011616 Phish, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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By the second night of Phish at Riviera Maya in Mexico I had already faced the shock and amazement of how fantastic the entire experience was and on January 16th, 2016 I blissfully walked to the Phish concert on the beach in swimming trunks and bare feet, the powdery sand sifting between my toes.

With no poster crush to deal with, getting into the show was easy-peasy.  I quickly got my first drink of the day and was surprised to see a big lineup for food.  No worries, I was happy to wait until the show started at which point I was able to snack at will.

I quickly got my second and third drink of the day and just as swiftly found my first tequila shot of the day.

I parked myself by the ocean so I could see the light show projected into the water and in no time the show started.  Unlike the previous night the staff was keeping people out of the water and as I stared at the ocean-lights it occurred to me the water-light tech was covering three roles: in addition to the obvious entertainment value the lights also provided security and safety.  Soon after the show started we saw some people coming along the shoreline with inner tubes and bam, the lights were on them.  Security had no trouble shooting them down (metaphorically I hope).  When Velvet Sea started the crowd jumped in the water en masse and when it was clear there was no stopping the masses the security gave up and lights played off the waders for the rest of the night – safety.  It kills me that I didn’t have the wherewithal to wade into the sea for that particular number.  

I did, however, spend a good part of the second set waist deep in the ocean and I can tell you it was an experience of unparalleled awesomeness.  Prince Caspian was a highlight (which it usually isn’t, Magnaball excluded) and I dunked my GoPro into the waves.  I spent the night bouncing between hanging with friends near the back and up closer to the stage on Page side with m’lady and bunch more friends.  Closing the second set, Harry Hood was my first favourite tune of the run and I sang it loud and proud in tribute to my late friend Chris Hood, as I always do.  

I ran into some jammers from the previous night who encouraged me to join them again after the show and I eagerly agreed.  As soon as Character Zero ended the concert I scooted back to my room to change out of my wet clothes and grab my mandolin.  The jam never materialized but I sure had a good time hanging out with a thousand people in a dozen different rooms.  I recall a late night stroll where three of us, strangers all, sang Little Feat’s Willin’ loud and proud.  I knew the chords and the other two knew the words; it was a magic moment.

With the greatest of ease I found m’lady outside of the sports bar as the wee hours approached and we had some more drinks and a few snacks before calling it a night.  Crossing the resort we were back in our room by 2am.

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