Saturday 01/16/2016 by phishnet

BUENOS TARDES AMIGOS – THIS DOES NOT SUCK

By Noah Cole (@col_forbin)

So. Much. Anticipation. Phish’s first tropical destination show, the first all-inclusive Phish experience, the first show in Mexico. What would the band have in store to welcome 5000 of their friends to the Mayan Rivera?

Like most Phish experiences, the lead up to the event can be all-consuming with planning and questions – especially when nobody really knows what to expect for a first time event. The discussion on Facebook groups dedicated to connecting the thousands of fans following the lines going south rose to a fever pitch in the days before, as feeds were filled with selfies from smiling faces on flights from every possible point to Cancun. As people landed in the Cancun airport, they were whisked away on charter buses to one of six resorts – two at the host, Barcelo Maya Beach, and four in the surrounding towns.


Photo © Noah Cole


Photo by Rene Huemer © Phish From the Road

There were plenty of complaints about various aspects of people’s logistics – issues with getting coveted dinner reservations, realizing that your friends staying at other resorts couldn’t actually come see you other than at the show, that if El Chapo hadn’t been arrested, the cartel would have been better prepared for all the Phish fans in town. But after people settled from their trips and spent the day relaxing on the beach or in the pool – with ample supply of weak but free cocktails – concerns had melted away, and a blissful crowd of vacationers were ready for the main attraction.


Soundcheck. Photo © @CoventryMusic

The demographic for this show not surprisingly skews older, so the number of longtime fans with at least 100 shows under their belt was considerably greater than any other Phish show I’ve seen. It was also great to see a far greater gender equality than I’ve ever experienced at a Phish show – could there have been an equal number of men and women for the first time… ever?

It was hot and humid as Phish took the stage, in a venue that featured elaborately decorated palm tress (Fishman yarn bombs), sand sculptures, and Page Side Rage Side being temporarily renamed Page Side Wave Side.


Soundcheck. Photo by Rene Huemer © Phish From the Road

While a predictable but none the less a perfect choice given the setting, “A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing” opened this first Phish Mexico show, and gave CK5 his first chance to show the extra lights that lit the ocean. It was not stretched out, and ended fairly quickly, as did the “My Soul” and “Martian Monster” that followed, but they were tight crowd pleasers. “Ya Mar” saw Trey adding a bit of extra mustard to Page’s solo. “Halley’s Comet” was an audience sing along, before the evening’s first real transition with a drop into “Fuego.” Like the earlier songs in the set it was not especially long, but still well played.


1/15/16 Setlist. Photo © @CoventryMusic

Early attempts were made at keeping fans out of the water… but eventually there were dozens of fans wading even floating in the waters. “The Wedge” was an appropriate choice, as the band returned to the water motif established at the beginning of the set. “The Wedge” lyrics had been going around my head all day, as many of us lazed away the afternoon bobbing on the surface of the warm and wonderful sea.


"David Bowie" – Photo © @tweeprise

As friends will tell you, I remarked several times that this did not in fact suck – and Trey reminded of this in the first banter of the show. In addition to the wrist-banded Phish fans, at least one or two chartered boats and catamarans sat offshore and a few amazing standup paddle boarders from Cancun surfed the waters. The band was having so much fun watching the paddle boarders that Trey dedicated the really great “Theme From the Bottom” that followed to them. “Theme “ lead directly into a soaring “Free.” Everybody wondered how Phish would pay tribute to David Bowie, and in the end the song was passionately played version, but no words from the band about the thin white man as the set closed.


Photo by Rene Huemer © Phish From the Road

Once again continuing with the water theme, Phish kicked off the second set with an impassioned and rocking “Drowned” – the first version since 10/22/14 Santa Barbara – that reminded us that Phish does still play covers. “Drowned” segued into “What’s the Use?,” as Trey looked out to the boats and lights on the water. No surprise to see “Sand” pop up next, and the crowd boogied in the sand between their toes. Small drops or rain started to fall, and then the skies opened up and it started to pour as the band dropped into “Ghost.”


"Drowned" – Photo © @tweeprise

Given how hot and humid it was, the crowd welcomed the rain and it led to an intense “Ghost” jam and impressive work from CK5 that used the massive jungle raindrops as part of the performance. The rain let up a bit during a high energy “2001” and stayed dry and the band tore through “Wolfman’s,” a fun “Possum,” and then returned as Trey gave us the fifth cover of the night, “Shine a Light.” Despite a few lyrical flubs, it was a great ending to an excellent Phish show, which was capped off by a final cover, a rocking “Rock and Roll” to send us off into the humid Mexican night and dodge tropical rain showers.


"Sand" – Photo © @tweeprise

There were many threads in the show – from the nautical inspiration for some of the songs, to the return to covers after an all-original MSG run. But overall it felt that what Phish was really saying was welcome – our good friends. More fun is in store.


