Background (Set: 2 of 2 – Song: 5 of 7 – Show Gap: 5)
2015 was serious business with a throw down at Blossom as one one of the year’s best shows. “Ghost” pops up late in the second set after an incredible 40 minute “Chalk Dust Torture -> Tweezer” to open the set. “Makisupa Policeman” lightens the mood before “Ghost” returns to the jams.
Composed Section (0:00-3:22)
A slow but powerful pace in “Ghost” starts after “Makisupa”. Trey’s voice sounds strong. There is little doubt the band feels confident after crushing this set leading up to “Ghost”. The solo section doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary, but it is tight. It feels like the band is not messing around.
The lead in is smooth before the drop….
WOOOOOOO a seriously great “Ghost” drop! That was the real deal. I told you that they don’t actually try to screw it up every time! Every once in a while, they hit their shot.
Ok, let’s do this!
No Messing Around, Time to Go! (3:33-5:27)
Fishman’s vocals trail off as the Phish moves into the jam. Listen closely and you can hear him.
The jam starts off way faster than normal. Fishman pushes the pace. Oftentimes the placement of “Ghost” dictates the initial intent behind the jam. Perfect example. After monster jams preceded “Lizards>Makisupa”, it’s now “Ghost” job to rip.
Fishman certainly leads the charge with Trey not far behind. Trey takes charges with sort of an angry tone here.
The upbeat jam shows off Trey and Fish’s chops, but it takes a minute to fully click.
If you pay attention at the 5:08 mark, you’ll hear something that happens a lot in Phish improv. Trey plays a fast little riff. He basically announces it to the band. Then, he slows down. Trey wants to give the rest of the band a bit to adapt. When he comes back at 5:28 with the same riff, the rest of the band is ready to push with him. You will find this pattern all over Phish improv if you listen hard enough for it.
The Peak Blossoms (5:28-8:39)
The result is a full on LET’S GO!!!!! These are the moments when I buckle the helmet strap. You feel it in your gut and look around and check to make sure you have enough dancing space. Then you try and see if you can sneak some more in, because you know you are going to need it.
I am spinning this with my chair rocking in place. At the show, I’d be moving my feet like the Road Runner before he takes off.
Phish is a jam band. Phish is also a Rock and Roll band. Rock and Roll needs to be felt, and this “Ghost” reaches out from the abyss and punches you in the face.
Time to talk about my boy Page. He’s hard to pick out because Trey’s tone is so strong. Make sure you take a spin listening specifically to Page. My goodness he’s crushing the baby grand piano.
When the first peak comes around 6:50, Page HAMMERS down. So damn good! Actually, so is Mike. Actually, this band is good. I adig the contrasting sounds of Page’s gorgeous baby grand and Trey’s dirty evil tone.
The first peak lands at 7:00 with immediately more spectacular stuff from Page. At 7:02, Page strikes again with one of my favorite melodies of the jam. He then repeats it at 7:14, and again at 7:30. Goosebumps. PAGE RULES!
This “Ghost” is just a classic rocker. Fishman reclaims the role of King Ass Kicker at 7:20 with incomprehensible fills.
At 7:30, the band continues to ride the wave. It’s almost like one long extended peak and the crowd is loving it.
I spoke too soon.
There is another real peak at 8:10. Followed by more Fishman power. How can someone drum that hard for one song let alone three hours a night for 30+ years? What a gift Fish is.
One Seriously Cool Outro (8:41-10:34)
Most outro “Ghost” jams don’t do much. Especially ones (like this) that basically are just a run to the peak.
This one however…
Just a sick as hell lick from Trey right at the start of the outro. Trey continues to repeat this lick and Page hits the clav and the result is pure awesome. The peak is certainly cool, but this little outro jam might be my favorite part of the jam. It’s unique and funky as hell. Had this been earlier in this set, it had the potential to resurrect this “Ghost” to another huge jam.
Phish starts to murk up the jam and make things a little weird as things wind down. Mike gets one last little moment to shine. At 10:03, Gordo finds just the coolest damn bassline. It’s so subtle yet so strong. Damn, that man is creative. Page answers with some shit you would hear in a horror movie. What a way to end this “Ghost”, before it heads into “Harry Hood”.
The Blossom “Ghost” is another product of its positioning in the show. Coming late in the second set, Phish uses “Ghost” to help bring the show to a rocking close.
This “Ghost” is full throttle. There is little grooving as it races toward the peak. If you like upbeat rockers, this version will work nicely for you.
The peak is more of a long gradual climb, as opposed to one huge explosion. It’s a “Ghost” that will get your heart rate moving, and your limbs flopping.
This Blossom “Ghost” does have one of the cooler outros in all of “Ghost”. It’s groovy, danceable, and then gets weird and spooky.
Besides the excellent outro however, this “Ghost” is mainly about it’s race to the peak, yet the peak isn’t anything memorable. Another “Ghost” that served its job in that particular show, but on it’s own it’s below average. There just isn’t a ton here.