Background (Set: 2 of 2 – Song: 1 of 9 – Show Gap: 4)
Summer 2013 was not the best time for my favorite song. The versions weren’t awful, just nothing that is going to stand among the top versions of all time. You had to think that with the great success “Ghost” has had during the Fall, we were due for a bounce back. So when “Ghost” opened the second set the second night of Hampton, I got really excited! “Ghost” opens a set for the second straight time after not opening any set since Alpine Valley on 08/15/2010.
Composed Section (1:08-4:44)
Our first “Ghost” of fall greets the crowd with some whale calls, before Mike and Fish come in nice and slow. The intro has an eerie feeling that is perfect for Fall Tour. The overall pace is average with Fish driving it a tad bit faster than normal.
The solo section gets a typical dose of Page’s clav to start. Trey plays a couple riffs as Mike comes in. Nothing too exciting here.
The lead-up is solid, and then all eyes turn to the first “Ghost” drop of the Fall…Take a guess what happens…
(Any Back to the Future gif I find, gets priority #claytonravine)
I fully expect “Ghost” drops to suck at this point. It has become an unexpected treat when Phish nails them.
Wooo Bliss!>Meh (4:45-9:20)
A few sectioned off measures kicks the initial jam segment into gear as Trey starts things out. At the 5:19 mark, Trey backs off a bit and Mike starts to establish himself. Page is using his clav as his initial weapon of choice.
At 5:53 Page moves to the piano, and the tone of the jam starts to take shape. Things break down and Page’s piano rings beautifully through Mike’s powerful tone. It takes a while for the band to lock, but at around 6:25 things start becoming beautiful.
Fish slows things up just a touch, and it is just the trick for Trey and Page to link up. The interplay between the two is outstanding. Trey chooses his notes carefully and with each held note, Page is there to bring a blissful melody. Mike creates a strong undertone that drives our heartbeats.
Mike starts to get stronger and stronger and pushes the tempo at 7:30. This is the point during this version where you can go grab another beer, bowl of ice cream, warm blueberry muffin, crackers and cheese (head nod to Eric Gross who brought an international cheese selection to Atlantic City). Trey’s playing in this section is not for me. That being said, I love what the rest of the band is doing.
Page continues the bliss on the baby grand, while Fishman tries a couple different beats to get the jam to link back up. The sound around Trey is rich and full, but the whale does not fit here. But then…
As Meh as that was…Get Ready to Release the Endorphins (9:21-12:35)
At 9:21 Trey tries a different mode of attack. He holds onto a note and lets the band build into it. REPEAT, LawnMemo is a huge fan of this tactic!!!! It almost always works!
Immediately this jam takes on fresh, wonderful life! When Trey comes off of the note to solo, the jam is already built around him. Trey doesn’t play a bunch of notes, instead he lets each one ring out around him.
Page is on complete fire. I hope he never leaves the baby grand. Every time Trey holds a note, it is like Page is accessing the happy parts of my memories. By 10:23, I have chills. One minute after the jam gets a bit meh for my taste, this “Ghost” is soaring. Welcome to the power of the current state of Phish! In one minute the full power of this band can get to places other bands only dream about.
At 10:36, Trey holds another long note, and the other three members are on complete fire. This is AWESOME!!!
It sounds like this peak might loose a bit of steam at 11:20 but Fishman won’t have it. He plays his ass off forcing the upbeat tempo. Page is right on top of him until finally we break away a bit. Seems like it is time for the outro…or is it…
Trey’s Touch of Heaven, It’s Rolling Peak Time->Life Just Got Better (12:36-15:24)
Where many times Trey has led the band into another song at this point in a jam, he instead takes the reigns into orgasm land. Trey stars to solo and shows his clear intent, that he is not through with this jam. Page, Fish, and Mike are still killing it. Those three have created a giant stage for Trey to star on. It is all up to him…
At 13:31 Trey finds IT. This jam goes from pretty sweet, to TOTALLY F’ING AWESOME in 10 seconds. Full blown hose. Huge rolling peaks that remind me of the Osaka Ghost! I can’t handle the happiness this makes me feel. I can’t contain myself!
These moments stick with us forever. Pure unadulterated joy. You float to the most magical place that you have ever been. Hell sometimes it hasn’t even been created yet. Then when you open your eyes, you see everyone around just as happy as you.
13:42-14:55. That is it! One minute and thirteen seconds and every worry an entire audience had is washed away. This is why we go to Phish, this is why they are the greatest band in the world.
I just listened to this 1+ min section about 40 times and suddenly the rest of this week’s outlook seems better to me.
What’s even better? They follow this incredible rolling peak with…
The Funky, Jazzy, Fade Away Outro (15:25-18:39)
Fish lays down a jazz beat around a couple Trey power licks. Page lays down the spunk and this outro is awesome from the start. Fishman and Page shine (which is typical) during this outro. It is half funky, half jazz, half dance party…It is so cool it gets three halves. Speaking of three, I am still trying to find that three boobed lady from Total Recall…
Things make a left turn when Page plays a sweet minimalist melody at 16:04. It is the kind of unsuspecting perfect melody that has made Page my favorite musician. Trey jumps on it and plays immediately. Mike follows shortly with a huge bass bomb, before the jam works its way into nothing.
As things fade into nothing it certainly sounds like Page is looking for “WTU?” (a trend that would show up a bunch more on this Fall Tour).
Mike’s drops another bass bomb before he segues us into “Down with Disease”
Wow that was awesome!
So summer 2013 was a bit of a let down for “Ghost.” Fall Tour 2013 comes out and fires away an all time version in its first attempt. Other than a bit of a “meh” section from Trey (which is really only about 2 min) this “Ghost” is straight awesome sauce. A great opening groove, a sweet peak followed by an enormous rolling peak, that is capped by a killer outro. Page stays on the baby grand for almost this entire jam. I recommend just listening to him one time through to truly grasp how much he brought to this jam. This “Ghost” is a keeper.