Background (Ghost Position: Set 1 of 2 – Song 7 of 9)
My only trip to see Phish in Canada was at this show. I remember that customs searched EVERYONE’s car. If you had a beard, you got searched. Needless to say…we got searched because my buddy was rocking a serious beard at the time. Ghost is played towards the end of the first set which ends with a bang. Ghost,Wilson>YEM to end the set. The YEM is outstanding as well. No segues with this clip. Get Ready!
Composed Section (0:00-4:24)
Some organ from Page gets us started, followed by some Trey loops. Fish and Mike enter about 30 seconds in, with Fishman particularly loud. A nice laid back pace during this section. They get right into the vocals and Trey enters nicely.
Page gets down in the solo section, Mike is hammering away with a ton of force. Page and Mike then go back and forth and really rock away. Great solo section. The pause includes some loops from Trey, and some cymbals from Fish.
Then the drop in….WOW. That was plain and simple the worst yet. Did they even try? It is so bad Trey even says “Ahhhh!”. Shake it off everyone, this is a hiccup on the road to awesomeness. A giant ugly hiccup though. The jam makes up for it….Let’s talk about that!
The Storm Trooper Death March Groove (4:25-10:21)
The short intro allows the composed section to clock in at a tidy 4:24. More room for jamming! A touch of sectioned off jamming to start…but then…Mike Gordon takes over.
At 4:39, he starts to play a lick that makes me think of an enormous army marching. Not any army, the baddest ass army ever. I am thinking legions of legions of Storm Troopers, only if they could actually shoot. Hmm that might not be good enough. How about legions of Storm Troopers if they were cloned from Chuck Norris? Gordon grabs a hold of this jam with that lick, and he never lets go.
I am going to say it early, so that you think of it when you listen to this Ghost. A lot of you are probably familiar with Radio City Ghost 5/22/00. You can hear the ground work being laid by Mike here. That ultra heavy bass tone marching beat that drives the jam.
With Fish locking down the beat early, and Mike dominating using that heavy beat, Trey compliments this jam beautifully. Trey’s play is calculated and precise. He chooses few notes to play, but each one rings more and more true. I love his playing in this opening section! Sometimes saying only a little, says so much! (Or as Big Ern Mccraken says “If you give a little, you can get back a whole lot more”.)
I am already having a hard time finishing this review! I can’t stop rewinding and fully taking in every note. The conversation between Mike and Trey is simply beautiful. Not only does Mike crush this bass lick, he begins to add to it.
As if I wasn’t being moved enough already…As if I wasn’t dancing in my review chair enough…Page McConnell decides to join the party. His piano makes an entrance at the 5:46 mark. Talk about texture! We have Mike’s Storm Trooper Death March, Trey’s soaring rocket ship, now Page’s heavenly raindrops. Page moves my soul yet one more time. The chairman finds the balance between Mike and Trey and moves right into the middle.
This section really does it for me. The bass gives my body a track to dance to. I dance and move with each Cactus note. Then my ears get pulled in by Trey. Finally, those beautiful piano melodies from Page move my soul. I start dancing and grooving to Trey and Page’s melodies, then I get slapped in the face with the force of Mike’s bass. This is exactly what I am talking about in regards to Type 2 magic.
I shouldn’t be forgetting Fishman here. Fish the metronome allows the magic to take place. The man finds this beat right away, grabs it and never looks back. He is the gasoline that powers this hot-rod.
I have talked about this beginning jam as being the groove section before. I take that all back. THIS is the groove. If you are not getting down and full out dancing, you need to check your pulse.
Well if your pulse wasn’t racing try this…At 8:48 Page starts to get funky on the keys. My assistant just grabbed my straight jacket. This jam is a danger to myself. I am going to have to start putting padding up around The Daily Ghost room. My next house will have a room just for reviewing.
We go from the funk, back to the groove, as Cactus continues to slap the hell out this jam. Every time my mind starts to drift he drops an insanely deep note that punches me in the face. Wherever Cactus found that bass line, please go back to that spot and pick up some more!
What a groove! Six minutes of me tearing up this room. Not sure there is very much carpet left. Wait…there is more???
The Build (10:22-13:30)
The jam switches gears a bit at the 10:22 mark, and Fish starts some nice high-hat work. Trey moves out in front and starts to give some beautiful guidance to this section. Trey plays some nice building licks while Gordon continues to be on top of his game.
At 11:47, Mike drops another brilliant power bass line. He continues to kick the crap out of me. So awesome! Page counters with some kick ass piano chords and then….
The fire department just showed up. The hose is here ladies and gentlemen. What does the hose sound like? Trey starts to speed repeat a lick at 12:09 and the crowd goes crazy! Hose’d.
The band couldn’t be more locked in. Everyone is really holding up their end in this entire jam. This is a balanced destruction. At 12:48 Page starts to created some really awesome background soundscapes. It sounds like the chairman almost has a xylophone. Then the real build starts.
Trey and Fish build things up one last time. What have we been marching towards? Time to find out…
The Emperor Peak (13:31-16:27)
Trey lets a nice solo rip and it sounds like he is going to take control. Just one problem. MIKE GORDON says THIS IS MY HOUSE. Cactus slams an incredibly powerful line at 13:51. It completely takes this peak next level. These lowly Storm Troopers have just been replaced by Emperor Palpatine. The Emperor is pissed. Lighting bolts, force chokes, light saber throws, general disregard for the human race comes ripping from Mike’s bass. WTF got into Mike!
The rest of the band is no joke either. They begin to kick some serious ass when Mike’s Emperor bass line kicks in. Fishman is trying to be the Death Star to his drum kit. He beats the living crap out of it!
Page is in the background ripping chord after chord. He gives such an awesome balance to this insanity. I don’t know how he kept up and how he provided such a great addition to this peak. He is the man!
So that leaves Trey. When Gordon starts the initial push, Trey’s ego must get the best of him. He switches guitars and once again picks up the flame thrower. Mike has brought out the best in him. Mike drops an awesome building bass line at 14:19. Then the fire is truly unleashed from Trey. If you came to this show looking for a fire prevention safety course, you came to the wrong place.
Mike just lays into that incredibly powerful lick even harder. I am done. I have nothing else to write. This is a full band onslaught. I just sit and smile every time I hear this peak. This is what life is all about. THESE MOMENTS!
At about 15:24, the jam finally starts to slow down a bit. I think Toronto ran out of oxygen. I once read Toronto was one of the cleanest cities in the world. After that peak, I doubt it. Everyone in attendance just crapped their pants.
Simply Put, one of my favorite Ghosts. The groove is beautifully balanced, and the band is wonderfully locked in. The peak just hits another level. It is full band fire instead of just the usual Trey Anastasio show. Mike Gordon is an absolute rock star during this Ghost. This Ghost has everything I look for.
Side Note: The YEM from this show is also excellent, and it features the debut of Misty Mountain Hop. When I went to this show, I was really getting into Led Zeppelin. When that dropped, I started sprinting around the lawn. Few things have ever made me that excited. One of my many Phish memories.
The Daily Ghost will be going on a short hiatus from now until most likely January 3rd 2013. Everyone have a wonderful holiday season, and an even better NYEMSG run. Thank you to everyone for your support through these first 50 Ghosts. I will be at all four nights, I hope to meet many of you. If you see a guy wearing a helmet at the show, it is probably me. I take my Phish seriously.