Background (Set: 2 of 2 – Song: 2 of 9 – Show Gap: 5)
Emerging from a nice “Chalk Dust Torture” a sweet trippy ambient jam transitions us into “Ghost”. Some cool stuff and sets the stage for an interesting composed section of “Ghost”.
“Ghost” rises from the ashes around the 15:30 mark. Things fully move to “Ghost” at around the 16:00 mark and the song rings in with some cool echo delay effects. This delay effects usher in an interesting opening composed sequence, although it does throw off the timing a bit. This opening section is certainly different and hard to quantify as a total success. The solo section is rather weak with almost nothing going on and the composed section is executed well enough, but the drop…. YEAH, the drop….Trey is a solid 2 seconds late. I love that the band tried something new, but it wasn’t their best work.
Chilling in Typical “Ghost” Land 19:31-22:59
Trey begins the jam with some strong guitar hero soloing. Page gets in on the act dropping some gorgeous melodies around the 20 min mark. The jam take a bluesy rock vibe and a nice little groove emerges. This is easy (easier than my ex-girlfriend!) dancing music with Mike and Fish laying down the rhythm section nicely. This is mostly typical “Ghost” stuff but it’s solid, nonetheless.
As strong as this groove starts out, it does begin to meander and lose steam by about the 22:30 mark. Jon Fishman to the rescue!
From Nowhere to Absolutely Breathtaking: The Goods & the Feels (23:00-27:54)
At the 23 minute mark, Fish detects a change is needed and downshifts. What a move! Because of this, this “Ghost” immediately finds its direction. Mike jumps all over Fish’s move and throws down the backbone of this forthcoming jam. Page responds within seconds on the piano. Unfriggin real… That jam was going nowhere fast but Fish flipped it on its head and within seconds, everything is perfect. Each member of the band has found his space and there is acres of space left for Trey to find his.
Yet another moment where Fish proves just how vital he is to the band. Brilliant. Trey comes in slowly and with a delicate touch. By the 24 minute mark, he has completely found it. Full blown chills. In one minute, Phish went from lost to playing one of my favorite “Ghost” sections. This a section I can’t stop listening to. It is perfect. Every single band member is on fire and it produces a full band masterpiece.
The 23:00 to 26:30 mark reminds me of a hug. Like, if I could take all of those hugs that really mean something and stretch that powerful 5 second feeling into three and a half minutes. For me, it’s that specific hug you have to give someone when they are going through an extremely tough time. It’s that hug you give someone where you try and make them feel your compassion and empathy for them. It’s the hug you give someone where you try to pack all the memories and love you have for them into a physical experience.
I wasn’t even in this type of reflective and deep mood when I sat down to listen to this jam. Yet as I have replayed this 3 minute section over and over, I am overcome with these emotions. The great sections of Phish do that to me. They make me feel and think about things I can’t believe I could ever think about during music.
What Trey can do in this era is provide feeling into your soul. It’s easier to do with age. You appreciate each note a bit more and think about things in ways you didn’t have the experiences to do so when you were young. When Trey finds these emotionally driven leads, it leads to me hitting repeat.
Mike switches effects and the jam winds down as Trey repeats a riff before another effect laden outro.
It’s about the 23:00-26:00 mark. How much do you value a three minute segment? I value it a lot when it forces me to listen back about 30 times. I just love everything about it. It strips Phish down to a fragile state and rewards the audience with emotion. The composed section tries and fails, and the initial jam and outro are nothing special. But for three and a half minutes, Phish found something magical.