Pink Talking Fish made the penultimate stop on their spring tour with a visit to the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, PA on Saturday night. The band consisting of Cal Kehoe (Guitar/Vox), Eric Gould (Bass/Vox), Richard James (Keys/Vox), and Zack Burwick (Drums), took to the stage to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Pink Floyd’s epic album Dark Side of the Moon by playing it in its entirety for the first set. Throughout this tour, Pink Talking Fish has used the second set to either revert to their more standard set arrangement by performing a collection of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish songs or they celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Talking Heads seminal film Stop Making Sense.
On this evening they would be performing the former in the second set, but first they would take on the daunting task of performing Dark Side of the Moon in full. The crowd cheered as the first heartbeats pulsed from Burwick’s station and the band kicked off “Speak to Me/Breathe(In The Air) > On the Run > Time” trifecta with precision, staying mostly within the lines provided by the original creators. As many Pink Floyd fans who hear Dark Side played in its entirety know, the next song, “Great Gig in the Sky”, can either make or break a band’s performance of the album. Some discussions were had ahead of time as to whether the band would have a female vocalist for the part, if someone would go full Trey circa ’98 and attempt it themselves, or would they fall back on instrumentation for the critical transitionary song that moves the album theme away from the day-to-day, black-and-white life to the deep introspection and complexity of the world in full color.
Kehoe stepped up to the plate in a big way using his guitar to soar through the arrangement and really nail the difficult piece. The band seemed to get an extra shot of adrenaline from the prior song and slipped right into a thunderous “Money” lead by James on Vocals and driven by Gould on bass. The band offered a little treat of teasing “Roggae” before transitioning into the always emotive “Us and Them”. The always funky “Any Colour You Like” was fresh and lively, complete with a little “Stash” tease, and then gave way to the closing duo “Brain Damage > Eclipse”. The crowd sang loudly along the final verses of Eclipse and then the band stepped away for a little well-deserved break before the second set.
PTF wasted no time getting things off to a raucous start in the second set with Gould dropping bombs on the Story of the Ghost danceable classic “Moma Dance”. Talking Heads got their first song of the night with “Houses in Motion” from the legendary ‘80 album Remain in the Light. One of the true highlights of the evening followed as the band started the opening notes of the Phish’s epic “You Enjoy Myself”. But before the song could truly take flight, it was clear the trampolines that had also been brought out on stage would have to wait as Pink Floyd’s “Dogs”, from the ’77 album Animals, would be explored in full before the band returned to YEM. Talking Heads was next on the menu with a creative approach to well-known “This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)” before leading into one of the more cosmic events of the evening. Lighting director Vin Pugliese got a chance to really shine with the band’s take on the Vida Blue original “Most Events Aren’t Planned”, a song that has made its way into Phish’s backend rotation since being debuted in 2017. Now for the cosmic part; MLB Hall-of-fame pitcher Vida Blue, whom the band lead by Page McConnell is named after and even joined onstage in 2004, passed away that very same night. However, news of his passing wasn’t made public until the following morning.
Finishing up the set in a fitting fashion based on the above was Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and Talking Heads “Once in a Lifetime”. After a standing applause from the crowd, Kehoe came out solo to perform the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” before the rest of the band joined him for a full-throttle take on the Beastie Boys “Sabotage” that transitioned into a show closing “Eclipse (Reprise)”.
As is always the case with a Pink Talking Fish show, the creative quartet left no stone unturned and provided a solid performance all the way around by deviating stylistically where they see fit yet always maintaining a central integrity of the original material. They finish up their spring tour on May 13 at the state Theater in Portland, ME and then have some time off before they start their summer circuit in late June. Be sure to catch them as they travel to a festival near you!
May. 26 - 29, 2023 StrangeCreek Campout 2023 Greenfield, MA
May. 27 - 28, 2023 Surf Hotel Buena Vista, CO
Jun. 22 - 25, 2023 Beardfest 2023 Hammonton, NJ
Jun. 23 - 25, 2023 Back Home Festival 2023 New Martinsville, WV
Sat, Jul. 1, 2023 Cisco Brewers Portsmouth Portsmouth, NH
Jul. 7 - 9, 2023 Dead of Summer Music Festival 2023 Manchester, VT
Jul. 14 - 16, 2023 Jerry Jam 2023 Cabot, VT
Jul. 21 - 23, 2023 Nelson Ledges Quarry Park Grateful Fest 2023 Garrettsville, OH