Recap: Phish Mexico Night 1 “Who Loves the Sun?”

(Writer: Cody Lantz)

Phish returned to the stage Thursday night for the third installment of their all inclusive Riviera Maya destination event in Mexico. The band set expectations high for the weekend as fans who made the trip down were treated to huge bust-outs, plenty of covers, and some great jamming.

The Vermonters wasted no time in welcoming fans to the Barceló Maya beach resort as they opened the show by busting out “Spock’s Brain”. The rare Mike Gordon tune last saw action 429 shows ago on 07/30/03 in Camden, New Jersey and was quite the treat for those in attendance dancing in the sand. Up next was “Twist” followed by a straight-forward take on the first set staple, “Free”. The quartet then offered up the biggest bust-out of the evening with, “Who Loves the Sun?” The Velvet Underground cover was played for it second-only performance since 10/31/98. Everyone was surely loving the sun at that moment. Afterwards, guitarist Trey Anastasio took to the microphone to proclaim, “You know, it still doesn’t suck”, referring to playing in Mexico, before leading the band through, “Everything’s Right”. This performance touched on some nice Type I jamming featuring funky clavinet play from keyboardist Page McConnell and great interplay between all members. Next was the first Kasvot Växt tune of the Riviera Maya run with “We Are Come To Outlive Our Brains”. Anastasio then began, “Rise/Come Together” with the appropriate lyrics, “The Ocean is only a lot of drops of water, the land is only a lot of grains of sand.” It was then Mike Gordon’s turn on vocals as he lead the band through the classic Son Seals cover, “Funky Bitch”. A tight and fierce “Sand” followed, bringing the first set to a close.

Phish began the second set with “Soul Planet”. The newer tune opened up to some nice improvisational playing before eventually segueing into the final bust-out of the night, “Spanish Moon”. The Little Feat cover was also dusted off for its second-ever performance, having last been played on 10/31/10 in Atlantic City, NJ. Up next, the band started Page McConnell’s “I Always Wanted It This Way” The EDM synth style Big Boat track was finally taken out for the spin that it deserves. Clocking in at a little over twenty minutes, this is the improvisational highlight of the show and maybe the best version of this song to date.

All four members showcased outstanding interplay as they explored multiple musical textures and grooves, complete with glorious peaks from Trey. This is a must re-listen. Phish then transitioned into the Kasvot Växt tune, “Death Don’t Hurt Very Long”, followed by an extended, “2001” space odyssey dance party. A short but scorching, “Bathtub Gin” was next, before “The Squirming Coil” closed the second set, featuring the usual piano outro from Page. Page then thanked the audience for, “coming down and spending time with us”, before exiting the stage. Phish returned with a double encore of the appropriate ballad, “Waste” and Jimi Hendrix’s, “Bold as Love.”

With huge bust-outs and all-around great jamming, the Vermonters certainly made it worth while for those who travelled all the way to Mexico. And it was only night one! Phish returns to the stage Friday night.

Setlist:

Set 1: Spock’s Brain, Twist, Free, Who Loves the Sun?, Everything’s Right, We Are Come to Outlive Our Brains, Rise/Come Together, Funky Bitch, Sand
Set 2: Soul Planet > Spanish Moon > I Always Wanted It This Way > Death Don’t Hurt Very Long, 2001 > Bathtub Gin, The Squirming Coil
Encore: Waste, Bold as Love

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