On Monday I had to go to the dentist and get my teeth cleaned which resulted in me taking a different route to work. Along that route was The Troubadour where I was lucky enough to see Mike Gordon just shy of 48 hours earlier. However, it was another legendary Southern California venue that not only caught my eye but gave me an amazing idea that I think you are going to like. Because after all, I know you guys don’t have anything to do then read open letters from a bitter West Coast fan who wishes you guys played my time zone multiple times a year.
Rumor has it that you guys had a hold on the Hollywood Bowl (for what they call a lease event) for your Fall 2004 tour. We all know what happened there and why you never made it. Since you have returned from your break up, multiple “rumors” have pointed to you playing the historic hillside venue. Clearly this has yet to happen. Then again, you have yet to play Los Angeles county since your return, not that I am crying or anything like that. Yet as I drove past the venue on my way to work Monday, a huge WHAT IF sunk into my head.
What if Phish not only played the Hollywood Bowl, but played it with the LA Philharmonic?
Now let’s look at the benefits of this truly epic idea. First off and most obvious, is the fact that the Bowl is an amazing venue where everyone who is anyone has graced the stage. In my decade in Southern California I have seen the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Gnarls Barkley, Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin and Willie Nelson perform. I could name hundreds of artists who have graced the stage. Hell they even let Vampire Weekend perform at the Bowl, so why not Phish? They can clearly pack large venues and can you imagine the Kuroda light show inside of the band shell? I know I don’t need to mention how much nicer the hills of Hollywood are versus the hills of Irvine, Chula Vista or San Bernardino where those other outdoor music venues are located.
Now, for those who live outside of Southern California, here is something you may not know about the Bowl. When a show is sponsored by the Bowl, you are encouraged to bring in your own food and drink (beer and wine only, sorry no hard alcohol). Could you imagine sitting there under the stars with a nice red wine and some organic vegan snacks while the sounds of Moma Dance tickled your ears? Then again, this could also be used as an argument as to why Phish should not play the Bowl. So remember wooks, hippie crack addicts and other scum of our community – if this is to happen, this is a privilege. Respect it.
While an open beverage policy and historical landmarks are indeed important, the main point is the music. Each year a few contemporary artists (Death Cab for Cutie, Faith Hill etc) come to the Bowl and perform songs backed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Perhaps the band could perform alone during Set I, but invite the LA Phil out for Set II. Sure, you may not have any massive “Mikes>Simple>Light>Weekapaug” jams, but could you imagine songs like “You Enjoy Myself” “The Divided Sky” and even “Time Turns Elastic” backed by some of the worlds most respected musicians? I am sure Trey can and I am sure the thought would send his ADHD into overdrive.
So let’s do it! Phish – it gives your loyal west coast fans not only a chance to see you, but a very special event. It gives Fishman a chance to rock a suit like it was 1997 all over again. It gives Trey the chance to use his immense talent once again to transcribe Phish classics for strings and horns and other fine orchestral instruments. Most important, the band has a chance to not only take their music in a new direction, but prove themselves to a whole new set of fans (as the Hollywood Bowl crowd is often made up “subscribers” whose whole point is to discover new music). Phish, meet the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Los Angeles Philharmonic – please meet Phish. I am ready to have my mind melted in an all new way (may I suggest July 4th weekend 2011). After all, if Raphael Saadiq is going to perform your songs at the Bowl, you may as well do the same.
Thanks for your time,
Reverend Jusito – concertconfessions.com
CC: Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles Philharmonic