Phish swam into The “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, CA right outside LA, for two much anticipated nights this past weekend. We rolled in on Saturday, July 28, 2018, to experience the second of the Forum shows, where the band broke out a few tour debuts, some oldies but goodies and more recent fan favorites.
Phish opened the first set with fine versions of “Julius” and “Suzy Greenberg,” both usually reserved for the end of set two. A few tour debuts followed in the opening set – “Timber Ho!,” “Soul Shakedown Party” (the Bob Marley cover, with a spot on lead vocal from keyboardist Page McConnell), “Tide Turns” and “Kill Devils Falls” – as Trey Anastasio teased the Allman Brothers Band classic “Mountain Jam” during “Timber.”
The band spread the vocals around again, as lead bassist Mike Gordon led the band on “555.” The funky instrumental 2014 Haunted House Halloween song “Your Pet Cat” featured a recorded female voice over and screeching cat sounds as the band members grinned and laughed while playing. Page’s funky key line highlighted “No Men In No Man’s Land” while Trey went on a psychedelic guitar journey to close the song. Drummer Jon Fishman offered an unusual but appealing beat during the set closing “Bathtub Gin” and Trey once again built up to a frenetic peak that left the audience spent and in need of the break.
The band came out strong for set two with another tour debut, the highly danceable “Gotta Jibboo.” “Fuego” followed and it featured the strongest harmonizing of the night as all the band members chimed in. “Birds of a Feather” and “Meatstick” were both fairly routine, then Fishman hilariously started “Soul Planet” with the wrong beat, stopped and corrected himself saying “I got it, I got it!” to the delight of Trey as the band flew into a lengthy, spacy head-trip jam. They took a minute to huddle up before launching into “Wingsuit,” another tour debut and showcase for the powerful drumming of Fishman.
The band went way back for “Cavern,” but Trey forgot the lyrics and asked the crowd for help during the song? Despite the funny foul up, it was an excellent closer, with a thrilling mini drum solo by Fishman. The band took their bows and left the stage briefly. They came back for a quick, up-tempo version of “Sparkle” with the crowd enthusiastically joining the band for the “laugh and laughing, fall apart” singalong segment. That segued into an energetic, rowdy version of “Character Zero” to end the night of wild jams and much-loved tunes.