Phish — The Palace — Hollywood, CA 03.17.1993
I Landlady>Jim, Foam, Bouncin’, Stash, Grace, Paul & Silas>Ice>Oh Kee Pa>Suzy, Antelope
II Axilla>Glide, Reba, JJLC, Mound, Mike’s>H2>Paug, Horse>Silent, HYHU>GGITS>HYHU, Golgi
E Adeline, Rocky Top
Fresh off their Colorado run and the one off Tuesday night affair in Phoenix, Phish hopped over to Hollywood for a pair of shows at the Palace. These would be the only two times the band would play the venue (now named The Avalon Hollywood) and judging from the sound issues apparent the first night perhaps they decided to go elsewhere after this pair of shows. It would also be the first two-night run by the band at a West Coast venue, something that becomes more prevalent as the years progress. This spring run in California would produce some very memorable stuff out of the band which we will get to with this first show serving mainly as table setting, though it does have its moments.
The show opens with a well played take on Landlady where the band shows up early as being ready to go. This carries over into Jim where Trey takes over for a trill-heavy solo as Mike and Fish thump along behind. The Mike bit is notable because it seems like he is higher in the mix in several of these Cali tapes — not too unlike the classic Spring ’92 shows which are so Mike forward it is almost jarring in its awesomeness with the best example being that oft traded tape from 04.16.1992 in Isla Vista — which is nice considering he is generally the lowest/missing element on older tapes. Foam takes the third spot here and it is a punchy and bright version where Page uses the baby grand to good effect and everyone contributes for an engaging version. The sound issues start to flare up here as it is apparent there is something not quite right between the board and the band. Bouncin gets us to Stash and this one is relatively straight forward but still highly energetic and on point, even with the sound issues impacting the early, composed section of the song at points. At the end of this they take a break from the electric stuff to give Paul the chance to address some of the sound issues and do a mid-set a cappella Grace to the delight of the crowd. Paul & Silas punches things up a bit and goes right into Ice which (while still straight ahead) has a nice little jam tacked on before they wrap it up and head into the third Oh Kee Pa of the tour. This precedes one of its typical dance partners, Suzy, who brings her boogie shoes out for a spirited version that surely got the crowd moving as she can. Then Antelope closes the frame with a not-especially-out-there but peaky version. Listen for a couple of teases here (Yakety Sax, Nellie — not to mention one section that really feels like it is headed into the theme from ‘The Munsters’ tv show). The band seems ready to rock on this Wednesday night but dealing with the sound issues may be impacting things a tad as this set is somewhat short in comparison to others of this time period.
So once setbreak is over they come out with fire in Axilla>Glide, where the more pronounced Mike can be heard making some nice contributions to Glide. Reba steps in for a visit and this one is okay at best with a fairly abbreviated jam section before they seem to abruptly end it, sans whistling. JJLC is next for its second time this tour and Page shines brightest here on both vocal and organ/piano, which is not to say Trey doesn’t do his thing too. Mound does what it does with some hot Mike action before we get that Mike’s Groove we knew would be coming tonight. Mike’s gets a little dirty for a bit but stays mainly contained — this song was just starting to really take off jamming-wise around this time where up to then it was Paug that was the primary focus on the Groove in getting weird — though the transition to H2 is a nice alteration on the norm. So it is no surprise then that the Paug is where the fun lies in this Groove as Trey folds in ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘Living Loving Maid’ teases amidst a frenetic full band jam and then the band all latches on for a full Lively Up Yourself jam with Trey ‘leading’ the vocal lines. It’s quality. I recommend it. Horse>Silent (with acoustic Horse, of course) provides the breather next and then it is Fish Fun Time once again for “An Okay Gig in the Sky” before the Golgi closer. Encores are Adeline and Rocky Top here sending everyone off into the early spring night.
Overall this is a bit of an all-over-the-place show though the playing is pretty well good on all fronts, a few flubs here and there notwithstanding. Check out the Jim for a little extra stank (notable considering the very next one would be one of the first to really go for a longer walk) and the Mike’s Groove (especially Paug!). Tomorrow night’s show here once they have the sound more dialed and it is not a distraction provides a lot more heat to hear…