Phish capped off their first Mexican excursion with a heavy hitting show that was packed to the brim with solid song selection and adept improvisation. After letting off the gas pedal the second night, Phish came back for the third night blazing from all cylinders. From the opening note of “Mexican Cousin” to the last note of Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean” in the encore slot, the band wasted no time crafting a creative setlist.
During the day fans were showing no signs of fatigue as the large crowds congregated on the beach or at the pool for a DJ set. The energy was contagious and in full swing all the way up to show time. Walking inside the venue area there was a notably larger spread of food and drinks on the last day. The beach was absolutely beautiful and standing in the water as the sun was setting was nothing short of breathtaking.
When the band took the stage the crowd stretched as far back as the eye could see. The cooler temperatures however didn’t discourage fans to jump in the water and it was common to see people in and out of the water for the duration of the show. There was a collective celebratory splash from fans in the water as the opening notes of “Mexican Cousin” came through the speakers. Fan favorite “The Curtain With” was well executed and kept the applicable word play relevant given how far south the band and fans had to travel. The “With” section of the song was gorgeous and the band patiently moved through this section with grace. After a quick “Sample In A Jar” Trey used this time to explain that the band was going to be taking some time off and going back into the studio. This ignited an outcry of confusion and emotional questions and it wasn’t uncommon to overhear different conversations about the future of the band looking into 2016. Personally, I believe not much will change except possibly a lighter summer tour. The fact the band is going into the studio is a sign that the best is yet to come. Rumor around the camp fire is that Phish has locked in a three year contract at the Barcelo and Wrigley Field in Chicago in June is all but a sure thing. However, the term “hiatus” hit everyone hard.
After “Yarmouth Road” the band busted out “The Landlady” which came out of left field completely unexpected. “Army Of One” found its way into “Kill Devil Falls” before a monstrous “Bathtub Gin.” Nobody knew it at the time but the band was setting the stage for some serious heat as they delivered “Funky Bitch” > “The Moma Dance” > “Saw It Again,” which featured a lot of deep and thick improvisation from the band as they closed the first set.
When the band returned Trey teased “The Rover” before Mike played the opening notes to “Down With Disease.” After an extended jam which took the crowd deep into parts unknown, the band used “Roggae” as the perfect landing gear out of “Disease” before shifting gears to the beloved Talking Heads cover “Crosseyed and Painless.” “Farmhouse” was a stepping stone into “Mike’s Song” > “Bug” > “Weekapaug Groove.” Just as it looked like the band was going to close out the last set of the run, the opening notes of “Slave To the Traffic Light” came as a nice surprise as the band wasn’t done yet. This was an especially beautiful version that really hit home. What happened next was a swift reminder just how much power and authority the band has when they debuted Led Zeppelin’s “The Ocean.” I immediately flocked to the water with hundreds of other fans who were dancing so hard like it was their last night on Earth. Page took the driver seat for “The Ocean” and his voice is perfect for covering Led Zeppelin and it’s fitting that he also commands “No Quarter” as well for the band. The debut came as a shock and whiplashed the crowd into a frenzy as if they were possessed by something not of this earth. These are the moments that make everything worth it.
Phish bookmarked a chapter in 2016 that was nothing short of legendary. The best is absolutely yet to come and the news of the band going into the studio should be enough security to fans aching to see more live shows.