Phish Riviera Maya 2017 Begins In Mexico: Night One – Setlist, Videos & The Skinny
On Friday night Phish began the second installment of Phish Riviera Maya, a destination concert event featuring three full shows held at the Barceló Maya in Riviera Maya, Mexico. In typical Phish fashion, the band uncorked a first set focused on showing the diversity of their repertoire and delivered a second set heavy on improv.
One of the first things noticeable as Phish took the stage was drummer Jon Fishman wearing a mask in the style of Mexican Lucha libre wrestlers. Fish’s mask was adorned with donuts a la his signature stage attire and appears to come from the folks at Lot Life. Additionally, it became clear the LED panels LD Chris Kuroda has used since the start of Summer Tour 2016 didn’t make the trip south of the border.
Phish opened with “Free,” a song featuring the fitting lyric “splashing in the sea” as once again some revelers took to the ocean on one side of the stage to enjoy the festivities. Bassist Mike Gordon then led the foursome on “Yarmouth Road.” The “Sand” that came next included typically fierce lead guitar work from Trey Anastasio and dirty Clavinet riffs from Page McConnell. The set rolled on with “Theme From The Bottom” as its lyrics regarding “swimming” and “the ocean” took on extra meaning in Mexico.
Mike Gordon had a second turn in the spotlight early in the show for “Funky Bitch,” the run’s first cover. The parade of first set staples continued with “Undermind,” “NICU” and “Horn.” Anastasio punctuated the title track from Phish’s 2004 studio album with ample use of delay and wah effects, while McConnell gave the jam a vintage tone by switching back and forth between his synthesizer and Wurlitzer electric piano. “NICU” was another song that garnered screams from the crowd for certain lyrics such as “day at the shore.” One of the highlights of the quartet’s opening show at MSG for their recently completed New Year’s Run was the “Wolfman’s Brother” that kicked off the second set. The version Phish played to end their first set in Mexico on Friday had a similar “mega peak” that left many jaws agape.
The band opened the second set on Friday the same way they kicked off last year’s inaugural festival, with “A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing.” Jon Fishman ditched the mask for the closing stanza, though he wore it throughout the first set. “ASIHTOS” was of the short and focused variety. The same could be said for “The Wedge” that followed.
Interestingly, eight of the first 11 songs Phish played in Mexico this year they performed at the same venue the prior year six. In fact, six of those eight were unveiled on the first night of the inaugural Phish Riviera Maya last January. The trend only intensified with the “Fuego” that came next, yet another song played on the first night of last year’s event. Phish extended “Fuego” rather nicely, embarking a full-band jam that pulled them away from the typical structure. The pretty improv featuring impressive contributions from all four members. The quartet settled in on a powerful chord progression they built to a rolling boil. Trey’s work was particularly on point as he strung together a series of anthemic leads on the must-hear “Fuego.” Just when it seemed the band hat hit the final peak of the jam, they dug in even further. Eventually, Trey was left to riff by himself and strung together a pattern that ended with the introduction to “Prince Caspian.”
“Prince Caspian” was another song with themes of the ocean and the inviting “float upon the waves” lyric. Phish used the ballad as a springboard to wild improvisation. The foursome quickly moved beyond the typical boundaries of the song to a space reminiscent of the beloved Magnaball “Prince Caspian” for a few marvelous minutes before Anastasio made the decision to start “Twist.” Phish had fun with “Twist” by inserting “Tequila” (The Champs) teases within including a vocal quote by Fishman. A sense of looseness was found throughout the standout “Twist” ahead of a segue into “Seven Below.” The same could be said for “Seven Below” as Trey would zig when Page would zag all while the rhythm section kept the improvisation anchored. There were many moments when Anastasio would come across a potent riff he’d keep repeating and his mates would quickly follow along. “Seven Below” wasn’t very long and it didn’t stray too far from the song’s normal boundaries, yet it was filled with memorable moments.
After nearly 70 minutes Phish finally took their first break of the second set. The band took a moment to regain their composure following the seamless start of “ASITHOS” > “Wedge” > “Fuego” > “Caspian” > “Twist” > “Seven Below” before launching into “Golgi Apparatus.” While “Golgi” was the first song all night played in Mexico which Phish had debuted in the ’80s, they didn’t wait long to perform another as “Run Like An Antelope” closed out the second set. “Run Like An Antelope” had been a staple of Phish New Year’s Runs dating back to the start of the tradition in 1989. The recent run at Madison Square Garden was the first since that initial one in 1989 that didn’t include an “Antelope.” Phish delivered a strong, straight forward version of the tune. The band returned to the stage to begin the encore with “Contact,” after six years in which they played the Mike Gordon-penned gem just once. Up next was a show-closing “Bug,” which as usual featured an emotional end solo from Trey.
Phish continues Riviera Maya 2017 on Saturday night. A live webcast is available via LivePhish.com.
Watch official footage of the opening of each set in the two videos below:
Barcelo Maya Resort [See upcoming shows]
3 shows — 01/15/2016, 01/16/2016, 01/17/2016
9 songs / 7:46 pm to 8:56 pm (70 minutes)
10 songs / 9:33 pm to 11:14 pm (101 minutes)
19 songs / 18 originals / 1 cover
9.21 [Gap chart]
Contact - 33 Shows (LTP - 7/6/2016)
Fuego - 19:53
Horn - 3:47
Junta - 2, Lawn Boy - 1, Rift - 2, Hoist - 1, Billy Breathes - 3, Farmhouse - 3, Round Room - 1, Undermind - 2, Fuego - 1, Misc. - 2, Covers - 1
Weather = 77° and Mostly Cloudy at showtime
Phish From The Road Photos
Tour Dates for