Phish Riviera Maya Mexico Night One – Setlist & The Skinny

By Scott Bernstein Jan 15, 2016 7:52 pm PST

On Friday Phish played their first ever show in Mexico as the band’s Riviera Maya destination event began at the Barcelo Maya Resort. After ignoring covers outside of “Auld Lang Syne” during their recent New Year’s Run at Madison Square Garden, the quartet dropped six covers on Night One of Riviera Maya as part of a high-energy opening show with a few interesting segues.

Phish opened with a quick “A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing” before showing there would be covers this run by performing Clifton Chenier’s “My Soul” for the first time since November 1, 2014 in Las Vegas. Most fans had a long trip down to Mexico which made the “Martian Monster” that followed with its “your trip is short” refrain all the more ironic. Next, it was back to covers with the year’s first “Ya Mar.” The peppy “Ya Mar” gave guitarist Trey Anastasio a chance to yell “Leo!” in reference to keyboardist Page McConnell and featured a short but sweet guitar solo. Bassist Mike Gordon then stepped to the mic to start off “Halley’s Comet.” As has been the case throughout nearly all of the current era, “Halley’s Comet” did not lead into a jam. Instead “Halley’s” gave way to the title track from Phish’s most recent album, Fuego. Friday’s “Fuego” culminated with a brief guitar-led peak as the band continued to take a restrained approach to jamming throughout the first set.

While drummer Jon Fishman usually starts up “The Wedge,” Anastasio pulled the trigger on the Rift staple in Mexico. Trey stepped to the mic after “Wedge” to say “well, this doesn’t suck!” He also noted LD Chris Kuroda is lighting the ocean and that those paddleboarding in the sea look particularly cool from the stage. Though Trey mentioned Kuroda, it’s actually Umphrey’s McGee LD Jefferson Waful who is lighting the ocean and sky at the Phish concerts in Mexico while Chris lights the stage and trees. Following the banter, Anastasio dedicated “Theme From The Bottom” to the paddleboarders. After an awkward start to “Theme” the foursome continued a double dose of 1996’s Billy Breathes with “Free.” Phish ended the set with the song everyone knew would take on special meaning this run, “David Bowie.” Gordon recently revealed the famed rocker, who passed away on Sunday, did hear the near 30-year-old tune named in his honor as “someone played it for him years ago, according to legend.” McConnell’s riffing and interplay with Anastasio stood out on an otherwise straight forward “Bowie.”

The Vermonters had a bust out in store to kick off the second set as a cover of The Who’s “Drowned” made its first appearance since October 22, 2014 – a span of 42 shows – the longest gap between performances dating back to 1997. Phish quickly moved from the minor key “Drowned” jam to a major key to lay the groundwork for a transition into instrumental “What’s The Use?” The once rare “What’s The Use?” made its fifth appearance in just 18 shows, a frequency not seen since 1999. Speaking of 1999, another song debuted that year, “Sand,” came next. Anastasio unleashed a torrent of meaty riffs to form his “Sand” solo and just when it seemed the tune was coming to an end, the band launched into a second jam. Fish kept the “Sand” beat going for a while before the quartet broke down the improv as Gordon hit his fight bell and McConnell contributed funky clavinet riffs. Eventually the foursome used the funky breakdown as a segue into “Ghost.” By this point rain was coming down hard on the fans at Riviera Maya leading crew members to take the stage and cover the band’s gear with tarps. The “wind and rain” lyric in “Ghost” garnered a chuckle from Trey and an excited cheer from the crowd.

Phish took “Ghost” deep for a few impressive minutes as the band once again telegraphed a transition, this time into the evening’s fourth cover “Also Sprach Zarathrustra,” aka “2001.” The high-energy start to the second set continued with typically potent takes on “Wolfman’s Brother” and “Possum.” The “Wolfman’s” refrain had extra mustard as the foursome vamped on the “shouldn’t have took more than you gave” lyric. Phish then ended the second set by dusting off a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Shine A Light” for just the second time since 2013. The covers kept coming as the encore consisted of “Rock & Roll” by the Velvet Underground.

Phish continues their three night visit to Mexico on Saturday night. A webcast is available via

The Skinny

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The Setlist

The Venue

Barcelo Maya Resort [See upcoming shows]

The Music

10 songs / 7:36 pm to 8:51 pm (75 minutes)

9 songs / 9:27 pm to 10:46 pm (79 minutes)

19 songs / 13 originals / 6 covers


8.16 [Gap chart]



Drowned - LTP 10/22/2014 (42 Shows Gap)

Sand - 12:12

Martian Monster - 4:22

Junta - 1, Lawn Boy - 0, A Picture of Nectar - 0, Rift - 1, Hoist - 1, Billy Breathes - 2, The Story of the Ghost - 1, Farmhouse - 1, Round Room - 0, Undermind - 1, Joy - 0, Fuego - 1, Misc. - 4, Covers - 6

The Rest

79°F and Partly Cloudy at showtime

Koa 2 / Languedoc G2 #4

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