Having turned in fairly early after the previous evening's Mount Shasta visit, we were primed and ready to crush the drive to Mountain View. Before leaving town, we got breakfast burritos at a shop manned by a guy on the verge of a caffeine overdose, and started on the drive. We had taken in so much awesome scenery over the trip's first few days that I've actually forgotten what the below is a video of (I think it's the southern part of Lake Shasta?).
Not much to report about the drive (other than our rental car getting karate-chopped by a railroad gate arm, oops), although we achieved our goal of getting to GooglePlexTown before rush hour / yay. Checked into our room, said hello to a couple of Salvador's friends (who were coincidentally staying in the same hotel on the floor above us), then rolled out for some excellent pre-show pho. Back to the hotel to load up, then a 2+ mile walk to the venue on / alongside a kinda confusing bike / jogging path.
Shakedown was decent, and a welcome sight - "Best shakedown since Dicks!", hahahaha. Plenty of sunshine, plenty of the usual types of vending, plenty of cops (including reports of several undercovers), etc. What set this shakedown apart were two things: 1.) a large mound to the south between the Googleplex and the venue parking lot (which we 'climbed'), and 2.) a dude selling from a huge bag of PRJs. We took advantage of both of these curiosities.
Getting into the venue itself was somewhat nerve-wracking. A Fundamentalist Jesus Freak of some sort was shouting insults at the gathered concertgoers, imploring us to "repent" and to admit to "the sadness in our lives." No thanks, fuckface! I'm here to boogie! Of course, the true abomination here wasn't this jackass, but his pathetic crony who was standing behind him, filming the whole embarrassing outburst. No authority on the matter I, but I feel confident in stating that Jesus would've hated both of these shitheads. Then, seemingly long lines had us convinced that there was no way we'd get into the venue in time, which, of course, we did. Ahhhhh, the power of negative thinking!
The venue itself, designed by Bill Graham, was pretty effing sweet. Our seats featured plenty of dancing room, and restroom and beer lines never seemed too unmanageable after the initial rush into the venue. Shoreline is apparently designed to resemble the Dead's Steal Your Face logo from an aerial view, which I can neither confirm nor deny because we were sitting inside the venue, not several hundred feet above it. :->
OK, onto the actual show, my *150th* ever Phish show. First set began puzzlingly with "The Line," which had me literally running at top speed towards the restroom. Made it back in plenty of time for "Moma" in the two-hole, during which we made nice with our neighbors with the assistance of said aforementioned PRJ. "Killdevil" featured a little extra type 1 length, "Yarmouth" sounded like shit (as per ushe), "Undermind" was snappy after some initial confusion as to which key Trey wanted to play it in, and "Free" was standard-good. "Reba" was played practically flawlessly until the "silent count" section before the jam (which was great), and "46 Days" closed her down. Standard, enjoyable first set, with solid song choices (for the most part) after the opener.
We took a brief walk up to the lawn at setbreak, and it seemed really pleasant up there. Not sure how the sound is, but view-wise there didn't appear to be a bad seat in the house. Thank you, Mr. Graham!
OK, second set. Batting first is a tune that seems to have polarized fans far and near, but if The Boys are going to consistently play versions of "Blaze On" as exploratory as this one, that should shut the haters up. Sure, at its core it may be a musically simple / lyrically idiotic l'il ditty that shamelessly ganks the melody of "This Land Is Your Land," but, by comparison, this version of "Blaze On" is a better listen than any version of "Fuego" that they've *ever* done. It funkily rocks along until about the 12 minute mark, when it goes fully spacey and type 2 for a few minutes.
"Twist" next, a/k/a one of the surest bets during our current era for outstanding jamming, and this one is a killer. Around four minutes in, Trey whips out the same muscular, dirty tone that made the first half of the Bend2 "Simple" so enjoyable. This continues in a funky, bluesy vein (with several returns to the "Twist" riff) until about 7 minutes, when Trey begins playing leads in a squealing upper register more common to "Twist." 8 minutes sees a halfhearted attempt at summoning a "WOO!" from the crowd, before another return to the "Twist" riff. Page's solemn piano seems to foretell an early end around 9, but Mike staves that notion off, countering with a helicoptering bass riff. More patient chording through about 10:30, when Trey picks up his leads seeming where he left off a few minutes prior. This isn't quite "soaring" territory - decidedly more chill - but this is still very, very pretty stuff. 12:40ish, Trey takes the reins in earnest and the intensity increases along with him. Flutter Trey by 13:20, and for a brief second it seems like an alligator mouth into "Disease Reprise" isn't totally out of the question. Patented glorious Trey ascending lead lick at 14:10 leads to more wonderful "Disease"-like jamming. A minute later and Trey trills us into a brief peak, before everything fades out into...
"Light." Well all ri-ight!!!! In case you lost count, set 2 has basically started with the best 32 minutes of the entire tour to this point. Trey's really feeling it - note him screaming out "AND THE LIGHT IS GROWING BRIGHTER NOW!" in this version. This jams along in a typical "Light" fashion until Fish switches up the rhythm, coaxing Trey into a brief "Manteca" tease. 7:35 has Page funking it up, and by a minute later it's safe to say we're entirely into Type 2 territory, with Fishman teasing "Timber"'s tom intro. At 9 it's pretty much a duet between Trey and Page on the clav, and by 9:30 Trey's playing a familiar 2-chord riff - uplifting, yes, but, again, not quite "soaring." 10:35 sees a near "Little Drummer Boy" tease, before going back to the two chord riff - gaining intensity with Fishman's cymbal crashes. They "soar" through the next couple of minutes - probably my favorite part of the night overall. Gradually, the intensity diminishes until around 14:30, when Gordo's the only one who seems to want to keep this jam alive.
My (internal) request for a pissbreak is granted by Trey singing about some *incredible* fucking clothes - naturally, a significant portion of the crowd wanted out too, meaning it actually took several minutes to get back to my seat. Fortunately, this version featured a drawn-out intro, so I was back in place with plenty of time to join in with the first "HARRY!" "HOOD!" As with so many 2014 versions, this one ducks into a dark, minor key, type 2 segment, which, to me, seemed to be a nod to the awesome "Hood" > "Dogs" > "Hood" played about 9 months ago during Fall Tour just 35 miles up the road at BGCA.
During "Hood," we were joined - seemingly at random - by one of Salvador's friends from Ashland, Chris. I first met Chris at SBB2 last fall, when he blew a handful of glitter in my face. (I was still picking pieces of glitter out of my sunglasses frames by the time I got to Vegas, haha.) Chris is a veritable bundle of energy, and - fortunately - the two-tripping-doofuses-and-a-hot-chick had deserted their spot in front of us, so I hopped downstairs in their stead to rock the eff out to "Hood"'s thrilling conclusion, the telegraphed "Cavern" set-closer, and the "Zero" encore. Good stuff.
So, in summation, we've had three very different shows over the opening nights of tour. Bend1 was... well, the best you can say about it was that it was the *first* show of tour. Bend2 was the first *good* show of tour. And Shoreline was the first *really, really good* show of tour. Gotta like this upwards trajectory as far as Forum is concerned! :->