Friday 02/22/2019 by phishnet

RIVIERA MAYA 1 RECAP: THIS DOES NOT SUCK

[Recap courtesy of dot net user @ObviousFool. Thank you! -Ed.]

Somewhere between the poolside daiquiris and the beachside margaritas, we realize that we might need a little down time before the show. We retreat to our suite for a soak in the hot tub and a doobie while we plan our evening. This does not suck.

We decide to go in shortly after doors to take in the surroundings, and get our bearings---and for the massive taco buffet, which also does not suck. After a day of eating at buffets that wouldn’t even make it at the Circus Circus Reno, we are grateful for the delectable sustenance.

Before we make our way forward into the crowd, the skies open up briefly and douse us in warm rain; not enough to soak, but just enough to cool us down. We ditch our flip flops by a palm tree and walk barefoot through the sand, proclaiming, once again, that this does not suck. And as the sun sinks into the western sky, a warm breeze comes in over the ocean, the lights go down, and the Phish take the stage.

© 2019 Phish, on stage at Riviera Maya (Rene Huemer)
© 2019 Phish, on stage at Riviera Maya (Rene Huemer)

As is the case on any show day, speculation about setlist selections and openers has run rampant. All the usual suspects have been mentioned, e.g., “Free” (splashing in the sea), “Soul Planet” (the ocean is love), “A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing” (duh). But when does Phish ever do what we expect them to? Besides my one friend who picks it every show, nobody was expecting them to open with “Spock’s Brain” (last played 7/30/03, 429 shows). “Twist” comes next and is an excellent display of just how locked-in the band is, picking up right where they left off seven and a half weeks ago. “Free” provides our first self-referential lyrics of the evening, as a handful of fans flock to splash in the sea. A short but sweet rendition with fantastic interplay between Trey soaring and Mike digging over the meaty groove that Fishman and Page lay down.

As though “Spock’s Brain” wasn’t a big enough bustout, we’re treated next to a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Who Loves The Sun?”, the first time played since its debut on 10/31/98, a whopping 602 shows ago! Amongst the sunbaked and peeling in the crowd, the sentiment is appreciated. Who loves the sun? Definitely not everyone. “Everything’s Right” comes next and continues its trend of strong performances. There are a handful of Phish songs I think are mediocre at best, but worth it for the jams that follow, and “Everything’s Right” is certainly finding its place on that list. An inspired jam with fluttery peaks galore, this is textbook bliss hose that can’t even be spoiled by the abrupt return to the song proper and a sudden--but tight--ending.

We Are Come To Outlive Our Brains” arrives as the first Kasvot Växt tune of the evening. For those keeping track at home, they’ve played a KV song in 9 of the 10 sets since the Halloween run, a pretty good indication of how well those songs fit into their existing repertoire. “Rise/Come Together” follows, and I finally succumb to my need for relief. I grab my flip flops from the palm tree and saunter across the beach, not missing a single note. On my way back, I decide to stop for a fresh, hot churro. This still does not suck.

Funky Bitch” comes next and Trey is brimming with confidence, resulting in a fiery shredfest, replete with ample organ slaying by Page----another trend of the evening. Finally, “Sand” closes the set out with a short, blazing rendition, as we all equate our lives with the sand between our toes.

© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)
© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)

Set break is like set break at any other Phish show. Some people head back to the taco buffet, others head back to their rooms for a quick shower and to change out of their swimsuits. We decide we don’t need to go anywhere, as we are being brought piña coladas where we stand! This does not suck.

Soul Planet” opens set two, and I’ve never seen the ocean so full of love. And hippies. This is another one of those new songs that don’t do much for me until the jam, but this jam gets right to the business. Page lays down some dirty organ tones and Mike follows suit, creating a dark space for Trey to melt faces. Fishman drives this jam with a funky backbone that provides a seamless transition into our third huge bustout of the night, a cover of Little Feat’s “Spanish Moon," not played since its debut on 10/31/10. And now the ocean is love…and whiskey…and bad cocaine. “Spanish Moon” is played quite well, and reminds me how much I wish they’d bring back some more songs from Waiting For Columbus.

I Always Wanted It This Way” gives us the first Page song of the night, and is easily a top version of this song. The traditional jam makes way for a much more stripped down funky groove, driven by Mike and Fish. It doesn’t take long for Trey and Page to steer the jam back into bliss hose, and while I prefer the dark and the funky, we’re dancing on a beach in Mexico, so bliss is totally understandable. And the crunchy funk comes right back in for a transition into “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long." (Yup, that’s another Kasvot Växt song). An absolutely smoldering “2001” comes next. This version is super patient and builds slowly, reminiscent of the cow funk of ’98.

Bathtub Gin” follows and the bliss hose continues. I love a fourth quarter “Gin” and this is no exception. Inspired shredding from Trey while Page continues to absolutely slay the keys, and it occurs to me just how hard Page has been slaying all night. “Squirming Coil” is my new encore call. But no! “Coil” shows up early to close out the set. The seemingly constant chatter is all but silenced when Page is left in the spotlight, sweetly serenading us. “We’re so happy you’re here," he says as he leaves the stage. So are we, Page. So are we.

