Portugal. The Man knew they were walking into something special when they took the stage at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on Sunday night. The show opened with a tongue-in-cheek video from acclaimed singer-songwriter/actor Paul Williams. His message: I love this band, and there is a whole lot more to them than “Feel It Still.” With that, they dove into that exact song, and grins and laughter transformed into cheers and applause.

Seeing Paul Williams on-screen wasn’t the only surprise of the night, but more on that later.

Openers Say She She and Chicano Batman opened up the night. The latter, who call Los Angeles home, seemed especially excited to be on stage at one of the city’s most iconic venues. They played a long set, with 15 songs, and were joined by the ladies of Say She She for several of them.

Portugal. The Man are touring in support of “Chris Black Changed My Life,” released in June. The album is less groovy and single-driven than 2017’s “Woodstock,” largely because it emerged out of a place of hardship. In addition to the obvious dedication to late-friend Chris Black (a longtime friend of the band, who died in May 2019), there is also the presence of lead singer John Gourley and longtime partner and bandmate Zoe Manville’s daughter, Frances, on the album. Frances was recently diagnosed with DHDDS, a rare genetic mutation, and her story and even her vocals are present on the album. Neither create melancholy or sadness in the album, but it does certainly come with an extra bit of weight.

On stage, bright, engaging visuals of nature and animated character’s exploding accompanied the band through a career spanning set list. Much of the opening of the night came from “Evil Friends,” much to the delight of many longtime Portugal. The Man fans. “Modern Jesus,” “Plastic Soldiers,” “Creep in a T-Shirt” and “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” ignited the crowd, showcasing the band’s ability to seamlessly transition from one sound to another while maintaining their signature sound. Medleys of tracks like “Dopesmoker” (by Sleep), “Heart of the Sunrise” (by Yes), “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” (by the Beatles) and more demonstrated their musical range, weaving together a tapestry of emotions and rhythms, and excited many of the older audience members.

Then, the real surprises came. First, Paul Williams returned to the screen, and then to the stage to speak about Frances and the band’s quest to make life better for those with DHDDS. Collaboration seemed to be the theme of the night, with “Weird Al” Yankovic making an appearance on stage next to join the band for “Who’s Gonna Stop Me,” from the new album.

Then, for fans of the hit television series “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia,” the inclusion of the song “Dayman” in Portugal. The Man’s setlist has for years been a delightful homage to a beloved show. The song, originally performed by actor Charlie Day in the series, has been a part of Portugal. The Man’s repertoire since at least 2014. As the night unfolded, the anticipation grew, and the crowd’s energy surged when Charlie Day himself emerged on stage. Joining Portugal. The Man on piano and vocals for a heartfelt rendition of “Dayman,” Day’s appearance created a magical moment that united fans of the show and the band alike.

Portugal. The Man’s show at the Hollywood Bowl was a masterclass in musical prowess, nostalgia, and unexpected delights. From their diverse setlist to the surprise appearances by Charlie Day and “Weird Al” Yankovic, the night was a testament to the band’s ability to connect with their audience on multiple levels. The inclusion of the “Dayman” performance was a stroke of genius, uniting fans of both the band and the television series in a moment of pure magic. As the echoes of the performance lingered in the night air, it was evident that this was not just a concert, but a truly unforgettable experience that will be cherished by attendees for years to come.

Feel It Still
Plastic Soldiers
Creep in a T-Shirt
Modern Jesus
Purple Yellow Red and Blue
Dopesmoker / Heart of the Sunrise / Heavy Games II / Bellies Are Full / Grim Generation
Summer of Luv
All Your Light (Times Like These) / A Kilo / Black Dog / South of Heaven / Cowboys from Hell / I Want You (She’s So Heavy) / Mornings
Time’s a Fantasy (Paul Williams comes on stage)
Who’s Gonna Stop Me (with “Weird Al” Yankovic)
Day Man (with Charlie Day)


Brian Benton

Brian Benton is a writer and photographer based in Los Angeles.