Notes: Scent of a Mule featured Fish playing Mike's bass with mallets and all four band members playing Fish's drum kit at once. Disease was unfinished. My Friend, My Friend's "Myfe" ending was quoted in Hood's intro. Hood also included Georgy Girl teases from Mike.
I've been listening to Phish since I was in college back in the 1.0 era and have seen many many shows, even caught the European tour in '97, and I have to say, this concert was one of my favorites. I live in Los Angeles, which is one finicky city, especially when it comes to music. Phish knows this all too well, and they delivered a show perfect for this jaded city - it was a solid ROCK CONCERT front to back. Sure, the setlist had a lot of crowd pleasers, and maybe there are more exploratory shows on this tour, but for people like me that lost touch with the band (and honestly felt the 2.0 vibe was lacking), they brought me back into the fold. BIG TIME. So inspiring to see a great band deal with their struggles and come back strong. It will never be 1.0, nor should it be, but whatever this is that's happening now, IT'S GREAT.
The last night of our 8 show run was very different than any other night. I expected a lot of repeats and a party show atmosphere. What I got was a good, crowd pleasing show with one fantastic jam in Harry Hood.
I had been surrounded by very experienced heads so far this tour and the bowl gave me the exact opposite experience. There was about 30 people in our section and no one was over 30 or had seen more than 10 shows. The band gave them a show of songs they knew well, a type II hood jam that kept their attention and gave them a taste of Leg II's jamming style. It was great seeing Phish through fresh eyes. Phish often plays to the audience in front of them. That doesn't always work for the people listening from home, but our section of noobs were glowing with energy the entire night. We need new blood in the scene and it looks like LA is the place to get it done.
Scent of a Mule and Hood's Tahoeezwer jam were the musical highlights, but CK5's light show and noob energy buffing off my jaded vet syndrome is what I'll remember the most.
I will start by saying I do have some mixed feelings about this show. The conflict I have is I feel that some of the song choices were bland and almost generic. But this show had peaks and energy in parts that made me so grateful to be there.
I will start with the bland.
Bag as an opener to me is almost always dull and boring, and I feel the energy wasn't there to properly start a show. The segue into Moma is always enjoyable but still average and dull for me. Roses was standard and I could have gone with it or without it. Ocelot also was average and in my opinion has been way to overplayed this summer, I wish they could have put something else in that slot. The only issue I really had with the second set was Golden Age which I'm not really much of a fan of to begin with. It was average and I feel it is just a go to slot for the second set that has also been overplayed.
Now the highlights
Sparkle was an awesome surprise for me and It was played very well. The lighting and climax at the end was amazing, I feel this was when things finally kicked into gear. STFTFP was also pretty good, although it is always played just as a normal song the end chorus this whole tour has been phenomenal and this one was no different. Lawn boy was comical and fun, and Pages high notes at the end gave everyone a good laugh. Now for the wolfman, this was the heartbeat of the first set, the beat never stopped and everyone was on top of it. Page has been amazing jamming out of wolfman and fishman kept the rhythm going relentlessly. Scent is always a welcome surprise and this was a special one. The bass mallet was a very cool edition and was an awesome spacey mid point for the song. One thing I love about mule is how off into space it goes and BAM! There's Mike singing again. It was nothing short of fantastic. While my Guitar Gently Weeps was also a welcome surprise and well played. Great way to end a set.
Chalkdust although generic as a set opener was a welcome boost of energy and got things going, nothing more to say about it but good energy. BOAF was standard but also got the crowd in gear and got us ready for an a little above average sand that got the groove going in full swing. What I do have to say about the sand is the lighting (like most of the show) was spot on and fantastic, complimenting the song very well. DWD was also average but I was happy to catch it. MFMF was FANTASTIC! And very well played and was perfectly placed for the monster that was about to come upon us. The "hollyhood" was this monster, and I can honestly say no one in attendance really saw it coming. The odd thing I can say about this hood jam is it felt like it bounced around more than flowed into different ideas. But it worked for me and kept going and going. I loved the funk I loved the ambient nature of it. And in my personal opinion was one of the best hoods played in a while. All I can say is listen to it and see if it works for you, because it did for me. Character Zero had amazing energy and peaked like crazy! The place was shaking towards the energy. As for Loving Cup I have to say I immediately felt disappointed when I heard the piano at the beginning thinking "great another loving cup encore". But this one felt different and I felt it peak like no other cup I've heard before. And I felt it was a great ending to the evening and I felt it left the audience in kind of a union with each other.