Waste” comes in the first encore slot, another meta-lyrical selection, as we gleefully waste our time in the tropics with our favorite band. “Bold As Love” closes out the show in typical blazing fashion, sending us all off into the breezy evening, ready for whatever comes next.

In the end this show is very indicative of where Phish is at in 2019. What they lacked in setlist construction and flow they made up for with rarities and deep jamming. And while the song selection may have been odd for folks watching at home, dancing in the sand, with the waves crashing over our toes, there was one sentiment we all shared. This continues to not suck.

© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)
© 2019 Phish (Rene Huemer)

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Comments

, comment by ucpete
ucpete This is a hell of a recap debut, @ObviousFool! Doesn’t suck one bit. Be sure to make it to your plane on time!
, comment by natkingbowl
natkingbowl Definitely sounds like the opposite of sucking. Enjoy, kids.
, comment by mikh2wg
mikh2wg Great work! I love the personal touches about your experience at the show. I didn't realize there were tacos and churros in the venue! I'm a little jealous now.
, comment by TheBuddhistProdigy
TheBuddhistProdigy “ this is textbook bliss hose “
Love your review and the phantastic images.
, comment by sparklemotion
sparklemotion I want to go to there
, comment by Gr8tful2
Gr8tful2 Seriously thank you for what you do but come on. Not even worthy of tour opener much less a 10K travel show. Please
, comment by the_vultures
the_vultures Nice recap. But Everything's Right is awesome (song included).
, comment by ObviousFool
ObviousFool @Gr8tful2 said:
Seriously thank you for what you do but come on. Not even worthy of tour opener much less a 10K travel show. Please
I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much as I did!
, comment by TheDude31
TheDude31 What a great experience! What an opening night. Place is just fantastic. The setlist was a great mix of new and old and great jamming on the new material. Plus a few bust outs! Doesn’t get much better. I have to admit I figured we would get just some jukebox and type 1 Phish. Expectations blown away.! Saw them on 12/30/18 and they haven’t missed a beat. Keep it up Phellas!
, comment by dustinthenjames
dustinthenjames We're in for one hell of a year.
, comment by Otto_Mann
Otto_Mann Awesome recap @ObviousFool. You just gave me such FOMO.
, comment by Phishsurgeon
Phishsurgeon @obviousfool captured the night perfectly. Spanish Moon under the Super Moon definitely did NOT suck.
, comment by TheDude31
TheDude31 @TheDude31 said: thanks for the great reveiw ! What a great experience! What an opening night. Place is just fantastic. The setlist was a great mix of new and old and great jamming on the new material. Plus a few bust outs! Doesn’t get much better. I have to admit I figured we would get just some jukebox and type 1 Phish. Expectations blown away.! Saw them on 12/30/18 and they haven’t missed a beat. Keep it up Phellas![/quote]
, comment by tolmie
tolmie Liked set 1, Spock and Sun was Fun. The others were as well, but those two once again begged me to ask "what are they up to?" That question is what keeps me coming back again, and again, nearly 3 decades deep. IAWITW (is that right?) was nice, but that jam was amazing. 2001, man was that fun. Loved the rest of set 2, and the encores made me happy. Weird night. Fun night. Good night. My favorite part though, Page with the “We’re so happy you’re here," he says as he leaves the stage, made my night. It was thoughtful, genuine, sincere, and heartfelt. Just like your recap @ObviousFool . Good work- enjoy your time there!
, comment by Crackey
Crackey You pretty much just repeated the set list and said over and over that it is fun to see Phish at an all inclusive resort in heaven. Nahhh !!! For real ???
, comment by JMart
JMart Hello. I’m nitpicking. How can this show be indicative of where phish is in 2019 since it’s literally the first phish show of 2019?
Glad you enjoyed it. Have fun out there.
, comment by AbePhroman
AbePhroman I need more musical deets on why it doesn't suck!
, comment by 1000_barefoot_children
1000_barefoot_children I can’t wait to hear this and last night’s show.

Your recap does not suck.

Really made me want to be there more than ever.

See you at Alpine.
, comment by phunkytime
phunkytime Nailed it! So much fun being had, the band is playing amazing and anyone who has complaints probably doesn’t have their toes in the water/sand. This does not suck!!
, comment by Tando
Tando “Set break is like set break at any other Phish show. Some people head back to the taco buffet, others head back to their rooms for a quick shower and to change out of their swimsuits. We decide we don’t need to go anywhere, as we are being brought piña coladas where we stand! This does not suck.”

Ha!!!! Yeah a set break at any other phish show. Love it!
, comment by RocOnMoron
RocOnMoron I Love Hose!!
, comment by RocOnMoron
RocOnMoron Especially Blissful Hose!!
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