Cars Trucks Buses
Historian: Phillip Zerbo (pzerbo)
It made perfect sense when a band that cut its teeth on the road offered a tribute to a ubiquitous rest stop sign. Phish debuted this instrumental during the first show of the fall ’95 tour in Sacramento, CA (9/27/95). This short, keyboard-driven interlude quickly established itself as a regular, and was by far the most frequently played of Page’s compositions during the 90s.
One of the most exciting versions of this tune is from JazzFest in spring ‘96, which features a Cajun injection courtesy of Michael Ray. Michael Ray reprised his JazzFest performance with hot version of “CTB” on 9/26/99 in New Orleans and on 9/9/00 in Albany, NY. “CTB” seemed closed to the possibility of opening up into a jam, with most early renditions being more or less similar. That changed at the Flynn Theatre gig on 3/18/97: after a strong “Harry Hood,” Dave Grippo and James Harvey sat in for the longest version to date at just under ten minutes. "CTB" was in heavy rotation from its debut through 1997, settling in to much lighter role up through the hiatus. “Cars Trucks Buses” made three appearances post-hiatus (7/26/03, 11/29/03, 6/18/04) and four to-date in Phish 3.0 (3/8/09, 8/16/09, 8/12/10 and 6/18/11).
"Cars Trucks Buses" – Phish, 6/18/11, Raleigh, NC
Outside of Phish, “Cars Trucks Buses” found a regular outlet in Page’s side projects. Check out this hot Vida Blue version from 4/27/02 in New Orleans; Vida Blue’s performance on 7/13/02 at the House of Blues in Hollywood with Mike sitting in on bass; 1/4/04 in St. Petersburg, FL with Fish on drums; or the encore of his 'solo' band on 6/4/07 at New York's Irving Plaza. Project Logic & John Scofield offered a sizzling rendition of “CTB” on Mockingbird’s Sharin’ in the Groove CD. DJ Logic continues to perform the song in his live gigs; during Project Logic’s opening set for Vida Blue on 4/20/02 in Burlington, Page joined them for a fun and unusual version, recordings of which do circulate. For the ultimate in jazzy renditions, witness the version offered at the 5/7/08 Jammy Awards gig in New York that featured Page, Roy Haynes on drums, James Carter on tenor sax, Nicholas Payton on trumpet and Christian McBride on bass.
"Cars Trucks Buses" – 2008 Jammys, 5/8/08, New York, NY (Part 1)
"Cars Trucks Buses" – 2008 Jammys, 5/8/08, New York, NY (Part 2)