Tuesday 08/06/2013 by TheEmu

HOLLYWOOD BOWL RECAP: AT LAST

For our final recap before Dick's, we decided to invite forum regular and significant contributor of reviews, @n00b100, who has already listened to countless hours of Phish, but saw his first live performance just last night in Los Angeles, to be a guest recapper.

It wasn't the drive up from San Diego where it truly hit me that I was about to see my first Phish show after becoming a true fan. Nor was it when I met up with some very friendly .netters and actually got to chat about the band in person, hearing cool stories about first shows and seeing the Giant Country Horns in person and witnessing the Prague Ghost. Nor was it on the walk to the Hollywood Bowl (also my first time for that hallowed venue), seeing people of all ages wearing everything from sundresses right out of Monterey Pop to "Reba" t-shirts using the Reese's logo to a fellow in a full three-piece suit. It was only when I sat in my space on the long wooden bench that constituted my row in Section L2, that I realized it. Almost fifty years ago a young girl sat in my very space and screamed nonsense at The Beatles, and in 20 minutes (give or take) I'd be screaming nonsense at Phish. That is when it really and truly hit me - I was at my first show. All the tapes, the spreadsheet scouring, the LivePhish CDs - that was just spring training. I was in the big leagues now.

Phish came out to a hearty reception from the almost entirely full Bowl, and after a quick conference the band launched into a rousing “AC/DC Bag.” It generally makes for a nice, funky set opener (watching Mike slap his bass was a treat right out of the gates), and they put some extra oomph into the song's closing by speeding up the tempo. “The Moma Dance” helped keep those good feelings going; I'm one of the many that misses the razor-sharp funk workouts of “Black-Eyed Katy,” but the looser-limbed rock feel of “The Moma Dance” is a fine replacement, and live, I had no problem bopping along. Next up came “Sparkle,” which has never exactly been one of my favorite songs; that said, I couldn't help but get sucked into the crowd singing along and having a blast, as well as enjoying Kuroda projecting his lights onto the famous ribbed interior of the Bowl (this would happen all throughout the show - and yes, Kuroda's lights need to be seen in person to be appreciated). They then pull out “Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan,” and like the version in San Francisco on Friday it absolutely rips; sometimes you want a monstrous type-II jam (which...ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself), and sometimes you just want to hear Trey abuse his guitar, and this “Stealing Time” had no shortage of guitar abuse. Page then made his now-typical address to the crowd, then I saw a crew member start untangling his mic cord from its stand, which could only mean one thing - “Lawn Boy.” I always enjoy the goofiness of the song on tape, and in person, watching Page amble out on stage and soak in the limelight, my enjoyment was multiplied tenfold. Bless you, Chairman.

This quick breather led into a three-song run that I would consider the first set's highlight. “Wolfman's Brother” came first, and though they amusingly botched one of the verses (you could see Trey and Page grinning widely on the video feed, Fish smiling wryly, and Mike being Mike), they made up for it with another strong funk workout in what has been a pretty damn good tour for "Wolfman's" in 3.0. Page's piano work here is particularly delicious, a nice counterpoint to Trey's soloing. They then move into “Roses are Free,” which I enjoyed grooving and singing to (my dancing looks, to quote Karl Pilkington, like some kind of weird art, so I usually limit my concert movements to head bopping and bouncing on my toes), and from the usual outro it feels like the band might be heading into a bonus jam (cue the "WHY DON'T THEY JAM OUT ROSES ANYMORE?" screaming), but instead they go right into “Scent of a Mule.” “Mule” has been so much fun this tour, thanks to Fish introducing the Marimba Lumina, but this time they had something different in mind, as Trey's amp had gone out and the techs were working on it during Page's (elongated) solo, meaning that they couldn't go into the usual first Mike/Trey duet. Instead, Mike wandered over to Fish, who had pulled out his mallets, held up his bass like John Cusack in Say Anything... and Fish started thumping away on the strings of Mike's held-up bass, just like he would the Marimba, making for a wild percussive jam. It was crazy to watch live - I got a kick out of Mike making chord changes on his fretboard while Fish wailed away - and to add to the craziness, Trey and Page went over to Fish's kit and started tapping on his cymbals and toms. This went on for a few wild minutes, and I smiled at the end of it, having been gifted with my own slice of 94-level weirdness. “Mule” then wrapped up with its usual Klezmer-inflected segment, Mike holding a vocal note in the last verse for longer than I thought his range allowed these days; all in all, another fabulous version. “Ocelot” (which they took out for a nice long version, at least), “Cavern” (which rocks hard live), and the surprise return of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” closed things out nicely. A perfectly nice first set; you could hear a few bum notes here and there, but I don't mind that so long as the music was enjoyable, and the music was quite enjoyable, with that nutty Mule bass jam as the highlight.

