Last night, one year and three months after the originally scheduled concert date, Phish took the stage in Inglewood, California and played a not-to-be-missed Sunday show at The Forum. Even though Los Angeles is known for year-round beautiful weather, the indoor arena has been a regular stop along West Coast Phish tour runs since 2014. While the Hollywood Bowl hosted some great Phish shows in the early 2010s, there is a palpable energy within The Forum that lends itself well to the band and its scene. So it was that Trey Anastasio, Jon Fishman, Page McConnell, and Mike Gordon returned for their sixth performance in the last seven years.
After a slightly delayed start to accommodate for traffic from the nearby Los Angeles Rams game, the show began with the second-ever Phish performance of “A Wave of Hope”. The song was first shared by guitarist Trey Anastasio on an Instagram video and, later, recorded for his Lonely Trip quarantine album project and performed during The Beacon Jams. The upbeat rocker quickly brought the energy level up, but it was the sharp segue into “You Enjoy Myself” that truly captivated the crowd.
Here are some “YEM” numbers for those keeping score. This is the third time the song has been played at The Forum, but the first time on fall tour 2021. Despite being the most commonly performed Phish song over the band’s 38-year history (this was version #619), it was hard to find many examples of it being played this early in a set. “YEM” opened a Mexico show in 2019, took a mid-first set spot as the Y of the “Fuck Your Face” set back in 2012, opened a couple of shows in 2003, etc. It’s safe to call this another setlist-bending moment on a tour that has been full of surprises.
Going back to the music, the “YEM” itself dropped into exploratory, Type II territory as the song’s composed section gave way to a fast-paced jam fueled by the drumming of Jon Fishman. The band then explored a more ethereal space highlighted by Page McConnell’s light touch on the electric piano before popping into a funk groove held down by Mike Gordon on the low end. This looped back to the song’s traditional ending, a brief vocal jam highlighted, as always, by Chris Kuroda’s lighting, before Trey strummed the opening chords of “The Moma Dance” while quoting the “Firenze” refrain of “YEM”. It was here that my dad texted me: “What an awesome segue.” Yes.
The band locked in tight on “Moma”, expertly working through the groovy song before opening things up for a bright and spacey jam session. The song was left unfinished as Trey segued out of the jam with the riff of “Simple”, and off they went into the grand composition. What is a band without skyscraper, anyway? The “Simple” jam started in darker territory, with Page dabbling and dazzling on the clavs and Gordo laying down a heavy bass line. The band also teased Led Zeppelin’s “The Rover” during the jam.
When the “Simple” improvisation moved into a lighter theme, Trey took the opportunity to bust out the first “Waiting All Night” in 58 shows. This was a seamless, mid-jam-to-new-song, “->” type of transition, and it had the Phish guitarist visibly smiling from ear to ear. The first verses retained some of the funky pace of the “Simple” jam, giving the unexpected Fuego tune an atypical cadence for most of its duration.
As “Waiting All Night” concluded, Trey turned to Fishman and said the word “Maze”, prompting the drummer to tap out the song’s opening beat. This rendition was full of frenzied, tension-and-release playing from Trey and Page, though it ultimately stayed inside the lines. Next up was the fan favorite “Fee”, which featured Trey singing the verses through a megaphone—as he has done for the last 15 renditions of the song.
Phish kept the first set moving with a “Steam” highlighted by a tense, mid-song jam. It was the playful number “Run Like an Antelope” that closed out the first set on a high note, as the band left fans eagerly awaiting more to come.
That “more to come” would ultimately take the form of a veritable “Tweezer”-fest—though I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here. Set two opened with the jazzy instrumental “Cars Trucks Buses”, highlighted as always by Page’s shining work on the Yamaha grand piano. After a short but sweet solo from Trey, the band ended “CTB” and launched into the opening riff of a cold, cold, cold, cold “Tweezer”.
Fans have noted the absence of “Tweezer” on this fall run, suspecting that it might play into the band’s Halloween plans. Ever the masters of the unexpected, Phish instead brought “Tweezer” to L.A.—quite literally, as a matter of fact. An early-in-the-song jam gave way to a cover of The Doors’ “L.A. Woman” for just the second time ever and for the first time since 2003—a gap of 493 shows! The nod to the City of Angels was a welcomed addition to the setlist. Towards the end of the cover, the band swiftly veered back into “Tweezer”, though not without quotes of “L.A. Woman” bleeding in.
Phish – “L.A. Woman” (The Doors) – 10/24/21
This brief “Tweezer” interlude took the form of a funky improvisation around the song’s main themes until Trey started singing the first lyrics of “Say it to me S.A.N.T.O.S.”, leading the band went into the space-sniffing Kasvot Växt rocker. Phish then brought the song into a jam session, quoting “Tweezer” before moving into a brighter and airy jam space. From here, the band segued smoothly into the 2.0-era instrumental, “What’s The Use?”, notable for a long, cheer-filled pause leading up to the song’s concluding melody.
