25 in 25 of 2016: #21 Oak Ridge Farm, Arrington, VA (Dianna Hank, @Dianna_2ns)
This is the 5th consecutive review I’ve done for my dear friend LawnMemo’s annual countdown-to-tour recap of last summer’s jams. This year, instead of choosing a jam from a show I attended, I chose one from a show I couchtour’d. Why, you ask? Well, for one, Eamonn Kress (@i_shred_pow) claimed the Gorge 1 Set 2 jamfest I was hoping to gush over. But mostly, because the Lockn’ “Ghost” jam contains 6 absolutely glorious minutes (~5:11-12:12) of my favorite jamming in the history of Phish. The Lockn’ “Ghost” jam is indisputably the thing I revisit most from last summer & easily in my top 5 favorite musical moments of 3.0, maybe ever… I’ve listened to an hour-long loop of it (on more than one occasion, mind you…) & still have yet to tire from it. So let’s talk about it!
The show starts off with “Wilson,” a solid choice to open a festival set which is followed by “Down With Disease,” a very interesting placement for that tune. While both are slightly borked, I always appreciate them moving “DWD” to anywhere other than the set 2 opener slot & they get some nice stuff done in a short amount of time. “Free” comes next along with the always-welcome, funky-get-down-starter “Wolfman’s Brother.” The funk continues with “Tube” but as is so often the case, it’s gone too soon, making way for a better-than-average-although-still-wish-it-was-the-Tube-jam-instead-of-this-song-again “555.” “It’s Ice” gets the crowd cheering followed by a seemingly-set-ending “Wingsuit.” However, the extra, surprise “Simple” that explodes out of the post-drill silence makes me smile from ear to ear & has a very decent jam until it fizzles out and dissolves, somewhat anticlimactically. The awesome & always hilarious a capella cover of Bowie’s “Space Oddity” closes the set.
Set 2 starts in one of my all-time favorite ways: with “Punch You in the Eye.” There are few songs that can really bring the energy right out of the gate like Punch can.
Despite a few mishaps, it’s relatively well-played & segues gracefully into “Blaze On” which has a delightful ethereal jam. Mike is dropping bombs & we enter a blissful, spacey territory. After a scary “Wading” fake out, “Fuego” brings the heat and then segues nicely into the star of this show: “Ghost.”
“Ghost” starts out normally enough with a decent drop. Page is doing some funky stuff on clav & toying around with some melodies around 3:43 while Trey dials in, playing well off of Page. At 4:25, Page returns to the same melody as before and at 4:40, Trey turns on the space funk effects. You can hear the band really coming together slowly but surely, and at 5:12, we have liftoff!
Mike is in on it & the four of them have synced up so beautifully. It sounds as if Trey has a plan for what’s about to happen… Big Red wanders around a little until 6:06 when the earworm-iest little jam segment begins. I wake up with this portion of the jam stuck in my head, and I’m not mad about it! It’s blissful & lovely. Trey & Mike are grooving off each other, with Fish keeping the pace of this glorious little groove. At 7:03, Trey starts playing something that gives me the same feels that “The Holy Ghost” does. I don’t have the technical lingo for it, so let’s just say it all gets happier & brighter from here on out. They’re all building together so gorgeously.
The first bout of goosebumps comes on at 7:25 when Trey starts this little melody. Then, at 7:40, the whole band connects & hits it again in a serious way. At this point, I’m shaking my head, unable to believe what is going down right now.
We are soaring. So ridiculously beautiful. At 8:22, Trey kicks in and starts to push this jam to new, rocking heights. At 8:36, I decide that I forgive Trey for all the flubs he made earlier in the show because this is the best thing I’ve heard him do in a LONG time. At 9:18, Trey decides to employ what I refer to as “widdlies” & Fish keeps driving this jam at a seriously aggressive pace. By 10:04, it sounds as if they are about to wrap things up. Things come down a bit & everyone begins to settle in slightly. But wait… THERE’S MORE!
10:32. Holy Hell. Mike Gordon. Trey Anastasio. A match made in heaven. Trey hits these SOARING high notes while Mike is dropping these bass BOMBS. Everyone is vibrating with love & light. This shit is the real deal. Goosebumps EVERYWHERE. I can’t with this. More bass bombs. More Trey high notes. This is why I see Phish.
By 11:36, we begin our descent back to the Earth’s surface, with Trey acting as if what he just did was nothing out of the ordinary. Like our hearts didn’t all just explode out of our chests & shivers run down our spines several times, as our faces began to hurt from smiling so much. And just like that, at 12:12, we’re back to the same ol’ Trey, making the crowd “WOO” like it’s the most fun thing a guitarist could ever do with an audience. I’m just now having the realization that both this jam & the Tahoe Tweezer contain “WOO” segments. Do with that what you will…
Out of the WOOs, the band segues decently into “Bathtub Gin.” While it seems hard to follow that insane “Ghost” jam, this somewhat rare 2nd set Gin gets nice & weird & funky. We enter dark space for a bit, Trey gives us some more of those soaring notes, there’s a nice full band build & more of those “widdlies” I was talking about earlier. And then, Trey shows that he is indeed just a mere mortal once again by forcing “Backwards Down The Number Line” out of the Gin. Even Trey himself knows how awful that segue was because he sounds like he is either hysterically laughing or actually throwing up during the “Happy happy, ALL my friends…” intro lyrics. It’s amazing. Go listen to it.
They close the set with “YEM” so everyone is happy again & close the show with “Character Zero” so that all the festival-goers who had no idea WTF was going over the course of the last couple of hours could chant along with their friends & have a good time. Everyone wins.
But seriously, go listen to this “Ghost” jam immediately. And then do it again. It’ll make your Monday significantly better. I promise you. In fact, just put on this hour-long loop. Trust me. You won’t regret it:
Dianna talks incessantly about Phish & her cat Magnolia over at @Dianna_2Ns on Twitter. (You can also follow her cat on Instagram if you’re into that sort of thing…) She is a Brooklynite who will be attending all 13 Baker’s Dozen shows & is pumped to see what The Phish from Vermont bring to the Garden this summer. She hopes they don’t play any repeats but knows that is not likely. Honestly, she’s just really looking forward to hearing “Sing Monica” again so that she can dance around giddily while the rest of you sulk. She’s also excited for her 1st trip out to Red Rocks this summer for JRADick’s! Her favorite “Ghost” might actually be this one? This jam reminds her of The Went “Gin.” Is that blasphemous to say? Don’t care. Said it. Ok, that’s all for now. See ya out there, phanners!
Editor’s Note from LawnMemo: Dianna makes sweeping generalizations, and this is blasphemous.