California Dreamin’

Hollywood Bowl - 8.8.11 (Graham Lucas)

Phish greeted a distinctly Los Angeles audience to a second set filled with action-packed adventure, following up their opening weekend at the Gorge with playing every bit as strong. With nary a moment to stop for air, the second set possessed a relentless flow, diverse jamming and an arrow set for the dark side. Following a well-played but straightforward opening half, the band got to business in second, highlighted by the opening sequence of “Carini > Crosseyed -> Twist > Piper.” With an impending flight to Tahoe in mere hours, let’s get to the video tape.

Official Hollywood Poster (DKNG)

After several contained “Carinis” over the opening half of summer, when Phish kicked off the nightcap in Hollywood with the dark anthem, one had the sense that it might go a bit further. And instead of dropping out into another song following a hard-rock peak, this time the band built naturally into a mid-tempo groove and right onto the spiritual plane. Flowing from the dark to sublime, “Carini” provided one of the beautiful passages of the night. Spilling into a spacey outro, the band wasted little time before dropping into “Crosseyed and Painless.”

Enhancing the composed jam with percussive and intricate interplay and seething fury, Phish had the Bowl eating out of the palm of their hands as they jammed on the song’s infectious theme. Mike’ bass lines stood out as a commanding force beneath this piece—and the set—as his eclectic ideas thumped loudly into the Hollywood hills. He and Trey shone together throughout this hard rock peak and right beyond it, as the band jammed into more delicate textures. Getting very quiet very quickly, Trey favored guitar scratches over an alien canvas produced by Mike and Page, while Fish backed them with shimmering cymbal. As the band moved deeper into this spaced-aged sound sculpture, Mike, again, took command of the eerie exploration. Trey whispered the opening of “Twist” over this context, and the non-stop highlights continued to flow.

8.8.11 (G.Lucas)

With four-minded interplay within the theme of the song, “Twist” has become a modern-era piece of jazz-fusion, and this version stood out for its cohesive build from a cool beginning to a full-throttled peak. But the improvisational highlight of the show came next as the band paired “Twist” with its classic setlist partner, “Piper.” A vibrant example of musical density, the band assaulted the crowd with so many ideas and textures within this scorching-turned-blissful improv. Locked together and moving a mile minute through a jaw-dropping, wide-open jam, Mike and Fishman added a hard-edged pocket that continually pushed the piece to new and different places. And out of this original music, the band hit a sacred stride and finding some of the most transcendent places we’ve heard this tour. Though ending somewhat abruptly in “Mike’s Song,” this spectacular “Piper,” nonetheless, stood out as the gem of the show.

8.8.11 (G.Lucas)

A fiery “Mike’s” was out shined by “Weekapaug,” whose percussive interplay had reached an engaging plane when Trey put down his guitar and climbed behind the drum set. Fishman moved into the center of the stage and onto a mini-kit and the band seeped into Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.” The quasi-comical take on the classic song added a new Fishman cover to his repertoire and added some lightheartedness to quite a serious set of music. Stamping the frame complete with “Character Zero” and “Quinn the Eskimo,” the band finalized another standout set of music.

Infusing their Hollywood showcase with creativity at every turn, the band left the City of Angels for Tahoe having dropped yet another bomb. Their stellar second set more than made up for any lack of adventure in the first, and the band heads for northern California as hot as we’ve seen them this summer. This one is a quick turnaround, so travel safe and I’ll see you there.

1st Set Notes: Well played throughout, the first set featured several songs just performed at the Gorge, though was highlighted by three pieces that weren’t—“Disease,” “Tube” and “Split.” The rare “Disease” opener always gets things going quickly, and this version kicks-started the show. “Tube,” though still short, just hit the spot as Trey comped Page’s solo with all sorts of funk sensibility. But the most outstanding piece in the opening half came in “Split Open and Melt.” More groovy than most recent versions, this version still reached those raunchy and dissonant places that define a great “Split.” In fact, much like Raleigh in June, the band got so engaged in their abstract improv that they had trouble building out of the jam as they botched the ending again. The other point of mention was the note-perfect rendition of Zappa’s “Peaches En Regalia.”