Perhaps unsurprisingly at this point, Phish returned to the funk-rock tones of “Tweezer” as the band settled into a grooving jam that spent time on the second Led Zeppelin tease of the night, “Heartbreaker”. There have been enough Zeppelin hints this tour to raise eyebrows for the upcoming Halloween run, but, given Phish’s proclivity for the unexpected, the second set of 10/31 remains an unknown.
The “Tweezer” jam flowed into a lighter exploratory space, where the band dwelled for a short while until Trey hammered out the opening chords of “Birds of a Feather”. The band would ultimately leave “BOAF” unfinished, instead veering into a booming improvisational section that included a quote of “Dave’s Energy Guide” from Trey amidst its light and flowing pace. The jam swirled through a tense, somewhat atonal segment before being grounded by the rhythm section of Gordo and Fish. The melodic ending to this jam brought the band into the intro of “Chalk Dust Torture”, another fan favorite that had the Forum crowd grooving from wall to wall.
Following the “CDT” verses, the band launched into a bluesy jam highlighted by thick tones from both Trey and Mike and, you guessed it, another tease of the “Tweezer” riff. The band also left this song unfinished, instead jumping to a new key signature mid-jam to usher in the Stevie Wonder classic, “Boogie On Reggae Woman”. The boogie was palpable as the band continued its song-shifting second set, briefly teasing “Tweezer” again before dropping into the dark and delightful “Carini”.
Phish quickly brought “Carini” into the light, delivering yet another full band quote of “Tweezer”. This light segment of the jam allowed the band to find its way into “Mr. Completely”, the once-lost, 2.0-era song that has been revitalized and reintegrated in recent years—including four times in 2021. It’s a bouncy, upbeat number that found a home in this shifting setlist, though not for too long, as a mid-song “Mr. Completely” jam session was quickly interrupted by the rocking tones of “Tweezer Reprise”. This “Tweeprise” would close out a second set filled with “Tweezer” teases galore, unfinished songs, and one of the biggest bust-outs in recent memory, “L.A. Woman”. While “NICU” at the NICU might just be the most apt hometown nod of the run, The Doors cover was certainly an appreciated tribute to Los Angeles.
After a brief pause, Trey, Mike, Fish and Page returned for their first a cappella number of the tour, “Grind”. The zany barbershop quartet number was followed by a show-stopping, show-closing rendition of “Bathtub Gin”—one final gem for the fans at the Forum. The “Gin” jam did give Kuroda one last chance to soak the venue in a cosmic display as the band went on a brief exploration before reeling in the jam, thanking the audience, and closing the show. What a show it was!
Phish fall tour continues on Tuesday in Santa Barbara, CA, the final stop ahead of a four-night stand at the MGM Grand Garden Arena that begins this Thursday and runs through Halloween night. For a full list of 2021 fall tour dates, head here.
Listen to a full audio recording of the show via LivePhish. Scroll down to view a gallery of photos from the show courtesy of photographer Andrew Blackstein.
Click below to revisit Live For Live Music‘s full coverage of Phish fall tour 2021 including photos, videos, and concert recaps.
Phish Fall Tour 2021 Recaps
10/15/21 Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA – Recap
10/16/21 Chase Center, San Francisco, CA – Recap
10/17/21 Chase Center, San Francisco, CA – Recap
10/19/21 Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, OR – Recap
10/20/21 Matthew Knight Arena, Eugene, OR – Recap
10/22/21 Ak-Chin Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ – Recap
10/23/21 NICU Amphitheatre, Chula Vista, CA – Recap
10/24/21 The Forum, Inglewood, CA
10/26/21 Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara, CA – Recap
10/28 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV – Recap
10/29 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV – Upcoming
10/30 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV – Upcoming
10/31 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, NV – Upcoming
Setlist [via phish.net]: Phish | The Forum | Inglewood, CA | 10/24/21
Set One: A Wave of Hope > You Enjoy Myself > The Moma Dance -> Simple -> Waiting All Night -> Maze, Fee -> Steam > Run Like an Antelope
Set Two: Cars Trucks Buses, Tweezer -> L.A. Woman -> Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S. -> What’s the Use? > Tweezer > Birds of a Feather > Chalk Dust Torture -> Boogie On Reggae Woman > Carini -> Mr. Completely > Tweezer Reprise
Encore: Grind, Bathtub Gin
 Trey on megaphone.
Moma Dance, Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S., Birds of a Feather, Chalk Dust Torture, and Mr. Completely were unfinished. Trey quoted You Enjoy Myself in Moma Dance. The Rover was teased in Simple. Waiting All Night was played over the drumbeat flowing out of Simple. Fee featured Trey on megaphone. L.A. Woman was performed for the first time since December 30, 2003 (492 shows). L.A. Woman, Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S., Chalk Dust Torture, and Carini contained Tweezer teases. L.A. Woman was teased in Say It To Me S.A.N.T.O.S. and Tweezer Reprise. Trey teased Heartbreaker in the second Tweezer. Birds of a Feather contained a Dave’s Energy Guide tease from Trey and a Waiting All Night tease from Mike. Chalk Dust Torture also had a Birds of a Feather tease. This was the rescheduled date from the show that had been postponed due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.