After a great week scuba diving along the reefs of Cozumel and taking in the entertainment offerings of Playa del Carmen m’lady and I headed down to the Barcelo Maya resort to start part III of our Mexican vacation: the Phishy part. This was our second instalment of Phish on the beach and we were both very, very excited to arrive. The previous year we had gone all out and to sprung for an extra resort day tacked on the the front and back of our stay. This time we only went half-out, opting to book the extra day option at the end of the run only. That said, regular checkin still had us arriving the day before the first Phish show, along with 90% of the other patrons.
Though there were lots of people arriving at the same time checkin was still pretty quick and painless. These resort gigs are pricey but the staff seems to go out of their way to treat the kids alright.
Once we got our wristbands, goody bags, and room key we dropped off our luggage and went straight to the resort dive shop. After we made our booking we spent the rest of the day vigorously lounging by the pools and rendezvousing with friends as hard as we could. There was a liberal swath of hamburger munching and much clinking of plastic cups overflowing with clown-coloured rum drinks. Clearly the place was utterly overrun with Phish people and the amount of fun that was being had was on the cusp of staggering.
Fortunately m’lady and I took it easy enough to wake up on the morning of January 13th, 2017 with clear-ish heads, as we had a couple of dives booked. By mid-morning we were in the ocean chasing lionfish and barracuda and gliding under coral arches. By lunch we were onto our first burgers and tequila shots of the day and when the sun started to dip we simply walked down the beach and joined a few thousand friends for an ecstatically great night of entertainment.
CK5 was performing his magic illuminating the stage and the entire venue with endlessly riveting and creative light artistry. The light guy from Umphrees Magee (I think) was onsite manning the lights that shone strictly on the ocean, and while his light work consistently upped the coolness (and the safety and the security) of the shows he couldn’t hold a candle to CK5 in the keeping-it-new-and-interesting category. But for this first night at least the ocean lighting was pretty spectacular.
Like, how often do you get ocean lighting at a gig?
We were pretty close for the first set but I found it too crowded so I bailed and found a new crew at the back for the second set where it was much, much roomier. Overall, the show was great and I had a really good time. There is just nothing like seeing a band like Phish in a crowd that small all grooving together in such a remarkably pleasant venue.
This first night 100% confirmed what I said at the conclusion of Phish’s Mexico run the previous year: this is hands-down my favourite way to see this band. And I suppose that’s why I came back for round II.