The two times Phish played the Mango Song this year were quite memorable. Both versions found themselves in the second set, out of their usual comfort of more light-hearted first sets. The reason both are significant is because they each featured atypical and blissful segues. Both were paired with songs not typically associated with the happy and bright piece. Each Mango also ended with a old-time Phish staples as exclamation points to the string of songs.
The first time Mango graced our presence this year was at SPAC on Father’s Day. Phish came out for the second half of their shows with a dark and masterful Carini. As I have said before–Carini is making a comeback in 3.0 Phish, big. This Carini sparked the summer’s night air with something fierce. Trey took dashing leads out of the gates with the rest of the band anchoring him down to the unforgiving and dark waters of the song. Instead of letting the song dissolve when this version reached it’s breaking point, the delicate and unmistakable guitar notes of Mango started. The duo of songs looks odd on paper, one might think it was one of Trey’s forced and awkward segues again–upon listening you realize that it’s anything but. The band gracefully moves into the song, almost cleansing your musical palate before dropping into another more heavy song in the band’s repertoire, Wilson.
The second time Phish dropped a Mango on our heads was at Deer Creek during a solid string of high octane songs and playing. When Phish bust out their Meatstick for the third time of 3.0, the crowd exploded. The last time they played it this year was at Merriweather and featured a thiiiick and bulbous jam segment. Naturally, when it came out in the corn fields of Indiana, I had a feeling they were going to push this one farther. After the Japanese lyrics Mike led his cohorts on the destructive funk jaunt that is now expected with this song. I was praying that this would a huge version–and it was, just not for the reasons I expected. The jam eventually had everyone playing under Page’s musical cover, it sounded like the venue had been lifted off the flat plains and we were now going into space. Quietly and delicately Trey began the opening notes to Mango–he remained patient while the rest of the band was going to take their time to get there. Page played all sorts of sounds atop the band slowly transitioning into the song in what might be the longest intro to the song ever. Mike was the next member to pick up on the transition, locking in the notes with Trey. Fishman took about another minutes to start splashing his cymbals into the beginning of the song. Page, after a Dave’s Energy Guide tease, eventually came around–when he switches over to the baby grand for the song’s piano part, the crowd just broke down in cheers and awe. The Deer Creek Meatstick -> Mango was Phish segueing at its finest. Like the SPAC rendition, this one also had an exclamation point–Fluffhead.
Set I: Brother, AC/DC Bag > Back on the Train, Undermind, Cities, Gotta Jibboo, Roggae, Sleep Again, Lawn Boy, Run Like an Antelope
Set II: Carini > The Mango Song > Wilson, Drowned > Swept Away, Steep, Makisupa Policeman, Piper > 2001 > You Enjoy Myself
Encore: Contact > Slave to the Traffic Light