All in all great evening with peaks that made up for the shortcomings.
Note: This was my first Phish show. I've been listening intermittently to live stuff and excitedly poring over setlists for years, but I decided it was finally time to get out and do it. Because why not? I don't have a lot of money, which is probably my best excuse for why I've never been to a show before yesterday, but I'm going to try and find some money so that I can see them again sometime in the future.
Having this be your first show is a lot like your wedding night if you've waited your entire life to have sex, but have watched a crap-ton of porn prior to it. I've listened to a ton of live stuff over the last four years as a Phan, so going to my first ever show was almost underwhelming in the sense that there wasn't a whole lot that blew me away. There's no doubt in my mind that I enjoyed the experience supremely, but I'm anticipating that this will not be the finest show I will ever see as a Phan.
Bag: The opener. My friend called it, and while I was admittedly hoping for something else (a Llama" rarity, perhaps), I didn't mind at all. I was finally seeing Phish, and that was all that mattered. As the clouds rose up around us, we enjoyed a standard, short version of Bag that featured some really tight playing from Fish. Trey's vocals were a little off, as they would be all night. I didn't really notice it while I was at the concert, but listening to the show this morning, it's overwhelmingly apparant that his voice was exhausted from the summer tour.
Does that matter? Ultimately, no, because it's all about the jams anyway, but it's definitely a bummer to have your first show somewhat marred (at least in the minds of the community) by subpar vocal performances.
Moma was "very" standard.
It was funny to see people taking bathroom breaks this early in the show, but the band was just getting warmed up. And I actually kind of like Sparkle. A repeat from Tahoe, this Sparkle is really tight and they nailed the end, which is always awesome. In fact, I can't remember if I've ever heard a Sparkle besides this one where they really nailed the end, but whatever.
The first real exciting moment of the show for me was the playing of STFTFP, which was really rocking. Not a whole lot else to say about it really, because it was as standard as standard gets, but I love the song, so it doesn't matter.
Lawn Boy was hilarious. I think it's fair to say that this song can't be captured in an audio recording, which I never realized until actually witnessing it. Page is such a ham. Mike's bass solo was soulful and very thoughtful. I dig it.
WB provided the first true universal highlight of the show, despite the weakish vocals. The jam was even better than I expected, considering it was a first set Wolfman's. Really great example of an awesome Type I jam which the band really locks down on and annihilates.
Very cool to hear Roses Are Free at my first show. Near the end of the tune, I could have sworn they were about to do something really special and jam on it for a little while. It was not to be. Oh well. The build that the band was working on was suddenly pulled out from under them to head straight into Scent of a Mule. I was really excited to hear this. It's always been one of my favorite set I tunes because of the shenanigans. And I'm a sucker for fast bluegrassy type songs. In terms of the shenanigans, this Scent didn't disappoint in the slightest with Fishman's bass solo along with the full band drum solo. Listening to it now, I'm delighted to hear that it turned out very nicely in the recording. An awesome surprise, and an awesome memory to take home.
Ocelot isn't my favorite song, and Phish didn't do much to change that on this evening. It was fairly standard and safe. It was at this point that the light show had really started to capture my attention. I never knew just how good the lights by CK5 actually were. I had only heard about it.
Cavern and Guitar Gently Weeps were okay. The former was kind of expected, but it was awesome to see the crowd reaction and to sing along with everybody during the outro. Mike owns this song, by the way. As for the latter, I'm not a very big Beatles fan, so I wasn't thrilled to hear this to close out the set.
The second set was, as expected, completely different. Leading off with CDT was a bit of a surprise, and I expected it to be jammed out a bit more than it ended up being (not at all), but whatever. I was just happy to hear one of my favorite Phish tunes.
Golden Age was next, and it was awesome to hear it, but the jam never really went anywhere, dissolving into an ambient soup before blasting into an blistering BOAF. The only downside to this BOAF is that it never really amounts to much besides a roaring guitar solo and a face full of white light from the stage.
