Sunday 01/15/2017 by jugglerswithfire


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?

Photo ©  Phish (taken by Patrick Jordan)
Photo © Phish (taken by Patrick Jordan)

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!

Photo ©  Phish (taken by Rene Huemer)
Photo © Phish (taken by Rene Huemer)

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.

Photo ©  Phish (taken by Patrick Jordan)
Photo © Phish (taken by Patrick Jordan)

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!

The show encore was special in its own right, as it’s not everyday you get a “Drowned” encore with a "C&P" “Still Waiting” ending, followed by a bluegrass lover’s delight, “Rocky Top.”

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!

Photo ©  Phish (taken by Rene Huemer)
Photo © Phish (taken by Rene Huemer)

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, comment by ekstewie1441
ekstewie1441 A succinct, valuable, constrained review which highlighted the highlights and didn't fluff, overwrite needlessly, or unnecessarily criticize specific songs. A true unicorn.

, comment by Kriddaz
Kriddaz Finally I have something in common with a reviewer! Poor Heart was also my first song, 12/2/94 UC Davis. Can't wait to give this show a listen.
, comment by EdwardGRobinson
EdwardGRobinson This review only touches on what and how Phish played last night.
I came here to be provoked and/or pacified; certainly not for "information".

I don't want to sound alarmist, but if we don't get a flame war and some hate
speech tacked on the end on this baby, the whole site could get shut down.
Then I'd have to go back to reading the show reviews on Breitbart.
, comment by jflasko320
jflasko320 Totally solid review, starting to think these are finally turning around, yesterday's show was kind of a dud minus fuego so it's nice to see some objective positivity here after 2016 was "the marima sucks" in EVERY review.
, comment by experiencechuck
experiencechuck I for one thought that Chalk Dust was pretty damn tremendous.. Shades of Camden 99 (sorry, I know that needs no year for clarification) and Dick's 12, but with a return to a traditional Chalk Dust ending that had me wondering "wait, did that really just happen?!"

They delivered the newer material very well throughout this show, especially considering Halfway to the Moon, the Line, and Waking Up Dead could really be a buzzkill of a segment if not delivered convincingly.

I LOVED the coda tacked onto Meatstick, there's only a few I can think of that stretch out that loosely, and Light was very refreshing. In an era of major key peaks (no complaints) I'm glad they just kept it weird.

Solid. There's a few runners aboard, now let's bring 'em home. (sorry, my football team's eliminated and I've already moved on to baseball)
, comment by Arbs_Pheld
Arbs_Pheld Solid show... While I'm a fan of Crosseyed, I don't like how whenever they play it the rest of the set seems to get injected with "still waiting" teases. Although the teases did in fact come, it was not terribly overdone.

A great Chalkdust, Meatstick, Mercury and of course Light never disappoints. Also, a shout out to Winterqueen, a nice song that is very 'Dead-esque.'

Not sure if the .net reviewer deliberately wrote "waiting" (perhaps to try and sneak in another 'still waiting' tease) instead of "wading in the velvet sea," but otherwise a short and sweet review!
, comment by CharlesAlkan
CharlesAlkan Good to be concise sometimes, although a lot more could've been said about some of the jams. Light, for instance, went pretty far out there and got nice and dark, and while the band members weren't completely in sync for all of it, it ended in a great way that hinted at No Quarter (before Page decided to start Wading)
, comment by jugglerswithfire
jugglerswithfire @Arbs_Pheld said:

Not sure if the .net reviewer deliberately wrote "waiting" (perhaps to try and sneak in another 'still waiting' tease) instead of "wading in the velvet sea," but otherwise a short and sweet review!
This was intentional. I have a skewed sense of humor about that song. :)
, comment by phunky58
phunky58 enjoyed last night's show from chalkdust on alot. Must hear jams from last evening: CDT, Meatstick (yes meatstick) and light without a doubt. And i was absolutely ecstatic when they dropped into the first notes of Mercury. That tune is absolutely my shit! Has so much potential and eventho it didnt go type II last night it kicked some serious ass like it always does. well done boys. That said Never miss a sunday show. so many big hitting tunes loom: DWD, Tweezer, Piper, Reba, Gin, SOAM, Waves, Golden Age, Scents
, comment by Scarlet_Winter
Scarlet_Winter Adored the C&P throughout the second set. I am so, so happy with the Mercury...I literally bounced like a school child upon its opening.
, comment by jameslambertt
jameslambertt Their show is always a different world for me. It's like a dream when you do not understand reality completely and that's what listening to their music alive is doing to me. Postponing essay writing online was worth doing that to have a chance to visit their concert in Mexico!
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