Background (Ghost Position: Set 1 – Song 5 of 8)
It takes until the fourth show on US soil for Ghost to creep into a Phish setlist. It makes it’s triumphant return in the middle of the first set. This is a beauty..
Composed Section (0:00-4:28)
Trey deploys some loops that signal the rising of the Ghost. Fish and Gordon start building the intro, and a nice slow place takes hold. At 1:24, the lyrics start and it is a bit of a rough beginning. You can tell the crowd is realizing this is Ghost by the late cheer. Remember, this is the first new style Ghost played on US Soil.
The early part of the solo section is reminiscent of the Story of the Ghost album version. Instead of Page taking things over, it is a much more balanced attack. An extremely long pause, and yet another botched drop in. Not nearly as bad as Barcelona, but not crisp by any means.
Page>Mike and the Start of the Mike’s Ghost Groove (4:29-7:01)
Mike carries the Ghost theme bass line into the jam. Page begins to blend his piano with Fishman’s cymbal work.
At the 5:00 mark, everyone starts to back away a bit and Page takes the lead. He begins to play a jazzy style of piano and this jam is already going in a super cool direction. Gordon counters Page with a deeply powerful bass sound.
At the 5:56 mark, things start to back away and allow Mike to be the focus. This section ushers in a style of Ghost that we will start to see a lot of. Mike’s powerful grooved bass is the glue of this jam. Each note is extremely powerful, and gets me up and dancing 100%. Trey blends some great funk riffs, and you can just feel that this is going to be a big bad ass Ghost.
Let’s get this party started! (7:02-10:30)
At the 7:03 mark, Trey plays an awesome lick that he repeats a couple of times. You can tell the tides are about to change. Then at 7:25, Trey plays a funk riff, Fish jumps on and the jam begins to really start moving. The beat has some of the disco style to it, but also has some deep funk roots. This section is about to get super cool…
At the 7:50 mark, Trey starts another great lick and Page soon jumps in with Trey. At the 8:10 Page hits the piano and awayyyyyyyy we go! Woooo! I am in full on dance mode. This is the way I like my Ghosts! Page and Trey go back and forth like a politician (credit @emil). I can’t stop dancing, can’t stop appreciating, and can’t stop rewinding to hear this part again! When they lock in like this, my ears crave more…
This jazzy, funk segment is what the LawnMemo is all about. It uniquely excites parts of my body, and brain cells that other music just doesn’t. Certain sections of certain Ghosts make me drift far away and think of some crazy imagery. This section just makes me want to crank the volume as high as it goes, and shake like I am having a seizure.
At the 9:55 mark, Fish picks up the pace even more, and Trey starts to take more of the control. I should certainly point out that Mike and Fish have really crafted a great groove in this section. Always remember, if one band member is free to go exploring, it is usually because Fish and sometimes Mike are giving them the freedom.
Take me to the Funkytown Build! (10:31-13:40)
Trey plays an ultra funk lick at the 10:30 mark, while Page digs way deep into the clav. The crowd responds as this jam breaks down into some serious funk territory. This is some hot stuff! Trey does some great light soloing around the think funk being spewed by Page’s clav.
At 11:15, Page finds the piano for a couple of seconds, then starts to alternate back and forth between the piano and clav. Mike and Fish continue to lock down the groove, and more magic from Trey and Page is created.
Neither Trey nor Page overstep the space created for them. The balance is fantastic, and by about the 12:30 mark everyone is really locked in. Fishman and Mike are really starting to stray, and the balance between all four band members is really great. These sections make my mind drift away and my ears move all around the stage. I think to myself ”Damn Page is killing it! Wait, so is Fish, Wait, so is Trey, Fuck so is Mike! They are all killing it!! I LOVE PHISH!”
So just when I started complementing the band for being locked in around the 12:30 mark, I had to stop and realize I was in the middle of a full band build! I am getting down, then suddenly I look around and notice a full band peak is coming…Talk about great flow from section to section..WTF is happening right now! I don’t know….but I like it!
Things really start to build at 13:20 when Page repeats a melody and then Trey starts to repeat a couple of notes..
WHAM! Full Band Peak! (13:42-17:25)
Make no mistake, this peak is not Prague. This peak is way different, as it is a full band powerhouse. Trey signals it with a rocking note and everything just rocks out hard from there. Page is hammering down on the piano, Mike’s bass is running like a sprinter, and Fish is filling the room with sounds. Of course Trey is ripping Shoreline a new one, but it is very controlled ripping. It blends so perfect with the enormous sound coming from everyone else. They all blend together to create one awesome sound.
I started to forget where the heck I was and that I was not at a professional dance contestant. Fish starts to remind me at the 14:57 mark by telling me “I feel I’ve never told you, the Story of the Ghost!”. I love the Fishman singing there, it fits so perfectly in that full band build. Fantastic stuff!
The jam continues to really move until about the 16:25 mark, where the jam starts to slow down. At about 16:37, it sounds like Trey wants to go into “Simple”. Instead the jam slowly fades out.
I am a big fan of Shoreline ’98 Ghost. Great playing by Trey and Page, that builds so smoothly into a full band peak. Another great version that is so fluid. One section moves so effortlessly to the next and the energy is evident throughout. What a fantastic first Ghost in the Summer ’98 Tour.