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:

    one two punchin

  2. BingosBrother Says:

    Place sounds like a fuckin house party. Bastards.

  3. negev79 Says:

    lol it sounds like there are 20 guys in the front row yelling “hood!”

    small venues are awesome

  4. ColonelJoy Says:

    Would be surprised to hear rocket man again

  5. Multibeast Says:

    Tweet from yemblog earlier: “Venue ~ 80% full. Many people w/rocket ship hats on, apparently wanting a rocket-related cover (-Man, -In My Pocket, Something For-)”

    Wonder if the boys were inspired by the rocket hats?

  6. ColonelJoy Says:

    Of course at first note I thought it was tiny dancer, so I need to brush up on my sir elton

  7. Multibeast Says:

    Just read that Rocket Man was a soundcheck favorite back in the early 90s

  8. Andrew Says:

    love the “Mars is no place to raise your kids” line, being they are all parents now and still influence so much of our lives.

    Wisdom for the head-space of those with children.

  9. gavinsdad Says:

    fishmans ride work has always impressed me

  10. negev79 Says:

    ugh fucking ads. that’s what I get for not buying the real stream.

  11. plord Says:


  12. plord Says:


  13. Corey Says:

    ^Amoreena. Great day, great show, terrible wake-up call at 7:30 by wash. co. finest.

  14. DukeOfLizards Says:


  15. gavinsdad Says:

    enjoying myself here.

  16. Multibeast Says:

    That hold felt a bit rushed? No real classic hood peak?

  17. negev79 Says:

    correct Multi

  18. negev79 Says:

    correct there was no peak I mean. I couldn’t tell if it was rushed.

  19. plord Says:

    The last couple WOTC I can recall were monsters. Manchester set closer and Portsmouth.

  20. Corey Says:


  21. plord Says:

    But I can’t stay up any more to find out if this one joins them 🙂 Take care all, enjoy the rest, see you tomorrow.

  22. negev79 Says:

    good night Plord!

  23. Multibeast Says:

    yea rushed might be the best description but definitely peak less

  24. negev79 Says:

    damn stream died. guess I’ll have to wait til tomorrow too. Night all.

  25. Corey Says:

    G’night, @plord. More PHiSH tomorrow, afterall.

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