It’s difficult to pick just five amazing moments from Phish’s second foray into Mexico on the Riviera Maya. The whole affair was magical. And it wasn’t just the setting: the sun, sand, and surf. Trey Anastasio, Mike Gordon, Page McConnell, and Jon Fishman delivered three shows that would have been exciting in Siberia. But that is one of the special things about Phish; they always try their best to give the fans something special no matter where they are. And Riviera Maya was certainly that, special. Luckily, AXS was on hand to capture the magic. Here are the five most amazing moments from Phish Riviera Maya 2017.
Be sure to check out our amazing slideshow above captured by Stacie Ledden, as well as the video of phans “splashing in the sea” below.
A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing
It wasn’t much of surprise that Phish played a lot of songs that referenced the ocean, or the beach, or tropical climes, or songs that just sounded island-y. They opened the whole weekend with “Free,” which floats the line “we’ll be splashing in the sea.” The first set also contained “Sand” and “Theme From The Bottom” (the latter uses the oceanic zones as a Marxist metaphor of sorts). They opened the Friday night second set with “A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing,” and of course there was a “Fuego.” But perhaps one of the best moments of Friday night was “Prince Caspian,” who floats “upon the waves.” The phans wave side went nuts (see video below).
There was also a rowdy “Drowned” encore Saturday night and of course a “Velvet Sea.” So yeah, they played some ocean themed songs. But here’s what was interesting. Each night there was also a song that referenced winter or cold. Friday dropped to “Seven Below,” Saturday bowed down to a “Winterqueen,” and Sunday contained a “Tweezer” (“won’t you step into the freezer?”). These little things are what makes Phish such a special band.
Did we mention Phish played right on the beach? I know we already talked about the sea but watching people splash and frolic in the waves while Phish did their thing was sublime. More happy people you’ll never see. Again, you can check out the video below.
I’ll have a Twist of lime with Tequila
While Phish had some great teases—“Crosseyed and Painless,” “Little Drummer Boy,” “Shipwreck”—the coolest one was probably the “Tequila” tease in “Twist” on Friday night. It fit the scene and as you can imagine the crowd got pretty rowdy. There was plenty of Pee-Wee Herman dancing going on.
Halfway to the Moon
We don’t want to take away from the amazing job that Phish light guru Chris Kuroda and his team did to set the palm trees ablaze with psychedelic colors and illuminate the ocean (excellent job guys!), but sometimes Mother Nature just has to one-up you. On Friday the moon rose directly from the crest of a cloud that resembled a Mayan pyramid. It was transcendent. You can check out a photo in the slideshow above.
Boogie On (All Sunday Night)
While all three shows were great, Sunday night was, well…fuego. The band got everybody in a funky mood with “Boogie On Reggae Woman” (Stevie Wonder cover), and even though Trey flubbed the first few lines he made up for it with some spectacular guitar work throughout the night. It was classic Trey. He was lightening fast and precise with his riffs and flourishes, plus it looked like he was having a blast. The whole band was having so much fun they forgot to take breaks between songs, more so than usual. You can check out the setlist at phish.net. The “Fluffhead” first set closer had everyone grinning as the song has been a rarity of late.
But the second set was where things really took off with another monster sandwich beginning with a sweet segue of “Down With Disease”>”No Men In No Man’s Land.” Again, check out the setlist but it was one of the better second sets Phish has played in the 3.0 era. And the “David Bowie,” oh the “David Bowie.” Another song that has been absent of late. There were some real treats Sunday night and it was a spectacular way to cap off an enchanting weekend.
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