The latest Phish live archival release features the band’s July 19, 1991 performance at the Somerville Theatre in Somerville, Massachusetts. Guitarist Trey Anastasio, keyboardist Page McConnell, drummer Jon Fishman and bassist Mike Gordon were in the midst of their lone tour with a horn section when they made their sixth visit to the Somerville Theatre. The show issued today is just the second official recording featuring The Giant Country Horns to get the Live Phish treatment and first 1991 release in seven years.
Phish’s horn section consisted of Dave “The Truth” Grippo, Russell “Killer” Remington and Carl “Gears” Gerhard. The tour started one week prior in Burlington, so the seven-piece had hit its stride by the time they visited the Boston-area venue. After opening with a horn-driven “Golgi Apparatus,” the band and the horns dropped “The Landlady” into “Bouncing Around The Room.” Hints of “Bouncing” and the Jeopardy! theme song can be found in the “David Bowie” intro. The “Bowie” is a fierce one that may be short but sure is sweet. Phish and The Giant Country Horns would work through a memorable “You Enjoy Myself” a few songs later that included a particularly cool “Frankenstein” tease from Trey and the horns throwing in hints of “Chameleon” by Herbie Hancock.
After “YEM” was “Gumbo,” a staple of the horn tour, which featured introductions of the section from Anastasio. Trey finished by saying, “and of course, the last member of the Giant Country Horns, on trombone ladies and gentlemen, Henrietta!” Fishman then took center stage, and Anastasio jumped behind the kit for a cover of The Doors’ “Touch Me.” Famously, an animated video of “Esther” was shown in between sets.
The second set in Somerville started with a pairing of “Suzy Greenberg” into “Divided Sky,” two songs that benefitted greatly from the horns. Next, Jon Fishman’s mother Mimi Fishman made her first-ever appearance on vacuum for “I Didn’t Know.” Anastasio introduced Mimi by saying, “Without this woman, none of us would be here.” One of the most interesting moments of the night came a few songs later during “Tweezer.” Fish rapped as the jam came to a guitar-driven peak. The only “The Mango Song” of the tour followed along with a wild “Big Black Furry Creatures From Mars” set closer. For the encore, Phish and Gerhard performed “Lawn Boy” and then Phish went sans horns for a “Runaway Jim” sung as “Runaway Yim.”