This recap is coming to you from the land of champagne powder, Steamboat Springs, CO. I enjoyed a day of hiking in the snow with my golden, Tela, and cross-country skiing. I am transformed to another time and another space as I sit down to watch the webcast of Phish taking on their second Saturday night appearance in the amazing setting of Mexico. Sometimes we long for the old days, but you have to be grateful for technology :) A few questions going in: Will Fishman continue to sport the Lucha libre wrestler mask the entire run? Saturday night shows are somewhat of a mixed bag, we have all heard the saying about Friday, Saturday, and Sunday shows.. so will Phish deliver something special or standard great this show?
It turned out there was no Fishman mask on this night, Boo! As the ocean breezes blew the palm trees in the background, from the webcast it was clear the band had a bit of discussion prior to kicking the night off with “The Curtain With,” a quite rare show opener. As the notes of “AC/DC Bag” began, I began the couch dance, and although the version offered nothing extended, it was well played. “Breath and Burning” dancing in the light of the moon gave way to “Poor Heart.” I have a connection with “Poor Heart” from my first Phish show (11/25/1995), so it always takes me back in time with a smile.
The remainder of the first set was relatively slow, but well played, including “Halfway to the Moon,” “The Line,” and “Waking Up Dead.” A short but enjoyable “Tube” laid the foundation for some funk. And I’ve always been a sucker for “Fast Enough for You,” which highlighted Page’s melodic playing. “Ocelot” then came out to play with us, and the crowd floated with the flock. A type II “Chalk Dust Torture” blissfully closed the set. Outcome of the first set: Pretty well played, with many slower songs. If you’re selecting something to listen to from this set, “Chalk Dust” wins!
It is super cool to see (on the webcast) all those Phish fans playing in the ocean during setbreak, jumping waves. I can only imagine how amazing of an atmosphere this is in which to see Phish perform live.
The band picked right back up where they left off from “Chalk Dust,” opening the second set with a fiery, high energy, type II “Crosseyed and Painless,” a dynamite set opener. As soon as I heard the opening notes of "C&P," a chill ran up my spine. So many times in life I sing this song, especially the lyric, “Still Waiting…” In this version, all four band members were dialed into a synergistic groove, and it was a fantastic way to kick off the second set.
Next up: you’ve got one life, “Blaze On!” I love the carefree lyrics of this tune, and it is dialed in, with Trey shining the whole way through. For the record, I can’t believe “Meatstick” is 20 years old this year. This version -- complete with Japanese lyrics and a funky jam -- definitely delivers some hot and spicy mustard. If you are a fan of the “Meatstick,” give this one a listen.
An average-great version of “Winterqueen” continued to keep the flow of energy and the audience moving, before it descended into a rocking version of “Mercury,” which included Fishman’s outro on Marimba Lumina. And “Mercury’s” jam became dark and heavy, before the band transcended the audience into a wonderful improvisational psychedelic funk-a-thon type II version of “Light.” There’s a lot of love in this “Light,” and it illuminated an impressive glow that outshined CK5’s lights.
In an unusually placed set two closing position, “Waiting in the Velvet Sea” greeted us. I loved this song when it debuted in 1997, and as a slow down song selection prior to Coventry, but I still struggle with hearing it because of that memory. Maybe one day I’ll get there!
Overall, this show had an average first set with a few highlights, and a very strong second set, with a great “Light,” a fun “Meatstick,” “C&P,” and even a strange set two closer and great encore. Cheers to everyone watching from home, those who are fortunate enough to be there, and now on to enjoy one more show in Mexico!
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Mike Gordon: February 21, 2018
2 days ago
The Crescent Ballroom
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