Sand was next, and this is where the show starts to earn the 4-star rating that I gave it. In fact, I feel very priveleged to have witnessed this (inevitably underrated) Sand > DWD > MFMF >Hood. The MFMF in particular was highly enjoyable, as well as the Hood which will hopefully (and deservingly) be talked about for a while. It was truly the closest the band came to explorative, creative jamming on the night. Also, "Myfe".
Character Zero was rocking. Loving Cup was not, and has never been, what I look for in an encore. Oh well. A great time was had, anyway. I'd say it was a good show for noobs to get their feet wet with.
But wait! Aren't I a noob? Yes, but I've also listened to a ton of shows that were better musically. I have mixed feelings about this show because I was expecting it to blow me away, but it didn't. I had a fantastic time, but I think that might have been due to the experience more than the music itself, which was simply solid rather than excellent. There were a lot of great moments, but overall, it really never came together as a relistenable, memorable show. Here's hoping for a better go around for my second time.
Right from the get go, something sounded off with Trey in this show, and it never really got any better... Supposedly there were problems with his gear, but it sounded like something more than that to me... end of tour weariness? Who knows.
The only real nugget in the first set that I could find is the Moma Dance, which is a fun and interesting little version with some great vocals from Fish and general sort of slightly tweaked mood about the tune. Dug it.
Page's Lawn Boy was a good and spirited version and featured some beautiful bass work by Mike... seemed almost placed to give Trey a moment to deal with whatever he had going on.
There were micro moments here and there sprinkled throughout the set, but by and large I can't comment on much that wasn't somewhat painful to listen to given whatever issues were happening.
Set II, Chakdust seemed to be almost a re-set button, as in a show-opener. That was my take... It was spirited, but was followed by a Golden Age that just plain died in the jam. What was going on?
As BOAF begins, Trey sounds absolutely exhausted in his vocals - having a rough night - feeling bad for him at this point!
Things continue this way with Sand, where Trey is playing so timidly and quietly that you can barely hear him... The rest of the band here (and in the rest of the show as a whole) did a beautiful job of stepping in and filling the void....
Skipping to the Hood, the jam starts with promise... finally, it seems, the ambient, quiet jam is more suited to whatever the heck is going on with Trey...some beautiful mellowness, and then out of left field, Trey segues it into a funk jam... Which sounded nothing like a Hood jam, but rather VERY much like the Tahoe Tweezer jam. It continues in very disjointed fashion, with Trey starting this little theme, and then another, and then another, with the band just playing keep-up... Really awkward. It was not an enjoyable 20+ minutes to listen to for me...
The band pulled up the reins and finished strong with Zero, a standard version, but at least played without too much noticeable discomfort.
Likewise with the Loving Cup encore - a power tune to finish up and leave a good taste in the mouth...
This was my take on the show. Listened to the SBD, didn't attend. As always, I'm sure a good time was had by all at a beautiful venue with a killer light show. I really would like to see some video of this show to try and get a read on what in the heck was happening with Trey. Having listened to most of the shows this tour and having been mightily impressed at the quality, diversity, looseness, strength, and imagination of the shows during the run, this one was a real head-scratching bummer to hear. Perhaps someone can weigh in with some additional info.
Living in LA and working full time, this was the first show I've been able to make so far this year (though I will be at Dick's and MSG later on!). The venue was amazing, including the best outdoor acoustics I've yet witnessed (I could hear Fish whispering during Moma clear as day) and the light show that the dome offered was unique and spectacular. It was a nice flare to see the Hollywood sign not far off in the distance.
Page in particular was very talkative during the show, which we all know doesn't happen every day. It was great hearing him express his gratitude and excitement over the community (phamily) that everyone reading this post is surely apart of. His enthusiastic singing during Lawn Boy made us all happy.
I finally got to see my first live Wolfman's Brother, which was a major highlight of the first set. The most memorable first set instance, however, was (without a doubt) seeing the entire band on the drum kit during Mule. As hilariously awesome as that thought is, it must be noted how incredible that section of the song sounded. It wasn't just a gimmick. Mike held his bass up and fretted notes flawlessly while Fish played it with mallets. Meanwhile, Page took up some sticks and laid a track of tom tom hits as Trey reached over the front and played ride cymbal. Another exciting factor that made this show a special one.