Chalk Dust Torture” kicked off the second set, and I got excited, as I really like “CDT” in Set 2 and had visions of Dick's and Alpharetta 1's stellar versions dancing in my head. But instead they played a standard, if thoroughly energetic version, a set-opening warm up like the old days. This then led into “Golden Age,” which seems to be divisive in the Phish community (especially the merits of the TV on the Radio). I like the song (and TVOTR) a good deal, so I'm always happy to hear “Golden Age,” even with a few forgotten lyrics here and there. They slide into the usual “Golden Age” jam (side-note: one nice thing about 2013 so far is how hard they've been nailing their type-I jams, from “C&P” to “Tweezer” to “Disease”), then make the also-usual turn into the minor-key jam that heralds a trip into the unknown, and Page goes to the synthesizer as things get spartan and quiet, Trey working his wah-wah and Fish throwing in some militaristic drumming. And then, with the jam apparently having exhausted itself, they kick into the explosive intro of “Birds of a Feather.” I like “Birds” more as a Set I high-energy rocker, and it felt a bit jarring to me to get it in Set II (especially early on); that said, this was probably the best “Birds” we got all tour, with a few mellower touches in between the hard rocking.

Sand” made a welcome return to the second set, and it was here that I got my first taste of glow stick wars. All I can say is that I am amazed that people are okay with what is essentially culture-ingrained assault and battery, even if it's with dumb glowing plastic sticks. Nevertheless, it was brief, and I quickly got back into this more relaxed “Sand” and the weird notes Trey started playing. They then seemingly turned the regular Sand jam inside out, Mike exploring more with his basslines, Trey working some loops, Page going contemplative on the piano, as they work their way to the same conclusion as “Golden Age.” Then Mike flips on a different filter, and we enter a very familiar rumbling musical storm, which can only mean one thing - “Down With Disease.” They roll into the usual Disease starting jam, albeit a bit less smoothly than usual, and soon make thier way into a more upbeat, major-key jam, Fish holding down a quicksilver beat as Mike goes into "alien laser show" mode and Trey switches from soloing to playing chords. Things once again go quiet, then the band begins to climb out of the muck, with Trey leading the way, before a sudden left turn into the amusing false opening of “My Friend, My Friend.” I quite liked this song placement, and up to this point the “Sand” to “MFMF” run was my highlight of the show, even if the jam segments were all too brief.

