Phish & Karl Perazzo Perform Together In Gainesville On Fall Tour 1996

By Scott Bernstein Nov 3, 2020 6:29 am PST

This year marks 25 years since Phish’s historic Fall Tour 1995. In recognition of that noteworthy tour and to make up for the lack of shows this fall, JamBase presents a daily retrospective highlighting a noteworthy moment from a Phish fall tour concert that took place on that date over the past 25 years (read a note on Fall 1997 here). The 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour series runs each day between the start of Phish Fall Tour 1995 on September 27 through that tour’s finale on December 17.

Phish was joined by percussionist Karl Perazzo for their entire concert at the O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Florida on this date during Fall Tour 1996. Perazzo sat-in for most of the show on October 29, 1996 in Tallahassee and repeated the feat on Halloween in Atlanta and on November 2, 1996 in West Palm Beach before making his final appearance with the quartet in Gainesville.

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In 1991, Carlos Santana recruited Karl Perazzo to join Santana. Phish forged a relationship with the percussionist in 1992 as the opening act for Santana over the course of a lengthy summer tour. The four-piece and Perazzo crossed paths once again when Phish supported Santana on a tour of Europe in the summer of 1996. Karl played a big role in Phish’s performance of the Talking Heads album Remain In Light on Halloween 1996 as part of his week-long run with the band.

Karl’s additions to the quartet’s music were tasteful when called for and powerful when the moment required. Phish and their guest kicked off the evening in Gainesville with “My Friend, My Friend” and “Runaway Jim.” A display of Perazzo’s gentle but effective style can be heard on the ballad “Billy Breathes” that followed. Karl then filled space nicely with conga work on the breaks within “The Sloth” and put his full rig to the test on a percussion-fueled pairing of “NICU” and “Sample In A Jar” before he locked in with drummer Jon Fishman to provide a strong base on “Theme From The Bottom.” Both “Bouncing Around The Room” and “Character Zero,” which closed the first set, benefitted from having a percussionist on stage.

Perazzo starred on the “Timber (Jerry The Mule)” that began the second set, as he had the perfect sound to augment each section of the song. The percussionist also found just the right spots to fill within “Divided Sky” and “Wolfman’s Brother,” especially on the final segment of the former. While Karl added a nice feel to “Sparkle,” his work on the 17-minute “Tweezer” that followed was among the highlights of his week on the road with Phish. The band gave their guest plenty of room on the groovy and powerful rendition. A cover of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?” was up next and then Perazzo brought his A-Game on “Possum.” The percussionist’s last guest spot to date with Phish concluded with a set-closing “Tweezer Reprise” and “Fire” encore.

Listen to an audience recording of the entire show below via FromTheAquarium:

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