It’s been way too long since I wrote up a “Ghost” and I apologize for the lack of activity on The Daily Ghost. Many of you have written me asking me to get back at it and a combination of being busy and lazy has contributed to my absence. I figured the 25 in 25 series,recapping last summer’s jams ,was the perfect chance for me to talk about my favorite “Ghost” of the summer.
Background (Set: 2 of 2-Song 3 of 6-Show Gap: 3)
With a stellar start to the 2014 tour at Mansfield, SPAC, and the Mann, coupled with an excellent night one at Randall’s, night 2 at Randall’s seemed prime for a show to remember. When the music ended, for about 21 hours, it was a show that everyone was talking about. An incredible six song second set with almost no downtime and a “Ghost” that was at the apex of the musical creativity. This show of course now gets dwarfed by fact that the last night of Randall’s was one of the best shows of this era. Take a couple hours and go back and listen to just how good set 2 was from 07/12/15, you won’t be disappointed.
Composed Section (0:00-3:17)
On the heels of another top notch “Carini”, “Ghost” starts out at a solid pace. It is a bit uptempo and seems to have an authority to it that is lacking sometimes. A couple things happen to me now that I have become “The Ghost Guy” at shows. Whenever “Ghost” drops people seem to love to throw glowsticks at my helmet. Then as the jam progresses I get a lot of looks backward toward me, looking for my opinion or communicating that listener’s approval.
The solo section features a heavy dose of Page’s clav with Trey providing some background melodies. Mike enters strongly but ultimately we end up with just another average solo section.
The lead in is executed nicely and then the drop is…
Nailed it! Everybody get up and celebrate!
Island Grooving (3:18-4:56)
At about 3:25 it sounds like Trey might bust a Led Zeppelin “Heartbreaker” tease but instead opts for a different path. Fish leads off with a standard paced “Ghost” jam and the band eases into this one. Things are mostly in the bluesy route before Mike finds the first interesting direction. At the 3:40 mark Mike goes real low, and drives hard, forcing Trey to pick things up. Trey counters with some minimalist soloing with nice backing rhythm from Page.
The uptempo Blues jam continues and Page nails the section at the 4:25 mark. Hard driven piano chords meshing perfectly with some elongated notes from Trey. The band is grooving hard with the rhythm section of Mike and Fish giving Trey and Page a real nice platform to stand on.
This is a solid opening bluesy rocking groove that helps set the tone for this jam to move forward.
Power grooving, and starting the dance party (4:57-6:24)
Trey piggybacks the wonderful Page grand tones and fires of a trill at the 4:56 mark which only pushes Page harder. Page responds (as he always seems to do) by absolutely hammering perfect melody after perfect melody. Trey and Page are in total sync.
Trey slows things down with some power chords and Mike quickly follows him for just a second, precisely at the 5:10 mark, before carving out an enormous power complemental bass line. Mike is tearing into his will teeth the size of a great white and this “Ghost” is all the better for it.
There is nothing overly complicated going down with this groove, but the groove is Strong!!!!! Major, major chair dancing going on.
At the 6:05 mark, Page plays one of the melodies that complete moves my soul. Those moments are plenty every show, but I still don’t take them for granted. It’s only about 4 seconds but it’s a melody that seems completely fresh to me, yet feels like something I have known and loved my whole life.
Last, huge props to Trey during this section. These power rythm chords are serious business. He is walking the line between leading and providing support to the band, which in turns brings out the best in Mike and Page.
Page hammers hard into the piano and sets the stage for…
Central Peak (6:24-10:55)
At 6:24 Trey drops the looooooooooong note (a LawnMemo favorite) and yet again it leads to awesomeness! Hold the note, let the band crush around it. Works every time.
Page drops in like Thor, and Mike is the hammer. Fish has picked up the pace and every bone in your body can feel the goodness coming. By the time 6:48 mark comes the road has been laid down for Trey and all he has to do is but the axe in drive. Trey lets a couple of triplets go before stepping off the gas momentarily. Mike and Page continue to inspire.
At 7:13 Trey revs things back up and shows off his chops. Hitting each trilling note in succession, with incredible frequency control, Trey makes me feel young again. The band has hit it’s stride and this a full band explosion worthy of the tallest skyscrapers in New York City.
At 8:17, it seems like things have ended but instead Page throws down another one of “those” melodies at 8:21. It must have struck something in Trey because he comes roaring back with even more authority. With some of his more impressive soloing work, Trey re-launches the band back toward the skyscrapers. Ripping into some high notes Big Red finds those hairs on the back of my neck that yearn to be tingled. (If they are tingled usually I have to pay for that).
The band changes gears at 9:16 with Trey providing a more murky tone and then moves to a full band throw down. Then at 9:40, Trey lets the loops dissipate onto the island and let’s the band wind things down. Incredible, incredible stuff from Anastasio. We then move into a minimalist outro and the end of Randall’s “Ghost” before…
Is this “2001” again!!! Back to back “Ghost->2001s”?
This is still going…
Clear me some serious dance space…
Give me 20 acres of dance space and look the F out (10:56-16:32)
Welcome to serious Type II territory. The band beautifully eases back from the ambiance, and wonderfully transitions into upbeat rhythmic section with danceability a plenty. (I just read that back and can’t believe I have a sentence with ambiance, transition, rhythmic and danceability…Those are like 4 real words!) Just the kind of thing LawnMemo enjoys at shows more than anything else. These are the sections I live for and when it just so happens to be in “Ghost” well that is extra special to me.
The band works this section like the wily old veterans they are. Trey is sprinkling notes in an almost staccato style and the rest of the band’s movements are incredibly precise. The pace is pushing forward, yet the amount of notes being played is actually pretty minimal. Not many bands can pull this off, and should be a reminder why Phish is one of the best in the business.
Some people can dance to rap, some to jazz, some to whatever the heck “Top 40” music is. I dance to this. And when I say dance, I mean uncontrollably and with incredible similarities to a blooper reel.
If you listen closely at 11:27, you can hear Mike begin to start infusing a melody which would become the centerpiece for the next kick ass section. Trey works nicely off it before he lends his idea for the next path at 11:54. Mike answers his call immediately by revisiting the melody at 11:27, only this time with more authority. The two paths move parallely nicely before Mike’s angry dragon takes control and we get, completely unlike my sex life, EVIL AND FILTHY.
Trey works in his electronic tone and starts following Mike and the result is a powerful and creative section of Phish. I have a separate violent, convulsing style of dance I reserve for this style of jamming.
Remember when I told you that everyone likes to look back at me when “Ghost” jams get serious? At about the 13:15 mark I distinctly remember what it seemed like the entire crowd staring at me. Maybe that was because I had a helmet on, or maybe because it looked like the medical team needed to treat me for convulsing dance moves, but I like to think it was that moment was where everyone thought to themselves “this is awesome” and I can’t wait to read LawnMemo’s writeup on this a year later. What all those people glancing back saw one of the biggest smiles I have had this era.
This section is evil, it’s funky, it’s rocking. It’s perfect. It’s yet another bullet point to why Phish is my favorite band of all time.
An incredible “Ghost” during an oustanding set. This “Ghost” has all the ingredients I want to earn the big marks. Great grooving, a killer peak, danceability and creativity, with a hint of evil. This “Ghost” is my favorite of the year and has much credibility to being the second best “Ghost” of this era as any other(Albany 09 being the best), and just might be mine.