Then comes "Harry Hood," which included another glow stick war, Trey quoting "Myfe" in the intro (he was thoroughly pleased with himself), Page going back to his talkbox, and (rather regrettably) the people behind me starting up a conversation during the regular Hood jam. What got them to shut up, though, was the band suddenly stepping out; a thrill ran through me as I realized that they were taking Hood out for a real walk for the first time since those crazed Type II “Hoods” from July 2003. Things began at a low simmer, as Trey started cranking out some sharp chords, then Fish starts picking up the pace and they rock out in a decidedly non-”Hood” way, with Page providing relaxed piano accompaniment as a counterpoint. They begin stop-starting, and of course the "whoos" come out, and I am not sorry to say that I participated in whooing. While not hitting the monstrous peak of the Tahoe Tweezer's stop-start jam, the band still whipped up some real power in that segment. Trey then took over and things headed to a quick, danceable jam (this is “Hood,” remember), before they quickly herded themselves into the land of bliss (Fish's sympathetic rhythms are invaluable to making this work). But they're still not done - Mike starts throwing out single wave-like notes, Page goes back to piano, and they play a really sweet jam that shows off their ability to interact and play off each other in a glorious fashion. The jam finally winds down (it is about here that I couldn't help myself and yelled "KEEP GOING" at the stage), and with perfect timing Trey starts up the Hood climax and we finish things up with a loop-laden climax. A massive singalong “Character Zero” and nice “Loving Cup” encore ends a great night.

Final thoughts, at-show version: (montage of me wandering around in a wide-eyed daze, yelling "They jammed out Hood!" to random strangers, then walking back in silence as I soaked up the experience I just had and would not trade for anything)

Final thoughts, listening back version: there are better shows in 2013, certainly, but the “Mule” is certainly worth hearing, as is the “Sand” > “Disease” > “MFMF” segment, and of course a true Type II “Hood” (especially one this compelling) demands a hearing or ten.

Thank you for reading this novella on my first Phish show. I'm so glad to finally have one under my belt. Hope to see you all out on tour next year!

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Comments

, comment by fracai
fracai Such a nice joyous show to finish up the west coast leg! So happy to be there with all the familiar faces from Gorge, Tahoe, and SF. Until next time!
, comment by ProfJibboo
ProfJibboo Inviting n00b100 to review the show is just another class act by the administrators of this website. @n00b100, awesome review! ....as always!
, comment by johnnyd
johnnyd Nicely done, @n00b100!
I hope the show has provided you with a kaliedescope of memories!
, comment by nolasox
nolasox Great review. Thanks and welcome aboard!
, comment by HenryHolland
HenryHolland This then led into “Golden Age,” which seems to be divisive in the Phish community

Say what?!?! It's a fantastic song, gets jammed out regularly, what's not to like? Crazy Phish phans :-) I'd rather hear that than other Phish covers like the totally lightweight Energy or *shudder* My Soul *shudder*

especially the merits of the TV on the Radio)

Did you mean "especially the merits of the TV on the Radio VERSION"? Because TVotR are a terrific band, as Trey well knows. :-)

Had a great time at the Hollywood Bowl show, having a seat right behind the soundboard helped. Much more adventurous musically than the 2011 Bowl show, the Ocelot jam and the Golden Age > Birds of a Feather > Sand sequence were highlights for me. The crowd was in a great mood, the police/security were pretty hands off and the guy next to me had some killer bud, which he was kind enough to share. If only the traffic wasn't such a nightmare on Highland......

, comment by surfacedweller
surfacedweller Nice review. I typically get to see just one or two shows a year (since 94) and each one is always a treat, almost like a first show again. I love the innocence and pure joy of a first show and always try to be open to new experiences. This was a rocking high-energy funk filled party. Lots of sing-along from the crowd (mostly in a good way) and note the lack of ballads. Pure fun! Thanks guys!
, comment by Icculus
Icculus Thank you! Please give some consideration to changing your username to @vet100 now that you have seen a show.

regards,
charlie
, comment by InsectEffect
InsectEffect
Love it, great job and glad glad glad that you're a glide!

THIS, on a t-shirt, or at least a coffee mug: "sometimes you want a monstrous type-II jam ... and sometimes you just want to hear Trey abuse his guitar."

I'm about to start a little Phish fast (no listening etc) until joining the crowd at Dick's, so I just want to say that if they spell "POSSUM," I hope we can all be laughing, laughing, falling apart. ;-)
, comment by ColForbin
ColForbin Fantastic recap! Even though it was your first show it is abundantly clear from this and your other reviews here that you are no noob.
, comment by nichobert
nichobert I can get Phish fans not liking TVOTR. There are some very unfortunate classic rock closet case lifers out there who thought Remain In Light was too modern too.

