great in this version. Cavern with lots of horns backing the song. TMWSIY (the theme song for Gamehendge) is next. This is a song that they would play once in a while until the late ‘90’s. Now it has all but disappeared (as I write this at least). Avenu Malkenu is in the middle. Mazel tov! This is another song that has disappeared these days. The vocal harmony they offer up for this prayer is divine. The Mike's Groove that follows is one of the best of 1991. Another reason to check out this show. HYHU > Touch Me (debut)> HYHU. This is a song that was played strictly with the GCH. Henrietta serenades the crowd, with the Giant Country Horns sounding huge. Nice solo work by “The Truth” Grippo. A monster Frankenstein finishes the set. Great saxophone backing.
Two songs by Mike Gordon for the encore. First a nice Contact, and then BBFCFM. They finish the show by threatening the crowd with death based on the insane assertion that the phans are extraterrestrial beings. I mean, why do you try to kill us? Just cause we’re a big black furry creature from mars?
Mike is on fire this show, Page sounds great on the organ, and Trey and Fish are right there as well. If you’re collecting shows, definitely get this show. A fine example of why the ’91 GCH tour is so outstanding.