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. kayatosh Says:

    sounded great. fishman is a beast

  2. ridge runner Says:

    1st show had a coil closer. thought it a ballsy move to close w/ a piano solo. aside from the awesomeness of the show, which took time to sink in, I knew that these guys were for real to be closing a show like that.

  3. Corey Says:

    And with that, good night all. Let’s see if tomorrow carries some Gorge like weight.
    Had fun with the play by play.

  4. snowbank Says:

    great show. gonna be a fun night in tahoe. very beautiful 2nd set.

  5. Robert Champion Says:

    You cannot ask for anything more from Phish than that second set and encore. I am going to save my opinions for the cloudcast and I AM NOT FLUFFING merely because it was a high quality webcast in the moment kind of a thing. There are good things to say about The Gorge and I have not heard the Bowl yet – tomorrow morning for that – But this second set that just happened this evening was some professional action by the band and the crew. Also, that falling action from Page was a picture perfect ending to yet another dismal night in the suburbs of Chicago.

  6. Cable Hogue Says:

    I liked it. Light was incredible. Thought maybe it was going into Timber with Fish’s heavy tom work. Tribal sounding jam. Page outstanding on the synth in there. Walls a great setlist call, a wild and wooly one.

    Let’s do it again tomorrow.

  7. She Divides Says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed that show. Page was on- squirming coil was great but I was still hoping for one more! Tomorrow night it is.

  8. Robert Champion Says:

    Let me be the the nerd on this board that I am and say that when Trey broke into the main theme to Harry Potter my wife and I mutually lost out shit. They look on Trey’s face as he nailed those phrases to the wall made it all worth while. It came out of nowhere and capped off our past Sat night of seeing the final installment at the theater a truly magical event…SNAPE! I knew I loved you.

  9. Cable Hogue Says:

    reading back, notice I wasn’t alone in hearing shades of Timber in that light….

  10. Andrew Says:

    Loved the Light just as much as Gorge RnR

  11. Andrew Says:

    Not familiar with the Harry Potter music but figured it was something considering it was phrased and you could hear people hooting and wailing. Fun stuff.

  12. butter Says:

    Light just made my Tahoe trip

    The sound qual up in Harveys lot is dialed

    Breath taking, the sound qual I dream of

    Just fish side of sbd. 15 feet right of ck5

  13. BrandonKayda Says:

    i have no idea what the Harry Potter theme is

  14. sumodie Says:

    don’t know the Harry Potter theme at all!

    tonight was my first webcast and I am sold on it -the band was amazing to watch on my large TV even without the stereo sound properly hooked up. Wasted most of 1st set configuring my setup but the 2nd set was easily worth it and more

    I’ll be looking to catch every webcast possible going forward if I can’t attend in person

    how soon will tonight be available on demand?

  15. voopa Says:

    Another great night. Light brought it big time. Rocket Man!

  16. sumodie Says:

    awesome, butter. Was drooling all over my rug during Light. Can’t imagine what it would’ve been like in person -good for you!

  17. butter Says:

    Set 2 killed

    Feelin really good about Hood and Slave

    Jibboo kept my interest much more than recent versions

    Huge Page night, peeps have been sayin Trey cut Piper last night just as he was steppin to the Theremin

    Tonight was Treys gift back to Page

    Storage Light Bitches

  18. Robert Champion Says:

    Here you go guys – This is the theme that Trey touched on during Light. Fucking brilliant. Thank you Trey!

  19. Mike in Austin Says:

    Loved it. The sound was amazing. Very respectful quiet crowd. Nobody saying anything but cheering and shaking heads in disbelief. Cool vibe.

    Got to meet a bunch of folks, tzarasghost, leo weaver, Telas, garretc, AW, silly willy, Etc…

    Party time then Mellow mood? Trey was giddy

    Hope tomorrow is more of the same.

    The webcast didn’t effect the band. We can put that to rest.

  20. [an unrelated] wilson Says:

    Rocket Man. Many wet eyes. Flashback to house music after Goege ’97. What a 2nd set. Heartstrings.

  21. Mike in Austin Says:

    “Rich girl” was the house music after the show.

  22. Mike in Austin Says:

    Read back BK. Condolences on that.

    Hope everything works out for the best.

  23. voopa Says:

    Just saw a shooting star before turning here at lovely Emerald Bay.

    Oh, and I rode the rail for most of the first set…woohoo!

  24. c0wfunk Says:

    Wow harry Potter jamz and rocket man? Right the Fuck on

  25. bhizzle Says:

    So….webcast jinx?

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