(cue the "WHY DON'T THEY JAM OUT ROSES ANYMORE?" screaming)

Hilarious. For a song that cruised into the 2.0 era with 2.5 jams ever, and maintained that number until 2012, it's such a bizarre sentiment to get frothy behind. Fee and Mango Song and Number Line and KDF and Suzy Greenberg and Ya Mar and Timber and 46 Days and Chalkdust and AC/DC Bag and Back On The Train and Birds are among the songs that have gone Type II more than Roses yet will never generate a fraction of the Where's The Jams Brah?! Fury of Roses, a song with 2 giant jams 15 months apart 14 years ago.

KEEP GOING! - my kind of (entitled) heckling! I love it though! When Phish's improvisation is THIS mighty, you can't help but fiend for more like an addict with a broken syringe sucking dope juice out of cigarette filters and cotton swabs.
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM I thought your screen name was ironic given the prolific and on-point reviews...
, comment by phamily_guy
phamily_guy Great job! Now onto jaded vetdom ;)
, comment by fluff_hen
fluff_hen Thanks for the great review! Did the Hood jam sound to anyone like a "Light" jam? Someone said that and I wasn't sure what they meant.. I just thought it was weird, gooey goodness!
, comment by ucpete
ucpete Great job @n00b100! You must be the most knowledgeable first-time show-goer of all time -- if you don't go with @Icculus's recommendation of vet100, you should go for "WookieOfTheYear" or something like that. You hit your first show and you write the official .net review for it? That's just awesome. I guess you could say I had to toil in the minors for years before I got my cup of coffee in the big leagues (BGCA1 review was the first time for me and I've been seeing them almost 15 years). Here's to many more shows for you, and keep up the awesome site contributions!
, comment by whatstheuse324
whatstheuse324 Nice job and congratulations!
, comment by DocDMT
DocDMT I Just celebrated my 20 year anniversary with the boys at this show. My first show being 8/14/93 Tinley Park. I have seen many ups and downs over the years! This has to be a great first show experience for anyone! They seemed a little battle fatigued coming off the 3 show run in SF but,man, they sure looked like they were having fun up there and it translated out into the crowd!! This was my Old Ladies 3rd show and she got to hear 3 of her favorites!! I got to see some tunes I have not seen in many year like While Guitare Gently Weeps and My Friend, My Friend. I don't get to see them as often as I used to but I see at least one show per tour now and it is always an elating moment I will never forget! As I told some new Phans I met in Hollywood last night the best place to be is inside... it does not matter where your seated as long as as you have some grooving room but just to let the music roll over you and to feel that moment when you are one with the band and everyone around you. Welcome to the brotherhood @n00b100, may you have many a gloriuos memories and meet some of the greatest people in the world!
, comment by bertoletdown
bertoletdown Great job, OP. Really.

For me, last night was about three things:

1. Wrapping up my longest run of Phish shows on one tour since 1999, and doing it in style at a beautiful venue just 10 minutes from my doorstep.

2. Getting my first MFMF. Why that eluded me for ~65 shows I will never know, but after the first set last night I had lost hope. I was pretty much joyous when I heard the first notes.

and 3. Harry Hood. Welcome back, Harry. Missed you.
, comment by swhedges
swhedges Well, since no one else has brought it up:

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, CHRIS KURODA!

