This is the first of two nights in Parksville, NY. The Giant Country Horns (GCH - Dave Grippo, Russell Remington, and Carl Gerhard) join them for much of the show, although the first five songs are without horns. Chalk Dust starts the show, followed by Foam. Squirming Coil is sounding good and they explode into a rocking Llama. The GCH get into position and follow a great Oh Kee Pa with super Suzy horn lines. This is one of the better versions of Suzy Greenberg with the GCH. The Landlady is after that, pretty good. Bath Tub Gin, I prefer it without horns. My Sweet One is after that. They had their blue grass skills dialed in at this point. They could summon them at will. They end a relatively average set with a terrific David Bowie. It kind of comes out of nowhere in the mid-song jam. This is a really good early days Bowie in my opinion. They finish the set strong.
One of my favorite versions of Buried Alive starts the second set. “Music to shower by.” This song has grown on me thru the years. We then enter into the state of mind which is Reba. Well played intro part. I love the bass effect that Mike would use for the extended jam. I think it’s a harmonizer of some sort (Boss or DigiTech?) with lots of compression. Bagged, tagged, sold. Then they do a Duke Ellington tune called Caravan. This is my all time favorite song that Phish did with GCH. I’ve always thought that the Phish sound – while it is rock and roll – has a certain jazz quality to it, both in its structure and its improvisation. Add some horns to it and they're the "Johnny B Fishman jazz ensemble". Sorry but I just don’t like the way Dinner and a Movie sounds with horns. Next they play another jazzy piece called Flat Fee. A triumphant Golgi Apparatus complete with horns. Was it for this my life I sought? Maybe so and maybe not, a horny Stash, followed by TMWSIY > Avenu Malkenu > TMWSIY. This was part of the regular GCH repertoire. Avenu Malkenu (based on a Hebrew prayer) is always preceded by TMWSIY, and usually followed by TMWSIY. Does this mean Col. Forbin is Jewish? Think about it, won't you. YEM is after that, a decent version. I think the song sounds a little off with the horn lines they used. A nice Page organ solo gives it some spunk. I’m not sure when Page started playing a B3 w/ Leslie at shows, or what he used on this tour, but he is sounding great on these recordings. YEM finishes with a rocking jam > vocal jam. Rocky Top set closer. Yehaaa!
A Possum encore finishes the show. There are all kinds of teases peppered into this Possum.
When I listen to these shows with the Giant Country Horns I can see why a horn section didn’t become a regular thing. Most Phish songs are more a less written for a quartet, without horns. But that doesn’t mean that they’re un-amazing shows. In fact I would highly recommend them to any phan who hasn’t heard them.