8/28/18 – Los Angeles Forum, Night 2
Summer 2018 was a big year for me. I work freelance, and that year, I made the conscious decision that I wanted to take the summer off and do as much music and traveling that I could possibly fit in, which included a big chunk of summer tour. I planned to start with the tour opener in Tahoe and do the whole west coast, before hopping off for a bit, and rejoining again in Camden. Forum night 2 would be my last show of the west coast run before this break.
By this point, I was elated, and exhausted! The prior eight shows had been a blast – and definitely a peak time in my life. I was ready for one more show – a hometown show no less, with a stellar crew complete with locals and out-of-towners alike. Most of us had floor tickets, and we were ready to rage one more show on the west coast.
The show opened with “Julius,” which was a great bout of energy to start things up. We did the thing that everyone kind of frowns upon (but that everyone also does), and stubbed the couple friends with seats down to the floors, so we could all be together for the show. We parked ourselves about halfway back on the floor, Page side, where we still had plenty room to boogie.
The energy continued with “Suzy Greenberg.” One thing I think everyone was spending even more time focusing on than normal tonight, was Kuroda’s lights. Earlier that day, a timelapse of Kuroda’s newest light rig in action started circulating around the internet from the show the night before at The Forum. As mesmerizing as they always are at every show, the video emphasized the new rig, just how beautifully he lights a room, and how he took advantage of the space within that venue. Since the first five shows of this tour were outdoors, and all the remaining shows post-LA would be as well, Kuroda was happily exploring all the possibilities of employing his rig within the dark space of BGCA and the LA Forum. Outdoor Phish is great, but to me, indoor Phish has a little extra magic.
“Timber (Jerry)” followed, with Trey teasing “Mountain Jam.” The Allman Brothers are one of my all-time favorite bands, so that’s always a joy. “Timber” reached some psychedelic peaks before cooling down into a groovy “Soul Shakedown Party. Since it’s slower and I’m less likely to be caught in a state of ecstatic dance, SSP is one of my favorite songs to take the opportunity to look around the arena at all the swaying bodies & smiling faces.
Next up was “Kill Devil Falls,” which descended into a lovely darker jam where Trey and Page created some interesting aural layers before switching to an energetic, bright jam. “555” (which Phish seems to really enjoy playing at the Forum), “Your Pet Cat,” and “Tide Turns” followed in pretty standard form. “No Men In No Man’s Land” was tasty, though tough to compete with some of the other excellent versions from this year. Set one closed with a very solid “Bathtub Gin” with a great build.
Setbreak came and it was time to flutter around, distributing clementine segments to those in need. (We went to great lengths to make sure to get tonight’s batch of citrus into the venue safely.) Phish shows are about sharing & caring, after all.
Towards the end of setbreak, I had to lend my wristband to one friend in our group (to do the thing everyone frowns upon, that everyone also does). While wandering around our general area, I accidentally strayed too close to shore, and in slow-motion, an usher pointed at me and yelled “YOU!” He had noticed I was without my wristband (what a noob!) so I tried quickly walking away and letting the crowd swallow me up, pretending I didn’t hear him, but he ran up behind me and grabbed me, ushering me out of the floor. At this point, the second set had just started with “Gotta Jibboo.”
Out on the concourse, things started to get dark – I may never make it back to the floor!
I tried walking down a flight of stairs, but ended up in a strange, basement bathroom. Eventually, I was able to finagle my way back onto the floor mid-Jibboo, and rejoice with the crew.
“Fuego” really took off, a definite highlight of the show. It took on a very blissful form, before getting very delicate around the twelve-minute mark, and then building to a glorious peak – very akin to a “Slave.” “Birds of a Feather” and “Meatstick” provided for fun but very different dance moves.
This night’s show was the third time “Soul Planet” was played and it was the longest version to date. I personally think it’s a banger. (The ocean is love; the ocean is corn!) This version takes on many lives before smoothly sliding into “Wingsuit.” “Wingsuit” is the type of song I’m usually not too excited to hear at first, but I end up thoroughly enjoying the unique, ethereal tone of the jams by the end.
The second set closed with “Cavern,” where Trey forgot a whole bunch of lyrics, giving us a laugh. “Sparkle” in the first encore slot felt odd, so “Character Zero” to finish the show at least ended on an energetic note.
And with that, the West coast run of this tour was complete! I had an absolute blast at all these shows, and was really glad to finish this run in my hometown with a great group of friends.
Jacqui grew up on the East Coast before moving to Los Angeles to work in television. When she’s not at a Phish show, you could find her playing guitar, planning travel, birding, doing yoga, or boogying at many other concerts all over town. Sometimes she wears corn shirts. If you see her on the lot, please buy her a slice of pizza.