His work last night on the shell of the Bowl was simply staggering, it's a pity the show wasn't webcast so that everyone could see how he lit it up like Looney Tunes.
, comment by MrJones
MrJones Wow, nice work. Great review!
, comment by MDosque
MDosque Great review man! I enjoyed it. Hope to see you over here on the East Coast this fall. Great writing.
, comment by Higgins
Higgins Last night was my 4th show since I started listening to Phish. I was never one to jump into a car and go to a show without tickets, and when I first started listening, and I mean REALLY listening, (1999) tickets were hard to come by. This was before craigslist made it possible to get any ticket you want, if you have the $$. I finally got my first show, after a couple years of relentless internet searching to see if theres any news on a return to performing together, in.Cincinatti 2/21/03 and the show was not great to say the least. I felt that something was off and it was there in most of the shows I heard from 03/04. Then they broke up. I found other bands, went to festivals and concerts and lived life. I still listend to 88-00 Phish, but was moving on. Then, In early 2009 I was informed of their reunion and tour. I was intrigued, but skeptical. I was worried it would be the same band from 03/04. But I would check them out if
they came to Los Angeles, where I am now living.
fast forward to 2011. I am imformed that Phish is playing the Hollywood Bowl in Aug, so I youtube some
recent shows and feel a sense of curiosity hit me.
This was clearly Phish, but they were tighter, more defined, they werent just some guys pissing in peoples ears, which was a quote I totally understood. The band had always experimented or noodled around too much at times. Now, they were still jamming, still improvising, but with much more intent and purpose. I immediately bought tickets through craigslist. That first
Hollywood Bowl show drove it in. Phish is playing their best music since 98. Long beach last year showed they can still type II anything, And Last night showed they have energy. 4th show in 4 days and we got treated to a rockin, fun, energetic, albeit crowd pleasingly safe, two sets. And Chris Kurodas new lights. Brilliant. Those giant shapes he drew all over the back wall was really an awesome visual treat, along with so much more. I am actually contemplating my first out of state Phishing trip. Ive heard many good things about Dicks.
, comment by ForgeTheCoin
ForgeTheCoin Great review and glad you so thoroughly enjoyed your first show...!
, comment by ADAWGWYO
ADAWGWYO I'm happy for you! Nice review too
, comment by ninebyframe
ninebyframe Well done @n00b100, great recap. I'm glad your first show was a memorable one. Perhaps for your next adventure you could make trek out to see the beautiful foliage of the Northeast this fall?? ;)
, comment by Ouish
Ouish You're through the looking glass now... Nothing will ever be the same. Great review and an even better attitude. Here's to your next 100 + shows!
, comment by forbin1
forbin1 Excellent write up @n00b100..your reviews are always a pleasure to read...this one even more so..due to the fact that it was firsthand..
, comment by pyite9
pyite9 Excellent review and congrats on your first show. Hard to believe someone with so much insight has never seen them live before snd I say that with absolutely no disrepect. You've gotten the Taste now and will be forever hooked. Even if your first show isn't exactly a great one (and the show was certainly above average) it will forever hold a special place in your heart. I remember my first show I had been listening for a few years as a casual fan so when they stepped out on stage I was confident I could name the tune. That's when they threw me a curveball and it took me a minute to identify it....Ramble On! (8-1-98 Alpine Valley) Followed by Mike's> Esther> Weekapaug. I've been hooked ever since and 32 shows later I still get that anticipation every time the boys step on stage. Here's to your first and many more to come.

P.S. I love the positive vibes and honesty of the people and reviewers of phish.net unlike the haters and needless bashing that occurs on the reviews at livephish.
, comment by GottaJibboo
GottaJibboo Thanks for the review @n00b100! It was refreshing to read and brought me back to my first show (12/15/95). As other's have mentioned, there is nothing like actually being present and witnessing first hand what Phish can do. You can listen to a show a 1,000 times, watch it over and over via couch tour, but you'll never be able to recreate the actual experience of being there.

Also, the Hollywood Bowl was made for CK5. @swhedges is completely right. I've only seen videos and pictures (I remember being mesmerized by the BOTT video from '11), but wow! Would love to see a show there one day.
, comment by moonfacebrb
moonfacebrb @fluff_hen absolutely MWP/Chicago Light jam
, comment by RIKERSGHOST
RIKERSGHOST Kudos on the Karl Pilkington refrence... If I were you, I would get to more shows. :)

, comment by Dressed_In_Gray
Dressed_In_Gray For a n00b, this was a fantastic Type II review.

