, attached to 2016-01-17

Review by n00b100

n00b100 I have a funny feeling that the merits (or lack thereof) of the first two Mexico shows are going to be debated from now until the cows come home, so it's rather nice to get a show that will most likely not have to suffer from as much debate as to how good it is. Set 1 has some quite nice moments - a welcome (if rusty) The Curtain (With), The Landlady making its second appearance in 793 shows, and a great second half that includes a slower and more deliberate Classic Gin that lets Trey be a bit more mellow in his soloing and a milkshake-thick Moma Dance that includes a surprising vocal jam from Fish and devolves into BEK-type funkiness before a surprising move into a wild Saw It Again to close. But, as always (well, other than shows like 1/16/16), Set 2 is what's gonna draw the most attention, and this is a pretty damn good Set 2.

You knew it was gonna be either Disease or Tweezer that kicked off this set, and DWD gets the call this time around, and this is a hell of a DWD for sure. Mike initiates the move to a new key this time around, and they build to a very warm and inviting jam space, Trey building up ambient noise...and then, as this beautiful late-90s-esque groove rolls forward, Page starts firing off samples from Shipwreck, making me think they'd segue into it instead. But that's not what they have in mind, as Trey starts trilling and then takes over with some soloing as the samples continue to fly (wonder how someone with a head full of acid was taking that), until the jam suddenly turns more muscular and classic rock, Trey heading to chords and Mike really taking a star turn and Fish as rock-solid as you could hope for, and they build up to an intense peak. This is pure feel-good music, and will probably be considered the signature of the jam of the run (although I sure do hope we don't get a lot of "Mexico Disease" jokes).

Roggae comes in next, via something of a shaky transition, but the version that we get is well worth it (moving from delicate spaciness to a great Trey solo), and then they make a fine call with C&P. C&P devolves into a minor key stew like it often does, they nearly return to home base, and then the jam collapses on itself, making you think it might be over...until Page goes back to the Shipwreck samples and Fish, who knows a good jam in progress when he hears one, kicks back into gear and keeps the jam alive 12/30/12 Carini style. Trey fires off Echoplex-laden chords and another spacey and weird groove emerges, some of the deepest and darkest music we've heard in a bit, elfish notes and rumbling bass flying everywhere and Page breaking out The Haunted House samples to really add to the atmosphere. Mike brings in the drill, and they really build up a torrid horror show...

...and then they start up Farmhouse, and the set is ruined forever.

Nah, just kidding. Farmhouse is a fine landing pad from that level of gnarliness, and they kick right into a tight Mike's Song distinguished by Trey playing "out of tune" 10/26/13 style, then Bug (which is Bug), and finally a cool Weekapaug Groove that slides into a darker and mellower zone (perfect for Page to fire off one more Shipwreck sample) before blasting off back to home base. A really patient and detailed Slave closes out the set proper, and The Ocean (somehow totally obvious and totally unexpected all at once) makes for a hell of a close to the run.

Final thoughts: throw this one right in the middle of Fall 2013, and nobody would think different. A really strong close to Phish's Tropical Adventure 2016.


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