, attached to 2003-02-14

Review by Anonymous

(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

My wife Mia and I hit the road from the Bay Area on Thursday the 13th, destination: Phish in LA on the 14th (Valentine's Day!) and then in Las Vegas on the 15th and 16th, for the first three nights of their first tour since ending the Hiatus.
We left the night before because its a six to seven hour drive in best conditions, but we had our two girls with us (three and one half years and four months), making it an eight hour drive that can fray everyone's nerves. We hit the halfway point and our Motel 6 about 10:30 p.m., primed for some great sleep to rest up for the weekend. We got some sleep, hit LA by noon the next day and went to my Mom's house in suburban Palos Verdes (coastal LA County), where our girls would spend the weekend with their grandparents. I grabbed a half hour power nap, and by 4:00 p.m. we were off to the Great Western Forum with my brother and his girlfriend driving in their car. We hooked up seamlessly with our large group of Santa Barbara based friends at their hotel about a mile from the Forum -  Greg, Cory G, Rick and Leigh Ann, and Paul M, who would be in our crew for Vegas, and a special treat with Corey L and Jenn J for LA only (and sitting in our section). We were quickly off to the lot.
The first thing I noticed in the lot was that people couldn't sell extras; they were offering under face value and not getting takers. Apparently there was a sizeable ticket release just a few hours before show time. The lot was pretty full of people, but kinda subdued for a tour opener.
Most of us had reserved seats, so we didn't hurry in. My (other) little brother though was among those with general-admission floor seats, so he got in line when the gates opened, and he called to tell me he was about thirtieth in line. When we got inside, we found him on the rail, right in front of Trey and Page's space...nice. We got to watch him bob his head and grin from our seats all night.
Our seats were pretty solid, we had six together in a line, in the lower sections about twenty rows up straight sideways from Page's piano. There was a great view of the band, floor, and light show. Plus plenty of space to move and to welcome in other friends who stubbed in.
Another interesting note is that we got to our seats around 8:00 p.m. (show time was listed for 7:30 PM.), and the place was still half empty, even the floor. It mostly filled in later, but it was not standing room only.
Finally at 8:30 PM (!) the lights dropped. You know that amazing feeling when the lights cut out, you swear you can hear the big switch being
thrown, and all that's left is the stage bathed in soft purple light.
Let's get this show on the road!
Mike came out in a big white Fedora, and he looked hysterical. He kept it on for about two songs. We always like to try to pick the first tune, but no one guessed "My Sweet One"....of course, Valentine's Day!
The encore was the best of the three nights, as the band nodded once more to Valentine's Day with a scorching "Loving Cup". Back on Phish mini-tour with my Valentine -  oh, what a beautiful buzz!
It took a while to get out of the lot. Several clutch quesadillas and a root beer helped things out. Big thumbs down to the Inglewood/LA police department for circling a helicopter over the crowd no sooner than one half hour after the last notes of the encore (about when we got to our car), instructing people to vacate the premises. We were all in a gridlocked line of cars trying to do just that. Settle down guys. You don't want half of these people driving just yet, anyway.
Of course coming out of the show we were all smiles, it had indeed been a good show. But now that show is paling in comparison, and fading in memory, after what happened in Vegas -  where Phish dropped the BOMB.


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