Nothing like a home court Phish show to rouse the soul to merriment and ecstasy. When Phish announced not one, but two nights at the fabulous Forum…the game was surely afoot. Friday and Saturday nights would basically be ground zero for all the good and righteous vibes in the five county Greater Los Angeles area. For that entire weekend, indeed it was.
I think most people reading this will understand what I mean when I talk about the singularly joyful atmosphere at a Phish show. I know for me it’s one of the things that keeps me coming back. It’s something that I definitely crave in my life when Phish isn’t on tour. Most people understand there are just some nights when Phish plays the vibes are a little extra tasty. They come out and play a show that just seems like it lands perfectly for the crowd, the venue, and the city they’re playing in. To me, this first night of the Forum run was one of those nights.
A big show in LA is always going to bring out a decent amount of casual fans that lack the motivation or freedom to hit the other stops on the tour. The more the merrier I always say! We need the fresh legs off the bench to keep the energy up. Especially for those who might have been dragging a little bit after making the trek all the way down the West Coast from the Gorge. Phish comes right out the gate with a “Chalkdust Torture” opener, which you can never go wrong with in my book. I immediately can tell that the Forum is packed with a ton of people that are stoked as hell for a Phish concert. We’re wearing Hawaiian leis and brought extras to give out to anyone who seems like we need one. Good vibes are cranked up to 11. Gimme a hell yeah!
“Everything’s Right” in the two slot seems like a great choice upon starting. It delivers the type of solid jam that you can reasonably expect and induces such profound thoughts in my head as, “dude…… everything IS right”. Sometimes things are pretty simple like that. “Rift” follows and we are moving, folks. It seems like it might be a good night to try and go soul planet crowd-surfing. I file that thought away for later. Then “Wolfman’s Brother” begins and what transpires next can only be described as magical.
“Wolfman’s” made some nice first set showings in 2018, this one included. On this particular night, I was on the floor along with many elite rager companions.
Unfortunately two of our good friends were up in the top of the 100s section because our friend Dania had a broken ankle or something. Dania was in a wheelchair for the show, and her and our buddy David held it down in the handicapped seating above the top row of the lower bowl. So they were a good ways away from the rest of us, but distance can only separate you so much.
So as this “Wolfman’s” jam is building and building, it’s becoming this really uplifting, triumphant jam. And naturally we’re just bathing in it, just chowing down on this delicious “Wolfman’s.” Then there is THAT MOMENT. The exact moment when Trey slam dunks that peak, Kuroda illuminates the room with those trademark white lights that say “THIS IS THE PEAK”! We lock eyes with our compatriots in the handicapped section and proceeded to rage the end of that “Wolfman’s” with them from 50 yards away. I felt like I coulda done a backflip (I probably could have, I’m like, really athletic). I don’t know, maybe you had to be there. It was awesome though. A moment of pure joy and exuberance that I got to share with a lot of great people. That’s what it’s all about, baby. My extremely anti-Phish roommate (up to this point) who had been dragged to the show by his girlfriend texts me “bro. I get it… i 1000% get it.” Phish, the greatest band on Earth, saving souls, business as usual.
The rest of the night unfolded nicely. The second set was packed with crowd pleasers. No massive jams, but enough exploration to quench the thirst. The perfect amount for a Friday show in LA if you asked me. It seemed like this one had something for everyone, whether it was show #1 or #200 (shouts out to my dude Mars). Plus a heartwarming “Sleeping Monkey” sing along encore. If a smile like that on Trey’s face doesn’t just melt you, you probably have no soul. During the “Weekapaug Groove” victory lap, my one regret is getting so excited that I threw my lei and didn’t have it anymore after that.
It doesn’t get much better than nights like this one folks. And now we’re getting close enough to summer to taste it. See y’all out there!