Les Claypool continues to conquer the nation with his Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, but in the midst of his 41-date steamroll of the U.S., something is missing. Sure, he has his tripped-out kindred spirit Sean Lennon with him on guitar, and yeah they perform Pink Floyd‘s Animals in its entirety every night. But there’s still something lacking, and that missing piece is magnanimous and maniacal saxophonist Skerik.
The mononymous saxophonist’s absence from the ranks is due to his ongoing recovery from a shoulder injury that has kept him off the road since prior to New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. His frequent collaborators Scott Amendola and Wil Blades recently launched a GoFundMe for him, which was shared across the internet by his wide range of colleagues, but unfortunately, there is still a Skerik-sized hole on stage in the Frog Brigade.
Luckily for audiences in Columbia, SC on Sunday, the show was a co-bill with Jerry Harrison and Adrian Belew‘s Remain In Light celebration featuring Cool Cool Cool. Among the former Talking Heads‘ backing band is saxophonist Greg Sanderson, who at the Township Auditorium was called up from the reserves to join Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade.
The sit-in arrived in the latter half of the show, following the mid-set performance of Animals. Claypool introduced the member of The Horn Section with a fittingly long-winded monologue.
“I don’t know if you noticed, but our good friend and lieutenant of the Frog Brigade, Skerik, is not here this evening and he hasn’t been here the entire tour,” Claypool said, mixing his lament with a word of optimism that Skerik will hopefully return for the fall leg. “So we’ve been having people that are, quite frankly, better than him sit in. And tonight is no exception.”
As Claypool himself said, “Nobody can deny one of the greatest things on the planet is a little surf saxophone.” Jumping into the groovy surf psychedelia of the Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel track “Hendershot”, Sanderson—dressed in his own Frog Brigade uniform and matching Pith helmet—proved exactly that as he slid right into the sonic space left open by Skerik.
Check out saxophonist Greg Sanderson joining Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade in South Carolina alongside a collection of images from photographer Ernesto Hernandez. The tour continues on Tuesday in Dallas. For tickets and a full list of tour dates visit the band’s website.
Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade, Greg Sanderson – “Hendershot” – 6/11/23
[Video: Brad Walker]
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Setlist: Les Claypool’s Fearless Flying Frog Brigade | Township Auditorium | Columbia, SC | 6/11/23
Set: When Johnny Comes Marching Home (Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore) , Highball With the Devil (Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel)  , Rumble of the Diesel, Amanitas, David Makalaster , Pigs on the Wing, Part 1 (Pink Floyd), Dogs (Pink Floyd), Pigs (Three Different Ones) (Pink Floyd), Sheep (Pink Floyd), Pigs on the Wing, Part 2 (Pink Floyd), Cricket and the Genie (Movement I, The Delirium) (The Claypool Lennon Delirium), Cricket and the Genie (Movement II, Oratorio Di Cricket) (The Claypool Lennon Delirium), Hendershot (Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel) , Maple Leaf Rag (Scott Joplin), Phantom Patriot, D’s Diner
Encore: Whamola, Pure Imagination  (Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley)
 Played from tape
 w/ “Tommy the Cat” tease
 w/ “Southbound Pachyderm” tease
 w/ Greg Sanderson (Cool Cool Cool) on saxophone