Cosmic Country Horns.
 Cosmic Country Horns; ended in jazz jam involving megaphone on Trey's guitar and an electric screwdriver on Mike's bass.
It’s Ice included a Right Off (Miles Davis) tease. YEM through Cavern featured the Cosmic Country Horns: Michael Ray and Carl “Geerz” Gerhard on trumpet, Dave “The Truth” Grippo on alto sax, Tony Tate on tenor sax, Jerome Theriot on baritone sax, and Rick Trolsen on trombone. Wolfman's featured an Alumni Blues jam. Suzy ended with a jazz jam involving a megaphone on Trey’s guitar and an electric screwdriver on Mike’s bass. Trey dedicated Antelope to his friend, who was, at that moment, giving birth. He recommended that she name the child “Marco Esquandolas.” Cavern contained Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat) teases.
It was May 1994. My second voyage to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival had come and gone. I was now sticking around the Crescent City for a few days to catch Phish at the State Palace Theater before returning to sunny Florida. To save money we decided to camp on the Mississippi Bayou, home to many a legend, and many a biting insect.
Two nights before the show, while camping out, I made the mistake of not covering every inch of my body to protect it from insects. My ankles were torn apart and dotted like a page of Braille from all the bites.
I awoke the next morning and my left ankle was severely swollen, and very sore and tender. It hurt to walk on it. All I could think to myself was that this could not and would not ruin my Phish experience. The swelling would go down and I would have no problem. Well not quite. Through the course of the day my ankle continued to bother me but it was far from unbearable. I continued to think that it would slowly go away, so as not to interfere with the show the following evening. With that thought in mind, I went to bed.
Lo and behold, I woke up the next morning, the swelling was gone, and any pain had all but vanished. All I had left to do was enjoy the show that evening. As we waited in line for the show to start, rumors abounded that the Cosmic Country Horns would be joining the band as they had in NYC earlier in the tour. I made it through a great first set, still no problems.
The second set began, and it was really inspirational. They kicked it off with “Antelope”, one of my all-time favorites. This was made even more special when Trey dedicated the “Antelope” jam to a friend back in Burlington who had given birth to a baby during set break. He playfully wished "the baby [went on to live their] life something like that jam" and that it be named Marco Esquandolas. You wouldn't happen to have any spike…man?
The set continued with a “Bouncin'”, and then “YEM” into jam and…bring on the horns. The Cosmic Country Horns (The Giant Country Horns + Michael Ray), marched out on stage in all their psychedelic glory blowing their brass to the beat while Trey and the crowd cheered them on. From there they proceeded to blow the roof off the State Palace Theater with made-for-horns songs like “Julius”, “Magilla”, and even a rendition of Duke Ellington/Juan Tizol's Caravan.
The show was a real barn burner and gently set me down on an astral plane somewhere this side of the Milky Way. I found myself waiting outside the venue about an hour after it ended when Mike Gordon came strolling by with a friend. "Hey, what's up?" I said. "Not much, me and a friend are going to grab a drink, wanna come?" Mike replied. Being the responsible friend that I am, and knowing how much it sucks thinking that you have lost a member of your party in a town as sketchy as New Orleans (although I love it), I declined, choosing to wait for my pals.
By this point I was exhausted, and had long since forgotten about my previously bad ankle. Unfortunately, I awoke to a painful reminder. The ankle was again swollen, only now it had become so painful I could bear no weight on it or even move it. I thought I had broken my ankle. We had a long drive ahead of us and my first priority was to see a doctor upon returning. It turned out the excessive bug bites had infected my ankle causing the pain and swelling. After twenty-four hours and a few antibiotics, I was 100 percent healed.
Looking back on the whole event, I am still amazed how I was able to will sickness away long enough to enjoy a healing of another sort, a spiritual one.
Drove out to NOLA from Gainesville for this show, over the ten days I caught 5 shows, Fox 4/23, charlotte 4/24, Tampa 4/29, Orlando 4/30 and then this awesome throwdown. We got to the venue early and were hanging by the backstage door when we heard the horns playing, so at least it wasn't a total surprise to us though they made us wait up til the YEM for it. The State Palace is/was a beautiful old theatre with a couple of balcony levels and huge chandeliers like Phantom of the Opera. Though not as well known as the Fox, it is easily its rival. I was on the rail right in front of Mike with Mimi Fishman on my 3 o'clock. I asked her if she was going to play but she said no. First set was hot, a little short. We thought the horns would come out at the beginning of set two but instead they got all the way through the YEM up til the jam at the end, then on cue the horn players came marching across the stage from right to left, Grippo in the lead and Gears right behind him, all dressed for Mardi Gras. They went back behind Page where the risers and mikes suddenly were revealed by a dropped curtain. The horns played for the rest of the set and it was fantastic! A couple of notes here, there were actually ten horn players in all but I don't think Trey had all the names. They also followed the Caravan encore with Cavern, also with horns. Don't know why that song has dropped from the setlists and also the posted audios, but I know they played it and it's on my cassette of the show. This was one hot show and well worth the drive.
Someone mentioned that Phish sang "Sweet Adeline" a capella a micorphona at the Sommerville show. I remember that they did this another time, at the Chance down in Poughkeepsie on 5/4/91 (maybe it's not the 4th, but it was the first Wed or Thurs of that month, and it was not in the news- letter). Trey came out and said that the Chance used to be an old vaudevill theater, and that back in the 20's when the theater was used, there were no mics. So they came out and sang the song. I was really impressed with the crowd's silence during the song!
Two other notes about this particular show. First, during "Col. Forbin's Ascent," this guy dressed in a leopardskin (fake, I hope) toga and a haircut like Glen Plake's (an extreme skier with an 18"orange mowhawk, for thos of you in warmer climates) came out during the narration part. He had a large Norwegian-type horn that was about 8' long and curled up at the end. Trey put Mike's mic down close to the ground and then began to narrate how Icculus was sending the famous mockingbird over the hills. The whole time, this guy kept blatting on the horn. So it sounded like: "At this point (BRRRAAAAWWWWK!) Icculus sends the fam (PPPPRRRRRBBBBTT!) ing bird across the moun- (rrrrrAAAAAAWWWWWWWKKKkkkss) to steal the helping friend (RRRREEEEKKKKKKOOOOOEEOEOOOEOO!)..." You get the idea.
Second, the only encore to the concert was Harry Hood. At the end of the song, the band left, but Trey stayed and said, "We're playing the song in honor of the Vermont Dairy Farmers who are staging a protest against Harry P. Hood products. You should all boycott Harry Hood ice cream because of their unfair policies. We'll still play the song because it's a great song, but we're 100% behind the farmers." Why the other members of the band disappeared so quickly is beyond me.
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