As Pink Talking Fish wrap up their Winter 2019 tour, any concerns about the chops of new guitarist Cal Kehoe should be alleviated. Kehoe joined the group in mid-March and their explosive show at Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles on March 30, 2019 did not pull any punches. The band has not lost a thing with Kehoe in tow. In fact, they seem to have added a dynamic new element – Kehoe’s legit connection to Phish. He has recorded and performed with his old friend, Phish lyricist Tom Marshall, as well as playing on side stages at Phish festival performances.
Kehoe’s stellar guitar playing on the Pink Floyd and Talking Heads songs was spot on. But it was on the Phish songs that he really stood out, channeling Trey’s technique so closely that if you closed your eyes, it seemed like it wasn’t a tribute, but the real thing. Kehoe was a guitar wizard all night and truly impressed with how smoothly he melded into the band’s unique ability to transition between the iconic songs of the three legendary acts.
Phish’s “Tube” segued into Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer” which created a festive sing-along by the crowd before swinging back to “Tube.” Pink Floyd’s “Fearless” featured beautiful keyboard work by Richard James, who also starred on lead vocals. After teasing “Hunger Strike” by Temple of the Dog, “Fearless” smoothly segued into Phish’s “Prince Caspian.” The whole featured crowd favorites for about three hours.
In the second set, Phish’s “Piper” showcased quality harmonies between James, Kehoe and bassist Eric Gould. Kehoe and James played incredible solos during the extended jam. For Pink Floyd’s “Pigs (Three Different Ones),” James and Gould did a sweet duet and James broke out his talk box for a trippy keyboard solo.
After excellent versions of “Slippery People” and “Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.” inspired more sing-alongs, the band surprised everyone with the James Gang classic “Walk Away.” Kehoe was all smiles as the quartet played and he even teased Derek and The Dominos “Layla” in the middle of his solo. “Walk Away” flawlessly transitioned back to “Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.”
As the show was winding down, they did a killer version of Pink Floyd’s “Mother” as James played the haunting keyboard riff and sang the dramatic vocals. Gould and Kehoe joined in with beautiful harmonies and Kehoe’s guitar solo would have made David Gilmour proud. The pace picked up for Talking Heads’ “Take Me To The River” with Gould’s base line causing the house to pulsate as all three vocalists were joined by the audience for the chorus.
The pace became frenetic as the band launched into Phish’s “Chalk Dust Torture” to close the show. Kehoe took over on vocals, played the distinctive guitar riff and blasted the solo. The crowd’s seemingly endless energy peaked as many bounced to the throughout the ballroom. It was a perfect song to end the set and cement Kehoe’s position with the band.
The encore was another surprise as the band selected The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” to close things out. Kehoe exuberantly screamed the vocals and the band played the volatile song with kinetic energy. After it ended, all four musicians and the crowd were spent. The band warmly embraced at the front of the stage, took a few bows and finally walked off to loud cheers from the ecstatic crowd.