I: Down with Disease, Cavern, Possum, Cities, Peaches en Regalia, Kill Devil Falls, Lawn Boy, Tube, Back on the Train, Wilson, Axilla, Split Open and Melt, Backwards Down the Number Line

II: Carini > Crosseyed and Painless -> Twist > Piper, Mike’s Song > Joy, Weekapaug Groove > 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover* > Hold Your Head Up > Weekapaug Groove, Character Zero, Quinn the Eskimo

E: Stealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Julius (*debut)


Hollywood Bowl - 8.8.11 (Graham Lucas)

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963 Responses to “California Dreamin’”

  1. gavinsdad Says:

    lowell reba for break

  2. joe Says:

    too bad about the stream. Did they hook people up that had problems last time? Bummed here that I’m missing out

  3. She Divides Says:

    I’m going to try to hang in for set II… 🙂

  4. Corey Says:

    Second set’s going to be two hours of goodness. Bowie sounded great, at least what I heard. Raining buckets here too, in Beantown. Always like Mellow Mood and Horn. Interesting venue. Not sure what to make of it. Actually, it reminds me of Ventura with the small set of “stands” in the rear.

  5. She Divides Says:

    Heck ya, I think set II is going to be worth the sleep deprivation!

    I’ve only ever been to Tahoe to ski a couple times so I’m trying to imagine where exactly this venue fits in, looks pretty interesting though.

  6. joe Says:

    Everyone go to use the bathroom and wander around during setbreak?

  7. She Divides Says:

    I got a beer… 🙂

  8. BingosBrother Says:

    I grabbed AW’s balls.

  9. Cable Hogue Says:

    I think that PYITE was the tightest one I’ve heard in quite a while. Nailed it.

    Rift was noticeably together also. Rippin 46 Days, good Bowie. I love Party Time, so that was cool. Was anyone else thinking “OhKeePa>YEM”?

    OK set overall, kinda short by current standards, maybe saving some extra time for the second?

    Stream is great here in VT. One or two minor bumps in the road. Gin and tonics and green bowlfuls.

    Calling for a second set Stash here, dunno why….

  10. Guyute711 Says:

    My friend just texted me that the scene sucks. Too many talkers and people complaining about smoke. What?

  11. negev79 Says:

    I’m eating cheerios.

  12. gavinsdad Says:

    i need a beer…thanks for the reminder she div. (lowell reba so so nice).

    pour some out for JG on this nite of remembrance.

    “You need music, I don’t know why. It’s probably one of those Joseph Campbell questions, why we need ritual. We need magic and bliss, and power and myth, and celebration and religion in our lives and music is a good way to encapsulate a lot of it.” – Jerry Garcia

  13. She Divides Says:

    I need an emoticon for that perma-grin look I have plastered on my face at at phish shows.

  14. She Divides Says:

    Great quote gavin’s- thanks.
    I hadn’t seen it before my last post

  15. joe Says:


  16. Multibeast Says:

    love that quote

  17. gavinsdad Says:

    2nd set theme?

  18. uncle ebenezer Says:

    evening ladies and gents 😀

    did you get an email from me @joe?

  19. plord Says:

    Hey gang, what’s up? Missed last night and all the festivities so far tonight, how’s things been? I see Miner liked the Bowl; what were the first set highlights tonight so far? When did they leave the stage?

  20. kayatosh Says:

    meat was cool too, cable.

  21. Multibeast Says:

    According to yemblog: “The Harvey’s parking lot is covered w/screen-like sheets. There are also lights on top. Speculate away.” hmmmm.

  22. Multibeast Says:

    Hey plord
    great to meet you at the gorge.

  23. chefbradford Says:

    I was actually able to stream the first set from my phone while I was at work, which I had not thought to do until just before the show started, and it worked perfectly. Couldn’t watch the video, of course, but the sound was great

  24. negev79 Says:

    Hey Plord – I jumped on kind of late. 46 days stood out as pretty hot. Water in the Sky was very fast paced. From others’ comments sounded like it was a pretty mellow set.

    Not sure what time they went off, but it’s been a while, they should be starting back up soon.

    Short first set too, 71 minutes I think

  25. ThePigSong Says:

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