Original Artist: Trey Anastasio
Original Album: Plasma (2003)
Historian: Martin Acaster
Take the juicy beat of the reworked “Water In The Sky,” add a healthy dash of “Bathtub Gin” flavored ivory, and stir in the stringy spice of Santana’s “Jingo” and what do you get? A Phishy salsa called “Mozambique,” a concoction that would be found on the mild end of the condiment tray at your local Phish taqueria.
“Mozambique” made its Phish debut as the opening song of the 1999 fall tour in Vancouver. Following its appearance in this coveted appetizer slot the song was dished out four more times as the tour made its way down the West Coast (9/12/99 Portland, OR and 9/17/99 Shoreline) and eastward through the desert Southwest (Las Cruces, NM 9/22/99) to the Mississippi Delta (New Orleans, LA 9/26/99 with Michael Ray and Tim Green of Cosmic Krewe).
Perhaps due to the somewhat sloppy fashion in which the song was served up as well as its inability to create any real fire in the bellies of those who have consumed it, “Mozambique” has been off the Phish menu. Alternately it could be because the song is more suited for a broader instrumental landscape with multiple percussionists and horns. In support of this idea is that it was difficult to avoid a trip through the exotic southeast African nation at any given Trey Anastasio show whether it was in the trio format of 1999 or the big band style that was featured in 2001 through 2006. These latter performances of “Mozambique” showed quite clearly that the missing ingredients in the Afro-beat salsa are a wide assortment of tasty horns and supplementary percussive beats. Though scaled down since the days of the undectet, "Mozambique" continues to make regular appearances to this day with the "Classic TAB."
Hopefully these ingredients will be included in the next batch of “Mozambique” served up by Phish, since the meaty lyrics included in the 8-Foot Fluorescent Tubes version appear to be gone for good. To catch the flavor of “Mozambique” as it was obviously intended to be enjoyed, check out the version on Trey’s Plasma.
Trey Anastasio Band "Mozambique" 2/16/10 New York, NY