Photo © Noah Cole


Photo by Rene Huemer © Phish From the Road

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Comments

, comment by runmikeanantelope
runmikeanantelope That entire second set was for Bowie. Drowned is dying. Whats the use? Can't fight dying. Sand? Washed up on the shore after drowning. Ghost? Dead person. 2001 > space odyssey (oddity). Wolfmans? This one I don't get. But possum is also about dying and then shine a light speaks for itself. What a beautifully crafted dedicated set in such a phishy way
, comment by Zhaph
Zhaph @runmikeanantelope said:
That entire second set was for Bowie. Drowned is dying. Whats the use? Can't fight dying. Sand? Washed up on the shore after drowning. Ghost? Dead person. 2001 > space odyssey (oddity). Wolfmans? This one I don't get. But possum is also about dying and then shine a light speaks for itself. What a beautifully crafted dedicated set in such a phishy way

Interesting theory, I like it.
, comment by tek9rifleskills
tek9rifleskills @runmikeanantelope said:
That entire second set was for Bowie. Drowned is dying. Whats the use? Can't fight dying. Sand? Washed up on the shore after drowning. Ghost? Dead person. 2001 > space odyssey (oddity). Wolfmans? This one I don't get. But possum is also about dying and then shine a light speaks for itself. What a beautifully crafted dedicated set in such a phishy way
YESSSSSSSSSSS
, comment by TnJedHead
TnJedHead You totally figured it out! I concur with your theory.
, comment by CreatureoftheNight
CreatureoftheNight @runmikeanantelope said:
That entire second set was for Bowie. Drowned is dying. Whats the use? Can't fight dying. Sand? Washed up on the shore after drowning. Ghost? Dead person. 2001 > space odyssey (oddity). Wolfmans? This one I don't get. But possum is also about dying and then shine a light speaks for itself. What a beautifully crafted dedicated set in such a phishy way
Wolfman's = Stairway to the stars
, comment by i_yam_highdrogin
i_yam_highdrogin great writeup, but i am shocked you glossed over that SEARING sand jam. that was pure type I hose, followed by some great type II. Sand-> Ghost ftw.
, comment by chefbrett
chefbrett Put the bong down, bro.
, comment by phunksoulbruva
phunksoulbruva that all seems plausible...i'm gonna suggest that the "Free" preceding "Bowie" fits your theory, as well.
, comment by MOstGhoSt
MOstGhoSt i loved this concert from afar with the cloud tour - the lighting is really coming across on the webcast and the set break ocean waves are most unique. wonderful ck5.

great review and a wonderful photo essay - i get a sense of what it might be like south in meXico in contrast to the new england cold. sand was one of my favorites last night. it seemed extended. sand is a song i would love to hear extended further into a deeper jam, last nights version seemed to go in an extended direction.

i am so happy for anyone lucky enough to travel so far and i am not surprised the band sounds so consistently good following the superb nye run at msg just two weeks ago.

most excellent - the phish from vermont - thank you for being you.
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod @runmikeanantelope said:
That entire second set was for Bowie. Drowned is dying. Whats the use? Can't fight dying. Sand? Washed up on the shore after drowning. Ghost? Dead person. 2001 > space odyssey (oddity). Wolfmans? This one I don't get. But possum is also about dying and then shine a light speaks for itself. What a beautifully crafted dedicated set in such a phishy way
Either this, or they just didn't do a Bowie tribute outside of the set closer. Which is a bit lame TBH (assuming they don't follow it up with something tonight or tomorrow), but their call.
, comment by lumpblockclod
lumpblockclod Also, great review, Noah!
, comment by thebuzzman
thebuzzman Just factually at 7pm EST weather.com showed a surprisingly cool 73 degrees Fahrenheit but a jaw dropping 100% humidity which I expected to see copious sweating from both band and phans but I never saw it.

The Wedge wailed.
, comment by HealtheSymptom
HealtheSymptom Maybe Wolfman's was for the Shirley Temple line since Bowie really liked little girls...
, comment by andrewrose
andrewrose Didn't hear any of the show, but while I think 'the entire second set is for Bowie' is a bit of a stretch, the last two tracks seem like at least half a nod. Shine a Light isn't only thematically appropriate, it's a Stones song. Mick Jagger was one of Bowie's closer musical contemporaries. As was Lou Reed of course. Both songs are conveniently part of recent rotation so not a challenge to play either. I think we'll hear Life on Mars tonight. I'm still so sad.
, comment by hdorne
hdorne @HealtheSymptom said:
Maybe Wolfman's was for the Shirley Temple line since Bowie really liked little girls...
What?
, comment by tasatter
tasatter I'd have perished in that heat, but I'm so glad many folks are there to enjoy the shows! Sounds like a royal blast.
, comment by HealtheSymptom
, comment by nichobert
nichobert Its amazing what people are willing to be fine with when it comes to rock stars from the 50s-70s

Rita Marley comes out and goes "Bob raped me" and the backlash against his legacy was maybe 1/1000000th of what it would be if Usher made a particularly heinous rape joke. Granted, Bob Marley is dead and that certainly complicates matters a ton. But in general rock stars of yesteryear were and are so Teflon it's insane
, comment by nichobert
nichobert I'm going to go out on a limb and guess if Rita said that while Bob was still alive the response would have been the same. Mostly indifference and a whole bunch o people going 'omg who wouldn't want to sleep with bob?!"
, comment by Blazeon2016
Blazeon2016 Really? I think I could make jumps like that with almost any set they've played. Tho you were creative so I'm still givin props@runmikeanantelope said:
That entire second set was for Bowie. Drowned is dying. Whats the use? Can't fight dying. Sand? Washed up on the shore after drowning. Ghost? Dead person. 2001 > space odyssey (oddity). Wolfmans? This one I don't get. But possum is also about dying and then shine a light speaks for itself. What a beautifully crafted dedicated set in such a phishy way
, comment by RIPvanWinkman
RIPvanWinkman The Wedge, a natural not just for the ocean in our veins, but, also the pyramids with limestone blocks so large.
, comment by IdRatherBeOnTour
IdRatherBeOnTour How much will the Fishman inflatable tubes in the pool be going for on E bay? My guess is minimum $200 if one was to get one back to the states...
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