Good job, sir!
, comment by OrangeSox
OrangeSox Really glad you took the time to write this @n00b100 and glad .net gave you the outlet. Excellent review of a good show, without a doubt a strong first but certainly leaving a lot still to look forward to. Hope you get a flight to the East Coast this Fall!
, comment by AlbanyYEM
AlbanyYEM Damn all this first show talk has gotten me to dust off 11/19/97. Had zero idea the extent of what I was getting into. 4 song second set? Talk about walking off into the deep end.
, comment by Ambient
Ambient Woo
, comment by whrdina
whrdina I, for one, am highly appreciative of the Karl Pilkerton reference. He's got a head like a fucking orange. Great review too! Welcome aboard.
, comment by KTIrwinning
KTIrwinning YES!!! I loved your review and LOVED experiencing the walk to and from the show. You are awesome and I look forward to many more shows w you!
Cheers!!
Katie
, comment by DragonBits
DragonBits Only saw the three night SPAC run and knew the band was experimenting and I'd miss when they pulled it together. Just got a chance to do a couch-visit to part of the show and listened to the Feather-Sand combo and it really rocked. I periodically had trouble knowing what Page was playing his Zep-sounds and Trey was playing and the sound on the recording of those tracks hit that perfect live-sound mix where I could hear everything. Worth a second listen on speakers if you've only done ear-buds or cruddy work speakers like I've been doing!

I haven't seen many comments about Page, but I really think he's stepped up his game this tour. His mastery of the "edge" of the wah-envelope-voicealope sound has been over the top fluid when he hits it. Not just plinko, Page is rocking.
, comment by Just_Ivy
Just_Ivy @Icculus said:
Thank you! Please give some consideration to changing your username to @vet100 now that you have seen a show.

regards,
charlie
How about @ILeftMyCherryInTheBowl??

Good job, .netter formerly known as @n00b100. You make us n00bs look good :)
, comment by adestino
adestino I was the guy who rode up with @n00b100 from San Diego. My first West Coast show since moving out here from NY last year. a good man and a gooder review...i mean better review i mean. Good shiiiiiiit
, comment by jaredprox
jaredprox OP: You, sir, just high-stepped into the Top 5 of 3.0 .net show reviews: a technically sound, objective take stirred with spoonfuls of sweaty experience.

And a tip of the cap to .net for smartly capitalizing on the rare chance to stoke our nostalgic fires by featuring a first-show review from a fan who was already DOWN. For comparison: it'd be like the OP teaching a human sexuality course for 10 years and also watching Jenna Jameson's entire video collection, yet never having sex. But now he's finally going to grease and give us the play-by-play after it's over. We find out that he longed for Black-Eyed Katy but still had fun doing the Moma Dance and realized that it really does ALWAYS end with the beautiful buzz.
, comment by mgouker
mgouker So glad you made it!

Thanks for sharing your experience with us, @n00b100!

Peace from Florida,

Michael
, comment by Harold_of_the_Coast
Harold_of_the_Coast Great review! I feel it, this having been my first Phish show since 2000 and first ever show at HB! The concert brought back good memories and it was refreshing to look around and just see nothing but smiling, dancing people. Being at a show was a great feeling to rediscover in 13 years! And special thanks to the girl who sold us two tickets that were together, below face, at the show.
, comment by weekapaugrooven
weekapaugrooven Awesome review from n00b. I'm so glad that you enjoyed and finally made it to your phirst show. We all had to start somewhere. It always makes me so joyous to meet a first timer and just experience how utterly excited they are. It honestly makes the show that much more enjoyable for me when I'm with a new comer next to me on the floor or pavilion (or wherever). It brings back memories of how absolutely thrilled I was at my first show (7/10/99).

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