Background (Ghost Position: Set: 2 of 2 – Song 2 of 9- Song Gap: 3)
After the great Ghost->Taste at Alpine Valley in the first set, the next Ghost is played at the beginning of the second set. Again we see another great combo this time around with Ghost->Izabella.
Composed Section (0:00-3:00)
A bit of a rough start leads to a pretty slow pace during the Ghost intro. A super funky solo from Page follows, one of his best in this section. Gordon provides his usual funk accompaniment as well. The pause is short, and the drop in is not the best. After they come back from the drop, the vocals are horribly oversung.
The slow intro and the super funky Page solo provide an easy move into a funk jam. Gordon immediately steps up and starts going into a slapping frenzy. Page gets on the clav and the band settles into a nice groove. At 3:45 Trey starts expanding out a bit with a super cool tone. At 4:10 Fish throws in a big time fill and it seems like the band will move into a different direction. They do not however, and stay right in the pocket that they have created.
At 4:34 Mike plays some crazy slap funk lines. Fish responds and starts picking up the pace. Trey feeling this pace change, starts to pick up his playing quite a bit. By the 4:50 mark Trey has started to really find himself. Gordon is slapping like a mad-man and the jam is really picking up. At 5:10 Page shoots some crazy effects out, then fades away a bit.
Mike’s Theme (5:50-8:55)
At 5:50 Mike plays a cool lick that Trey instantly latches on to. Mike plays it a couple of times then Trey starts to repeat it. Page takes the opportunity to branch off into some crazy sounds. Gordon pretty much stays with the same lick but adds some slapping funk to it as well. Mike moves around the bass line but never strays too far from it. It allows Trey to figure out his next move.
At 7:07 Trey decides to take the car out of the garage and start to get after it. Mike and Fish continue to lock down the beat. Page is all sorts of crazy and Trey is able to build off of the bass line. At 8:08 Mike just rips his bass to shreds. From there Mike starts to break away and hammer into the jam. From this point forward Mike really is the clear star.
At 8:30 Trey starts to play some really well thought out notes. They are short lived however, and he fades into a support role. This is my favorite section of this Ghost.
Got Cactus? (8:56-10:49)
By the 9:00 mark the band has moved away from the theme Gordon created in the previous section. This is more of a free flowing funk groove that is completely dominated by Mike. He takes hold and never looks back. He makes this jam his and everyone backs him up. Trey gets into a thick sound to provide some diversity to the massive slapping from Gordon.
Alien Invasion (10:50-13:15)
At 10:50 Trey starts to repeat a lick while Mike increases his tempo. It certainly seems like a massive build is coming. Nope. At 11:18 Page plays one of the weirdest sounds I have ever heard his rig create. He then really starts to unleash some alien sounds.
By 11:35 Trey responds to the space theme Page has thrown out, by taking things way out there. It definitely sounds like an alien invasion is going on at Star Lake. Fishman is crushing things as well, and his crazy fills intensify the invasion feeling. The crazy part to this thing, is Mike just continues to hammer away on the bass. He has not stopped this crazy slap, hammer, funk sound that he created. It is almost like he is saying “I got something going, you can do whatever you want, I am not going anywhere”. There is a very interesting dynamic to this jam.
The jam gets out there pretty far and although some cool sounds are created this section just doesn’t reach a certain level of greatness. I just never felt all four members were able to get on the same page.
As the jam starts to break down a bit, you can hear Trey first start to infuse Izabella at the 13:15 mark. It starts great, the jam wasn’t really going anywhere and Trey brings it along slow. It sounds fantastic until about the 13:36 mark where it gets pretty ugly. Not the smoothest segue by far. At 13:48 Fish just grabs the mess and eventually gets the band on track. Although it wasn’t the greatest segue, Izabella is fantastic choice to rock in the second set after the crazy alien invasion. This version of Izabella is ripping by the way…
A short Ghost, clocking in around thirteen and a half minutes, for this time period. This Ghost has some issues. After a great version at Alpine this one falls a bit flat. It never reaches that next level where you are really blown away. Trey and Page really do not have their best performances. I do like the “Mike’s Theme” section. Fishman is very solid throughout and shines brightly at certain moments. Mike is a true beast in this version and really, really knocks it out of the park. He might have been such a beast but it was difficult for everyone else to find enough space. Still a pretty good Ghost, just compared with some of the other Summer 97 Ghosts, it doesn’t stack up.