Phish Riviera Maya Mexico 2020 – Night 3 Setlist, Recap & Skinny
The third night of Phish‘s four-night Mexico run Saturday was a barn-burner, with two extremely inspired sets that combined to make this one of the greatest shows the band has played south of the border. The first set included multiple bustouts, multiple big jams and the type of setlist playfulness that characterized the previous night’s first set. The second set only upped the improvisatory ante, capped by a “Waves” jam that attendees will be telling their grandkids about.
The band took the stage with Trey Anastasio on drums. Jon Fishman eventually took center stage, decked out in a white suit with parrot patterns (and his signature donuts on the collar). The band launched into “Willin’,” their first take on the Little Feat tune since its debut on Halloween 2010. After the song, which likely reappeared due to its “Mexico” mentions and a request from David “ZZYZX” Steinberg, Fishman disrobed and was handed his standard muumuu.
The second slot was taken by “Tube,” which continued the song’s hot streak, reaching a blissful, very un-“Tube”-like space over twelve and a half minutes.
The second ever “Evening Song” was followed by “Set Your Soul Free,” which featured some strong major key jamming and helicopter effects from Trey. A bustout of “You Sexy Thing” followed, but was jam-free; “46 Days,” “Waste,” and “Your Pet Cat” came next.
First set takes on “Tweezer” often don’t reach quite the same heights as when the song gets to stretch out in the second set, but this one went deep, with a major key jam that featured elements of “Dave’s Energy Guide,” before transitioning into a full-blown “Manteca,” the first since 2016. Back into the jam they went, building to a massive peak. They teased “You Sexy Thing” en route to a segue into “Makisupa Policeman,” which was complete with “You Sexy Thing” teases and mashups. A bit of playfulness led into a quick version of “Twist,” and set one was in the books.
Apples in Stereo’s “Energy,” which resurfaced in 2019 after being shelved for six years, appears to be back for good, as the second set opened by taking the tune into a minimalistic, focused jam. As it began to deepen, Trey abandoned it for “Soul Planet.” That tune’s guitar-led jam found its way, in short order, into “Waves.” Just as it seemed that the band might be avoiding major jams, they went deep, weaving their way through uplifting moments, low-key funk and dark grooves, with each segment marked by patience and full-band cohesiveness.
“Waves” ended with a peak that was enormous, though somehow minimalistic, instantly placing the jam in the song’s pantheon. An “ocean is love” vocal flourish capped off the peak, and after one more section, “Carini” emerged. The tune inherited the patience of “Waves,” but applied it to the hard rock feel of the song. Eventually, it settled into a funky, reggae-tinged groove, with Page McConnell accompanying himself, composing multiple keyboard parts on the fly.
Short jams emerged from both “Chalk Dust Torture” and “Have Mercy.” Like so many great Phish sets, each song in this set seemed to function simply as connective tissue between one set-long jam. Following a “Life Beyond the Dream” breather, “Harry Hood” spent a few minutes in a minor key before returning for a customary peak.
One more special treat appeared in the encore: the first take on Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” since the Baker’s Dozen in 2017. Following the tune, “Tweezer Reprise” brought the night to a crashing close.
Phish returns to the stage Sunday for the last of their four shows in Mexico. A live stream is available via LivePhish.com.
Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort [See upcoming shows]
2 shows — 02/20/2020, 02/21/2020
12 songs / 8:16 pm to 9:40 pm (84 minutes)
10 songs / 10:16 pm to 11:52 pm (96 minutes)
22 songs / 16 originals / 6 covers
35.22 [Gap chart]
Willin' -- 349 Show Gap (LTP - 10/31/2010)
Waves -- 19:23
Makisupa Policeman -- 1:17
A Picture of Nectar - 3, Billy Breathes - 1, Farmhouse - 1, Round Room - 2, Misc. - 9, Covers - 6
78° and Clear at showtime