Set Two was at par for the first three songs, until a slower yet awesomely funkadelic Sand kicked in that is a must hear for this show. My Friend was also so well played that everyone around me was floored, so check that out too if you want a real darkly intense experience.
I see there are mixed reviews about the "HollyHood" so far. In my opinion, this Hood was by far the highlight of the entire show. At 22:33 minutes, Phish allowed plenty of time to explore some new funky routes that we rarely hear from a Hood jam. Some people complain that the jam switched direction too much. I wholeheartedly disagree. Trey was hellbent to take Hood to new territories, and he succeeded. Listen to it for yourself and keep an open mind, as we phans should all be experts at. Nothing brilliant doesn't get mixed reviews.
All in all, the show was well worth attending. It's so great to see Phish back in LA. Please come back every year!!
Over the past few years, I've realized I love California Phish. I fell in love with California the first time my Dad took me there in tow on a business trip back in the late 70s. We stayed at The Beverly Wilshire hotel.We flew out with business associates which included Hugh Sloan, who was Nixon's treasurer of The Committee to Re-elect the President. That's another story entirely however.
My point is, I fell in love with California a long time ago.
Over the past few years, I have made a point of not missing Phish in Cali.
After what I felt were historic shows at BGCA, I flew down to Southern California for the last show of the tour before returning home to Miami.
I happen to come across some fungi before leaving the Bay Area that I though might come in handy.
I landed in LAX and immediately ingested said fungi en route to the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Blvd.
It was a beautiful Southern California day. As we approached the hotel, we were caught in a traffic jam. I was really starting to feel the mushrooms by this time and didn't want to be constrained to a cab any longer, so I got out and walked the last few blocks.
When you're on tour, even a mini tour, you never know where the magic will happen...or why.
I was with a couple friends in San Francisco who had to go back home, so I was in L.A. solo.
I was feeling the most beautiful sensations walking down the street. I was in Southern California, on vacation, about to see my favorite band in the world.
I checked into my room with only about one hour until showtime. Above my bed was a photo of David Bowie from the late 60s sitting at a table with a beautiful garden behind him, and a view of the L.A. skyline from my window.
Every now and then in life, everything flows perfectly without any negative energy.
I started walking down Hollywood Blvd and the mushrooms were starting to really work. There was a movie premiere with celebrity photo ops on one side and the Chinese Theatre on the other with people in full movie character costume. It was completely surreal.
As I made my way over to Highland Avenue, I began to see other people walking to the show and joined them.
As we walked closer and the crowd grew to mostly Phish fans, I looked over at a girl who was walking near me. She looked at me like she knew the trip I was on. She had such a beautiful smile, I'll never forget it.
It was nice to be back at the Bowl after 2 years.
It's really difficult for me to criticize this show at all since I had such an incredible experience.
The entire first set was like a waking dream. Beautiful versions of every song.
I saw my first Sparkle and Scent of a Mule. I danced like it was the first show I had ever seen.
The second set was equally entertaining with the version of Hood that now stands as one of the best of the year.
It was one of those nights when you leave a show completely satisfied.
It most certainly ranks as one of my favorites of 2013.
Great Bag opener, plus I've been seriously digging 3.0's Bag (or KDF) into Moma 1st set staple. STFTFP was more energetic than usual, into a great Lawn Boy.
My kind of Wolfman's Brother, especially for the 1st set, perfect funky groove, but not to long while it's still light (what fun is a 25+ min WB with no glow). Mule was fucking off the chain (as it has been this tour), gotta love that outer space bluegrass jamming. Ocelot is always one of my favorite jams to build off of into a funky Cavern. Not much of a Beatles fan, so Gently Weeps was kind of an "eh" closer.
1st set highlights: WB, Mule
CDT is always a great way to get some energy in the 2nd set, but Golden Age > BOAF was my jam. DWD > My Friend > Hood > Character Zero was my show highlight.
2nd set highlight: Golden Age>BOAF, HollyHood (as most are saying) "Myfe Myfe" lol
On paper this show comes across as meh. On record there are some brief flashes but it is clear that this is a band on night 4 of consecutive shows and end of tour at that and it really shows with the searching for grooves in the second set.
It was mentioned that there were some technical issues with Trey's rig and yes there were in the first half of the first set and yes the Lawn Boy placement did allow for some work to be done to handle that.
