Giant Country Horn: Pink Talking Fish Welcomes Carl Gerhard & Honors Frank Zappa In Boston

Watch pro-shot video of a wild segment mixing Phish and Frank Zappa classics.

By Scott Bernstein Dec 5, 2022 1:42 pm PST

Pink Talking Fish played a hometown concert at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club on Friday that included a guest appearance from trumpeter Carl Gerhard of Giant Country Horns fame. Additionally, with the show taking place on the anniversary month of guitarist Frank Zappa’s birth and death, the Phish/Talking Heads/Pink Floyd tribute act played tribute to him during an inventive segment.

The PTF lineup of bassist Eric Gould, guitarist Cal Kehoe, drummer Zack Burwick and keyboardist Richard James opened Friday’s first set with “The Show Must Go On” off Pink Floyd’s iconic The Wall LP. “Axilla (Part 1)” then led into a “Cities” that encompassed “One Of These Days.” A take on the Phish classic “Taste” followed ahead of Talking Heads favorites “Road To Nowhere” and “Psycho Killer.” Next came Pink Floyd’s “Dogs” and a “Slippery People” featuring “Ha Ha Ha” within.

Carl “Geerz” Gerhard emerged to help Pink Talking Fish close the frame with “Cavern.” Gerhard and saxophonists Russ Remington and Dave Grippo toured with Phish as the Giant Country Horns during the quartet’s summer tour in 1991. The run marked the only time Phish toured with a horn section. Gerhard and variations of the Giant Country Horns sat-in with Phish at a handful of 1994 concerts. Additionally, Carl joined Phish for guest appearances at both nights of their November 1998 run at Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia and added to “Party Time” in Portsmouth, Virginia on June 19, 2012. Pink Talking Fish first reunited the original three-piece Giant Country Horns as their guests at the Paradise in 2017.

Pink Talking Fish kicked off Friday’s second set with “La Grange” by ZZ Top, which Phish has covered in the past. “Girlfriend Is Better” then slid into “The Sloth.” After the ensuing “Run Like Hell,” Steve Learson came out on keys and vocals for “Houses In Motion.” The keyboardist, who performs with PTF when James has Neighbor gigs, stuck around for play keytar on “Frankenstein.” Next came a pairing of “Have A Cigar” and “What A Day That Was.”

The quartet honored Frank Zappa with “Peaches En Regalia,” but that was just the start. “Peaches” bled into a “Split Open And Melt” that encapsulated the beloved FZ instrumental “Watermelon In Easter Hay” complete with Kehoe channeling the late guitarist’s tone and vibe. Pink Talking Fish returned to where they left off in “Split” and incorporated a second go at “Peaches En Regalia” before concluding “Split Open And Melt” and the set. The group said farewell with a “Sleeping Monkey” encore.

Watch pro-shot footage of the wild “Peaches”/”Split”/”Watermelon In Easter Hay” segment below:

Pink Talking Fish (See 5 videos)
Pink Talking Fish (See 22 videos)

In other Pink Talking Fish news, the group will return to Massachusetts on March 11, 2023 for a special concert at The Cabot in Beverly. The band will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Dark Side Of The Moon and the 40th anniversary of the Talking Heads’ show featured in Stop Making Sense by performing both albums in their entireties along with a Phish encore. Vocalists Gina Alibrio, Jenna Guiggey and Ashley Ellis will guest with PTF as will percussionist Brendan Tommaney (Bearly Dead). Tickets go on sale this Friday, December 9 at 10 a.m. ET.

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Setlist (via Pink Talking Fish Facebook)

Set One: The Show Must Go On, Axilla Part 1 > Cities > One Of These Days > Cities, Taste, Road To Nowhere, Psycho Killer > Dogs, Slippery People > Ha Ha Ha > Slippery People, Cavern*

Set Two: La Grange, Girlfriend Is Better > The Sloth, Run Like Hell, Houses In Motion**, Frankenstein***, Have A Cigar > What A Day That Was, Peaches En Regalia > Split Open And Melt > Watermelon In Easter Hay > Split Open And Melt > Peaches En Regalia > Split Open And Melt

Encore: Sleeping Monkey

  • *w/ Carl Gerhard on Trumpet
  • **w/ Steve Learson on keys and vocals
  • ***w/ Steve Learson on Keytar
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