Background (Set: 1 of 2 – Song: 5 of 8 – Show Gap: 7)
Almost a month after the Radio City offering, Ghost moves into the first set in Japan. No segues before or after.
From @caravan2001 “I can tell u Big Cat was a medium sized bar with a stage in the back and they hosted a lot of international acts. I still have the Tshirt. it was in the “hip” part of town and the whole time (there was re-entry) Japanese kids were cruising their low rider cars up and down the street outside.”
Also @MrMiner review of this beauty
Composed Section (0:00-4:20)
Instead of opening with loops like we have been accustomed to, Trey instead drops missiles onto the audience (no pun intended due to location). The missiles begin to turn into loops as Mike and Fish enter. A nice solid pace to this intro gives this Ghost plenty of life.
The solo section carries the smooth tempo and gets a nice heavy dose of Mike funk, to compliment a bit of crunch from Page. An average length pause allows a few Trey loops to circle the venue. The drop is another great one. Phish is officially in the “Ghost Zone”.
Blissful Magic from the Start (4:21-7:26)
Just like at Radio City, Mike takes this jam by the balls. He grabs hold and begins to take lead. As I stated in the previous review, the Radio City Ghost was a turning point for Mike dominated versions. Cactus from this point forward is often the focal point. Led by the outstanding creativity from Mike Gordon, this jam wastes no time in finding an incredible space.
Page moves elegantly around Mike’s powerful bass with ease. Right from the beginning, Page finds soul moving melodies. The interplay between the two is outstanding. Man for some reason, these Japan jams! What is in the saki!
At the 5:00 mark, if you listen closely you can hear a Tie Fighter being shot down and crashing into a planet. Nice shot Red 2! Beyond cool.
If Radio City’s combo of Mike and Page was an ice cream sundae, 4:25-6:00 of Osaka is melted butter on a warm blueberry muffin in the morning. I guess I could have went with something easy like Peanut Butter and Jelly but we take our food analogies serious here at The Daily Ghost. Another… Gorgonzola, Bacon, Peppercorn crust on a filet. Yeah, that just happened!
The jam hits another one of my favorite sections right from the beginning. It is so difficult for me to write about something so well played. It’s like Mike and Page have rehearsed that section for years and played nothing else. The power of Mike, and the beauty of Page. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is magic.
A touch before the 6:00 mark, we start to hear signs of Trey’s guitar. He works it in with ease, being careful not to startle the delicate balance already around him. Then there are some effects from Trey at the 6:29 mark, as Mike changes the beat up a bit.
As Mike explores just a little bit, he comes back with incredible skill at the 6:43 mark. STUNNING melodies from Cactus is all I can say. I feel paralyzed listening to those tones. I feel like I am Simon Birch and he is Andre the Giant. I am just stunned by the shear size of his presence.
At 6:55, Trey really starts to blend himself into this magical groove Mike has created. As was the case in Radio City, he is patient and works within the confines of the groove. As much as I love the Mike and Page section from before, the introduction of Trey adds even more. (Upon proofreading this, I realized that rhymed…BONUS!)
Building the Heavens (7:27-11:06)
As Trey works himself in more and more with this section, Mike pivots and picks up the tempo at the 7:27 mark. Fish has changed the beat ever so slightly just before that. This though, is the Mike Gordon show. When he moves the pace with that quicker lick, this jam can only go one direction….
Fish and Mike begin to build this jam with ease. It has moved beautifully from the blissful groove we have started with. Trey has found himself into this melting pot wonderfully.
At the 8:00 mark, Page moves back to the piano. Then starting at 8:07, he unleashes sounds that wake up the dead. You have heard of The Walking Dead, Page McConnell wrote The Waking Dead with his piano. I can’t tell if that was really funny, or one of the worst jokes I have ever made.
When Page mixes that piano with the mind blowing melodies of Mike, Trey, and Fish, it is truly incredible. I have no idea what to do. Actually, yes I do! I just took my pants off. Why did I do that? Because that is what I do when I get this excited, I take my pants off.
8:08-9:24 just mystifies me. They are able to build this jam while creating bliss. I want to float away into the clouds yet my naked feet can’t wait to dance up a storm. I am halfway floating in air while still preparing for myself to be blown away with a raging peak. The interplay between band members is outstanding. It is so good it feels like it could have been composed. No band has four members that can play four distinctive parts like Phish in this section and have it create one sound.