The drumming segment in Mule was definitely a highlight. Starting off with just Fish using the mallets on Mike's bass then having Trey and Page amble over for some fun was a definite highlight.
Hood in the second set was the other big highlight musically with some inspired Type II jamming that ended way too soon.
The redeeming factor for the entire night however, was CK. His mastery of his rig along with the house lighting in the band shell was the component that really held the night together. Whether it was frantic chaos that is Sparkle, the colors invoked in Golden Age and Birds or the templates used in Hood. CK managed to make an average show musically something special for those of us who were there. (Unfortunately, this being an LA crowd it was too chatty and I think somewhat lost on those who were simply there to catch their only Phish show of tour.)
Has this been a stronger show musically, I would call for its release on DVD immediately. Instead I am calling for this to come out some time in the future, please and thank you.
My grade: music B-/C+ lighting A+ for an overall decent B for the night.
I'm not going to do a song by song, but I will speak my mind about this awesomely weird show. This was by far superior to the last time Phish was at the Hollywood Bowl.
I was hoping for a SOAM because the last boring Bowl melt and last years BGCA 2 meltwreck I caught were both pretty bad (2012 BGCA II's started out great, it just trainwrecked into the outro, sometimes I wish I'd never started djaying). Unfortunately they didn't play it this night. No Melt at Dick's last year so I'm guessing there'll be a BIG ONE there this year.
I agree that openers do set the tone positively and/or negatively for a set, show etc. DUH, but a bunk slow song at the wrong middle point to a set can do far worse imho (see BGCA II this year, peaks and valleys baby). This show had some mediocre opener song choices and super strong middle/end of set highlights.
Let me start by saying, "hello PERFECT WEATHER." SF was a needed cool down but I'm glad to be home.
Sparkle was fun in front of a stiff LA crowd and Wolfman's Bro had some interesting moments but Mule ruled the first set for me. The "drums" section with Fish HAMMERING Mike's bass is something I'll never forget. WMGGW was strong and had beautiful lights albeit a little slow for a closer (It was a Bowl style closer respecting the Beatles, I get it).
sand>DWD>MFMF>hOOD was great, (my caps showing my interpretation of what had the best energy for me) In fact, the way that shows are going I think if they'd opened set II with that segment instead of basically closing w/ it, this show would have a better rating as the LA crowd seemed to lose interest after MFMF's energy (See the higher rating of last years Long Beach show which I thought fell off post R&R > Ghost). I personally loved the energy switch up, kind of like Friday's unexpected PYITE>DWD set II opener in SF. Also, since I've been a little anti-Hood as of late, this was REFRESHING. This was my 14th and best Hood. I disagree with reviews that compare it to the Tahoeweezer. Tahoeweezer was an ultra happy (not dark at all) energetic guitar dominated mountain rock n roll style jam with spacey deconstructions intermingled. This Hood was of an almost all ambient, chill variety with a great uplifting Page piano section in the middle and some small rock segments that I think is where this comparison is being drawn-along with the happiness. Moving on, if Tahoeweezer can override a mediocre first set, this Hood can fill the voids here too. When the "you can feel good" section came back in 21 some minutes later it was magical. I'm so happy to have caught this Hood!
Character Zero isn't my favorite, but this one fit well as the energetic crowd "shout a long" of the night. I've seen Loving Cup WAY too many times, even prior to Festival 8's best version but again, it was fueled by the Hood. Yes there were LA douche's here, chatting it up for sure. I just moved closer to avoid them. My rating is of the band, not the bowl, not the crowd, not the glow stick wars, not the vibe, the BAND. All in all, a 5/5 for the best and most unexpected Hood I've seen. THE HOLLYHOOD overrode the shortcomings of this show. Oh and of course, the best lights I've ever seen at a Phish show which is factored into my rating as Kuroda is the 5th member Sound is more important to me however so PLEASE PLAY THE SPORTS ARENA NEXT TIME YOU COME TO LA PHISH!
Weak show. Very weak show. Very up and down tour. Too bad it ended with a clunker. Some real great shows this summer. And some serious clunkers like both Georgia shows, all 3 Chicago and the Hollywood bowl. CK5 was pretty astounding but besides that....move along. Nothing to see here. Worst part is that this show stays up as the featured show on the livephish app until Dicks. Too bad it's not much worth listening to