Phish 11/2/96 Coral Sky Amphitheater, West Palm Beach, FL: Essay by Phish Archivist Kevin Shapiro

On November 2, 1996 Phish performed the thirteenth show of their fall tour at Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, Florida.  The previous show in Atlanta featured the band's third annual Halloween "musical costume", The Talking Heads' 'Remain In Light'.  The Halloween show (later released from the archives as 'LivePhish 15') featured a horn section, Colonel Bruce Hampton and longtime Santana percussionist, Karl Perazzo among others.  Phish met Karl opening for Santana in the summers of 1992 and 1996 and, as Trey shared at Coral Sky, had always wanted to play with him.  In addition to a legendary Halloween performance, Perazzo played three Florida shows – Tallahassee prior to Atlanta and West Palm Beach and Gainesville after.  His contribution helped extend and expand upon the magic from Halloween. Allman Brothers Band drummer and part-time fishing guide, Butch Trucks, furthur upped the rhythm coefficient, playing drums for Son Seals' Funky accompanied by the driving percussion duo of Perazzo and Jon Fishman.

The Coral Sky show crackled with the residual energy of Halloween and a tropical feel that could only have happened in a South Florida amphitheater in November.  Trey mentioned from the stage how excited the band was to play the only outdoor date of the fall.  Amidst swaying palms and soft breezes, the band wove its way through a high-energy, deeply experimental show with optimal flow and groove.  The molten epicenter of the show was a transcendent pairing of Crosseyed And Painless > Run Like An Antelope, a combination the likes of which finds the faithful perpetually "still waiting".  The 'Coral Sky' DVD showcases the birth of the band's more rhythmic, textured group improvisation style and conveys the band and crowd's shared excitement about the breakthrough.

Other highlights from 'Coral Sky' include a rollicking Ya Mar opener, fiery Julius, Cavern with heavy metal screaming and a psychedelic Stash.  Trey made full use of his megaphone during Fee and gave his newly added percussion setup a workout during Free, liberating Page to explore more extended keyboard sections.  Island-infused renditions of The Lizards and Harry Hood and hard-rocking Johnny B. Goode and Funky round out this performance.

The 'Coral Sky' 2-DVD set documents the band at the thrilling crux of a new approach to improvisation spurred on by a luminary guest. The two-and-a-half hour DVD was created from videotapes that captured the multi-camera lawn screen feed.  The audio was mixed from digital multi-tracks and mastered in 5.1 Dolby surround and PCM stereo for DVD as well as a separate 2-CD audio set.  Like the 'Walnut Creek' DVD set, 'Coral Sky' showcases some of the most unique and compelling playing of Phish's career.



Published 19 October 2010 07:49 PM by admin

Essays by Kevin Shapiro



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