At 9:25, Fish works some high hat into this and the build really starts to take over. Page plays more incredible melodies that make me want to expand my man crush on him. Trey soon follows with some well timed licks that continue to create happiness in my ears. Mike is still well in command working underneath the build but still guiding the direction.
After Trey holds a note at the 10:10 mark, things die down just a touch. Page then begins to hold some chords on the organ and Fish moves almost completely into the high hat. Listen closely to Page at the 10:49 mark. He finds a melody that will soon become the next section of this jam. Trey takes it and runs with it…and I run to get my dancing helmet!!!
LM’s Naked Japanese Helmet Dance Party (11:03-12:47)
That is right. Page started this idea and Trey ran with it. I bring that up as another example of the fact that Page McConnell is cooler than Zach Morris in his prime. In all fairness, Trey works that theme in brilliantly. He is beyond patient with it and works it every so slowly. I LOVE this lick! Some great Fish work in this section is vital as well.
I am so glad I took my pants off. I am sweating from the solo dance party I am rocking. Did I ever tell you my nickname in college was “The tripod”? Dancing, and typing is not easy. Sometimes I have no control over what happens though. If Phish lays it down, I have to get down. I just did this
(Credit to @corbindallas41 on twitter for this gem)
I just love how the patience of this makes it so much stronger. Measure after measure it gets louder and with more force behind it. Phish on top of their game.
The Express Lift (12:48-18:08)
I love to ski and this section reminds me of an express lift. If you happen to not ski (shame on you), an express lift is one that moves WAY faster than the normal slow lifts. As much fun as skiing down a mountain is, when you are at a beautiful mountain, going up, and taking in the nature can be breathtaking.
Starting at 12:48, Trey begins to repeat a higher pitched lick. It is a fast paced lick that is the basis for my express lift analogy. Mike counters this with a thunderous bass that balances things beautifully. Meanwhile, Fish is the engine that is powering this lift. He shines on this mountain ride. This spectacular view is not possible without him.
At 14:01, Fish drops one of my favorite fills he has ever played. IT IS A MONSTER, right in the middle of this breathtaking journey. Jump on this express lift, we have room for everyone. We have Fishman providing nuclear power to get us there! The crowd goes nuts after that fill with good reason!
Trey continues to work that gorgeous lick with hints of variation. Mike continues his tremendous playing, working up and down every note on his bass. This is as good as it gets folks! You are in the Hose!
This climb is very “Went Gin” like. Just breathtaking music that…yup at 14:57 makes the crowd go insane. If this doesn’t make you move, nothing else will. I just put my pants back on for the pure respect I have for this jam! In fact I just put on a three piece suit and made myself a Vodka Martini. This jam is classy, I need to up my game.
So you thought this express lift was bringing us to the top of the mountain. Think again! At the top of our destination we find Trey Anastasio and company with giant fire hoses blasting us in the face. I like a good face-melting sure, I love a good hose to the face. (Again, no pun intended, that sounded bad).
At 15:30 the crowd continues to go ballistic and Fishman summons the power of 40 drummers. He is officially playing about 5,000 different things at once. I can’t ever imagine being able to think about what he just did there, let alone try and play it. There should be a level on Rock Band called Jon Fishman during peaks…Instant fail.
Trey’s playing is impeccable. Every note fits perfectly after the previous one. This sound he creates is so uniquely Trey. NOBODY else sounds like this. His tone and balance in this hose is why we all believe he could open a portal to a different dimension.
By the 17:00 mark, any chance I had of trying to break this down more is done. My mind has exploded from happiness, excitement, dancing, and happiness and excitement and dancing some more. Whoa easy there brain. What really sucks is that it just blew up over my nice suit. Oh well that hose was worth it.
To cap things off, Phish returns to the Ghost theme at the end. One of my favorite things they do. Mike works it in brilliantly and it puts the perfect cap on an incredible jam.
Want to talk about an incredible run of Ghosts? You are right in the middle of them. By far one of the most underrated versions of all time, Osaka Ghost is a near perfect jam. Starting out with delicate balance, it moves into a dance party, that explodes into a true hose jam. The flow from section to section is as good as any. Not many Ghosts better than this. You can easily make a case for this to be as good as any other. Incredible Ghost
I am doing my best with these scores but so many are so good. I will tidy up and rank them all when The Daily Ghost finishes. Giving a score is hard, when your mind is blown.