Download Link Ghost>Sample 7/23/1997
(Remastered by @KernelForbin)
Important advice….Keep all small children away, and put on some headphones…
Background (Set: 2 of 2-Song: 2 of 6-Show Gap: 2)
Two Days after the US debut of Ghost, and one day after a monster show at Walnut Creek, comes one of the top versions of Ghost ever played. This massive Ghost drops in the two hole of the second set, after a great Punch You in the Eye. Many people who were at the show wrote in to The Daily Ghost, saying that they had no idea what the song was until ” The Story of the Ghost” lyrics were sung. Included in today’s clip is a super cool segue into Sample of a Jar.
Composed Section (0:00-3:00)
The initial start of Ghost is just a tad shaky, beginning with a SUPER slow pace. At about 0:37 Fish tries to pick up the pace ever so slightly. Still, you can just feel the funk breathing into this intro. When they are this patient, big things are usually in store. The pace picks up during Page’s solo, Mike and Fish really get after that section. A decent pause and an above average drop in. Measure after measure you can feel this Ghost growing stronger and stronger.
Attack Funk (3:01-6:23)
Before we move any further let me say, this is the Jon Fishman show. I don’t care how many times I mention him during this review, it does not do him justice. Into the jam we go, and the energy that was built towards the tail end of the composed section carries over. Fishman is really pushing things right away. The first minute of the jam is where they are really finding a space to explore, with Fish being the real star. At 4:10 Trey strikes a funk chord, and Page gets into some craziness around him. By about 4:28 they lock into this space and we are into a great groove. Cactus gets into some slap action and the jam has a great balance between the four. Trey starts to really attack the funk space at the 5:35 mark. The rest of the band answers and this section is a blazing funk city. At 6:23 Fish drops a fill and we begin to move into the next section.
Grooving right a long (6:24-8:55)
After the Fishman fill, Trey moves out front to do some low key soloing. Still locked in, Fish is holding the groove down allowing Page and Mike to provide layers around Trey’s lead. The other three band members are so far apart in different directions, I am amazed how Fishman can hold the groove. My mind just exploded trying to wrap my arms it. Fishman is gravity. Trey is not over playing but instead contributes to the groove. Page takes things out there a bit at 7:25. Gordon really is getting some notes in after the 8:00 mark. Really from the start of the jam, we see some tremendous full band playing. Every member is completely key at all times.
The Build to the 70s (8:56-11:53)
Jon Fishman crushes this section! At 8:55 Fish moves into some great cymbal work and starts to push the jam forward. Things are slowly building measure by measure. At 9:37 Page has moved to the piano while Trey and Fish continue to build. Gorgeous tone from Trey at this point! Fish is all over, showing just how awesome he really is. At about 11:00 Trey starts to really get after it and show off his chops. At 11:30 Fish drops a fill and Trey plays a couple monster measures.
Saturday Night Space Phever (11:54-16:07)
At 11:55 Trey starts to play a lick over and over and Fishman is just driving into an insane disco beat. 12 minutes in and there is so sign of this jam slowing down, it just keeps picking up! At 12:24 Page decides to park his spaceship at Studio 54. Gordon has a walking bass line that just fits perfect. What song was this again????? Truly one of my favorite sections in Phish history. THIS is why I go see Phish! Pure improvisation, pure get up and dance. Page takes big chances in this section and it works so beautifully! I really love that when they hit this Disco party groove, they are in no rush to move away from it. Little changes here and there from Trey and Page to make it interesting, but the overall feel stays the same. Brilliant!
At 13:30 Page unpacks his piano then his organ from his spacecraft. As Page comes back down to Earth a bit, Trey starts to move out into space. At 13:45 Page begins to throw some “Spooky” teases into the party. At 14:00 Trey begins to develop a more spacey sound. Gordo really drops a cool bass line at the 14:20 mark. 15:20 and Page throws in some great piano measures before moving to the organ, then back to the piano.
The End of Disco (16:07-19:39)
At 16:08 Gordon pumps up a bass line and says it is time to unleash the fire. They build it up for a bit, and let the air out just enough. Then…at 17:09 Trey brings a machine gun to the disco. The entire band is in full destruction mode behind him…What am I supposed to say about this? Put your helmet on and run for freaking cover!!!! You can hear some of the sounds that would soon be in the “Prague Ghost” from Trey at the 18:24 mark. Trey also starts screaming, he is so happy! As much as the machine gun takes your ear, give this a couple listens. The other 3 are really playing their asses off. It really is a full band fire! The phrase “Disco is dead” was created from this jam because Phish just destroyed it.
Break it “On Your Way Down” (19:40-25:39)
After every ounce of oxygen is flown in from around the world, they begin to break down the jam. The crowd roars showing it’s approval of the first 20 minutes of amazing music. I look around my room right now and wonder what song am I reviewing again? More? At 20:50 Cactus tries to remind me…He starts to work the distinct bass line to “On Your Way Down”. He could not have worked it in any better, A+ work by Mike. It is almost a full “On Your Way Down” jam. Trey makes some high pitched blissful sounds to layer the deep bass. At 23:38 Page brings the clav around for a spin to provide an even deeper contrast.
From that point on they continue to drive deeper and deeper. The jam darkens and builds measure by measure. Trey lays some solo work over the thickening fog. Page lays some monster tones on the Grand at 25:00. The type of sounds you hear in a horror movie before someone gets murdered. Well something did get murdered…Atlanta, Georgia.
Evil Helicopter Liftoff>Sample (25:40-End)
At 25:40 what sounds like a helicopter taking off with a Nintendo inside it begins. This madness continues for a while until at 26:40 Trey plays the coolest opening note to Sample ever played. Super weird, super cool segue. It is well known that Sample is not one of my favorite songs. It could not fit any better after that roller coaster. Great landing pad for a heavenly Ghost.
Lakewood Ghost is what the top tier is all about. Once you get to this level, with basically nothing wrong, it comes down to personal choice. I can make a case for any of the top tier Ghosts being the best. This Ghost set the standard and influenced a lot of future jams. From funk, to super disco, to the “All the Way” down jam, there is something for everyone. I feel like I should take up smoking after reviewing this…