On Thursday December 17, 2015, Pink Talking Fish brought their terrific tribute talents to The Plaza Live; a mind-blowing 2-½ hour set featuring the greatest hits from Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish. And as if that weren’t enough, they brought along special guests The Heavy Pets who performed something a little different than normal, playing as Walrus: A Beatles Tribute.
Pink Talking Fish features Eric Gould on bass, Richard James on keyboards, Zack Burwick on drums, and Dave Brunyak on guitar. This is a band created by musicians who love the music of these acts. It’s purpose is to heighten people’s passion for this music by creating something fresh and exciting for fans.
The show had a huge turnout, assisted by The Plaza Live giving away free tickets to their large email database, timed nicely with the holiday season. Even if you weren’t one of the lucky ones to get the fortunate memo, chances are if you got the venue early, or even during The Heavy Pets set, there was some kind soul giving away spare tickets to a fellow psychedelic rock lover.
Based out of Fort Lauderdale, The Heavy Pets are Jeff Lloyd (Guitar/Vocals), Mike Garulli (Guitar/Harmonica/Vocals), Jim Wuest (Keyboard/Vocals), Jamie Newitt (Drums/Vocals), and Tony D’Amato (Bass). Focusing on blending rock and roll with rhythm, blues, jazz, funk, disco, and reggae, they are known for their soulful songcraft and powerhouse live performances. With a large number of my friends in attendance and extra cash in everyone’s pocket’s, after a round (or two) at the bar, it was show time.
The Heavy Pets began by addressing the crowd, “What’s up Orlando? How ya feelin’?” *crowd cheers* “Alright, we’re The Heavy Pets. We’re gonna do something a little different.” Que four drumstick clicks then the guitar riff for “Get Back.” The crowd’s heads slowly began to nod and willing bodies began swaying back-and-forth. I’m sure there were many in the room who had never head The Heavy Pets before and maybe thought they are solely a cover/tribute act (they certainly are not in the least). These guys have been working the road hard to earn their spot in the jam scene and deserve to be playing alongside the best of the best.
Their set included about 11 Beatles hits with a little modification to certain select songs, as they added a dash of their own improvisational jam signature throughout the set. At one point, a friend of mine said, “This doesn’t sound very Beatles-ish.” My reply was “Good, they’re making a great song even more interesting!” The first part of the set was on the milder side, including “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Don’t Let Me Down,” and “We Can Work It Out.” This left room for the wild intensity to build, which it did in the middle of the set with an awesome version of “A Day in the Life,” followed by “Day Tripper” and ”Tomorrow Never Knows,” then back into ”Day Tripper (Reprise).” The last four songs of the set were solid favorites: “Hey Jude,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Come Together,” and the obvious, “I Am the Walrus.” Watch the full set thanks to The Sober Goat!
After a much need breather at the intermission, it was time for Pink Talking Fish to begin the long, strange trip that would be the next 2-½ hours. This set was unbelievably amazing and played to damn near perfection quality when compared to the respective bands being imitated. From the hundreds of songs that Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish have in their database, the selection of songs they chose to dish out was absolutely delicious.
It couldn’t have started out any better than with Talking Head’s upbeat dancing to set the mood. Next was a fun Phish song, “The Sloth,” followed by Pink Floyd’s “Run Like Hell” with a Talking Head’s “Moon Rocks” jam in the middle, which could have been a foreshadowing of the next song, Phish’s “2001” (this song highlights the symphonic styling of the tone poem “Also Sprach Zarathustra,” featured in 2001: A Space Odysey). “2001” also had teases for “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” (Pink Floyd), “Give It To Me Baby” (Rick James), and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
With trippy transitions, swirling segues, and tasty teases, the band meandered from one song to another. A beautiful version of the one Pink Floyd song I most wanted to hear, “Dogs,” which the band did not finish, as they morphed the spacey jam into the dance party of Talking Head’s “Burning Down the House.” The band then took a second to introduce themselves to the raging fans.
After the band intros, “Divided Sky” (arguable one of Phish’s most popular and complex songs) started a medley including Pink Floyd’s “Time,” and Talking Head’s “Psycho Killer,” before going back into “Divided Sky.” Next was a jumping version of Pink Floyd’s “One of These Days,” with references to Phish’s “Lengthwise.” Then there was a Talking Heads song I was not too familiar with, “Swamp.” I loved every second it! But what came next was a song I’m all too familiar with, my favorite Phish tune, “Tweezer,” which recieved a roaring cheer from the crowd as the guitar riff began. After jamming on this for a hot minute, the band satisfied me by coming back into “Dogs,” the set closer.
For the encore, Pink Talking Fish brought out Jeff, Jamie and Robert from The Heavy Pets to join them for the show’s end, including my favorite Talking Heads song, “Crosseyed and Painless” and “Tweezer (Reprise)” — typical fashion because Phish usually ends a show this way if “Tweezer” was played earlier in the show.
An epic setlist to say the least from what sounded like a three-headed beast. Watch the full set thanks to The Sober Goat!
Phish is my generation and I have seen them several times; however, Pink Floyd and Talking Heads were before my time, so it was awesome being able to pretend I was at one of their shows. Pink Talking Fish are true masters of honoring these three legendary bands and recreating the live experience — while at the same time blending all their styles together. I highly recommend talking to some pink fish if you ever get the opportunity.
Pink Talking Fish Live Review, Photos, and Video w/ The Heavy Pets by Richie Williams (The Sober Goat), Review edited by Matthew Weller.
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