After playing one long, fiery set capped with a Dave Matthews-assisted encore on Thursday, Phish returned to the beach at Moon Palace Resort in Cancún for a full, two-set show complete with a Rolling Stones cover debut, an improv-heavy, four-song second frame, and more.
The night began with a blast off into “Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.” as Trey Anastasio took the spotlight for some crashing waves of guitar solos and Page McConnell showed dazzling support, his fingers surfing the keys. A mighty yet mysterious “Ghost” appeared next, allowing Trey some space for screeching guitar riffs as the titular apparition moved along the shore. Mike Gordon’s subtle yet pulsing bass tones helped give life and color to the tune, infusing it with a groove as strong as ever.
Next, the band sent fans splashing in the sea with “Free”—one of many songs they played last night that perfectly alluded to the shorefront vibes—and Jon Fishman, clad in a pink and blue muumuu, stole the show for the percussion-driven “Back on the Train”.
It’s always a pleasant surprise to hear Mike Gordon burst into the playful, a capella vocal intro of “Halley’s Comet”, and this “Comet” jam traveled through more than 14 minutes of improvisation before landing briefly back in a reprise of “Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S.”. The Kasvot Växt staple quickly lunged ahead into one of the night’s big highlights, the Phish debut of The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. While Phish only performed the first verse and chorus of the song, the Stones interlude was nonetheless a welcome surprise.
With plenty more segue steam behind them, Trey, Mike, Fish, and Page gracefully moved into a funky “Also Sprach Zarathustra”, known to the layman as “2001”. The opening guitar riff of “Chalk Dust Torture” finally guided the spaceship back to earth as the song unraveled with powerful vibrations to close set one.
Set two opened with a blazing, 25-minute “Down With Disease”. Trey made some location edits in the lyrics, singing “Dancin on my sand” and “Dancin on the beach” to give the extended set opener some tropical flavor. Typically, a monster of a jam like this would be a shoo-in for “jam of the show,” but Phish was far from finished exploring after this fantastic, open-ended “DWD”.
After exiting “DWD” territory into a fun “Backwards Down The Line” detour, Trey took back control with the scorching introductory chords of “Carini”, continuing the full-throttle improv in the Cancún nighttime heat.
“Carini”, much like “DWD”, has truly become one of the most reliable tools in the band’s belt over the years. This twenty-minute behemoth injected fire into the audiences floating waves, keeping dancers on their toes and adventurers fueled up with soul and power to rock on through the wild ride.
Keeping the beach party tunes rolling, the band dealt out a strong rendition of “A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing” to close the rare four-song set, now clearly settled into the comfy environs for a weekend of music and revelry.
Upon returning for the encore Trey took a moment to thank the resort staff before continuing the location-appropriate song selections with a flowing “Wading In The Velvet Sea”. After downshifting for this beautiful ballad, Phish set the gear shift to “high” for one last sprint through “Run Like An Antelope” to close out another exciting night of Phish: Riviera Maya.
The fun continues tonight, Saturday, February 26th, with another fiesta on the beach. We’ll see you back here tomorrow for a rundown of the Saturday night festivities.
Setlist: Phish: Riviera Maya | Moon Palace Resort | Cancún, Quintana Roo, MX | 2/25/22
Set One: Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S., Ghost > Free, Back on the Train, Halley’s Comet -> Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S. -> (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction > Also Sprach Zarathustra > Chalk Dust Torture
Set Two: Down with Disease > Backwards Down the Number Line > Carini, A Song I Heard the Ocean Sing
Encore: Wading in the Velvet Sea, Run Like an Antelope
 Phish debut; incomplete.
 Unfinished; with beach and sand themed lyrics.
This show contained the Phish debut of (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, albeit a partial version containing only the first verse and chorus. The unfinished Down with Disease included alternative beach and sand themed lyrics.