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:

    put this version on your “blissed out” playlists

  2. negev79 Says:

    My BF just came in and heard Phish coming out of the computer. He was like ” I thought you weren’t going to buy that stream thing?” so I explained that I didn’t…someone else bought the stream and pointed a camera at their tv and are streaming that.

    He was like “you are such a nerd.”

    lol, yes I am.

  3. She Divides Says:

    Heck ya- loved the Hershey show! It was so awesome to bouncing on that springy floor, dancing to jiboo opening

  4. Corey Says:

    Another stream…w/ chop vid. But audio is clean. Phanphan’s channel…

  5. ThePigSong Says:

    I know it’s all about the quality/quantity, but this set could end up at 99 minutes.

  6. Multibeast Says:

    what stream are you guys listening to? the ustream is bogus.

  7. gavinsdad Says:

    go for it guys

  8. DukeOfLizards Says:


  9. Esteban Says:

    Light > Dark Star

  10. negev79 Says:

    phanphan on ustream @multi

  11. BrandonKayda Says:

    So the production of West Side Story I’m in that was supposed to open this Friday got cancelled (postponed until the Fall) because they didn’t get the proper music rights. So we have two free preview shows Thursday and Friday and then that is it.

    I’m pretty sad. It’s just frustrating that it got cancelled after everyone put a lot of work into making this show great. It will be put on again during the Fall, and they’re trying to get all of the original cast back but that isn’t going to happen because of people going away to college and stuff like that. I’ll likely be in it but the cast will be different.

    Either way, I guess I have three days left with these people, so I better make it last.

  12. negev79 Says:

    Aw, BK that sucks. Sorry to hear it.

  13. Multibeast Says:

    Thanks negev!

  14. Corey Says:

    @Multi, two posts up^ Phanphan channel on ustream.

  15. ThePigSong Says:

    Sorry to hear that BK, good news is you will get to do it all over again in the fall.

  16. plord Says:

    @BK that blows. Also: what? Not having the rights for a public performance of a really famous show by a really famous composer? Who does that, exactly?

  17. negev79 Says:

    here’s hoping this is the part where @Miner’s webcast hypothesis is disproven.

  18. DukeOfLizards Says:



    Sounds like it’s been a great experience so far, though. Plus, you get to do it all again in a few months!

  19. DukeOfLizards Says:

    Brilliant Trze leads here.

  20. plord Says:

    Trza with the fast fingers.

  21. negev79 Says:

    oh this is getting gooood

  22. DukeOfLizards Says:


  23. plord Says:

    Claving for dollars…

  24. Corey Says:

    Sorry to hear, @BK. Someone certainly dropped the ball. Should’ve been one of the first things done. Hope you get a great new set of actors to work with. More time to hone the acting chops, I suppose.

    Light is breaking…

  25. gavinsdad Says:

    hold steady

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