The Daily Ghost

The Daily Ghost #112 12/31/2012 Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

Originally posted on 2013/01/07
Background (Ghost Position: Set 2 of 3 – Song 2 of 8)

Three months after a phenomenal second set at Dick’s, which featured Ghost, the song comes to MSG to close out the new year.  It is positioned right in the heart of the New Year’s Eve show, at the beginning of the second set.  The nice segue into Piper is included.

Composed Section (0:00-3:30)

A cold open, and then Trey starts to play the beginning notes to Ghost.  Trey plays by himself for a bit before Mike and Fish join in.  The vocals are pretty solid and Trey sounds confident.  A solid tempo for this Ghost as well.

The solo section gets a bit of the funk from Page, then gets a dose of Mike’s newly explained bass rig.  Solid, but nothing mind blowing.

Trey lets a note ring out during the pause which is pretty short.  The drop is not half bad.  After a few months of not playing together I was happy with the drop in effort.

NYC stands for New York Crunch (3:31-6:27)

Mike lays down a smooth rhythm right away.  Trey starts to lead out in front while Page adds some crunch to the beginning of this jam.  Just as it starts to look like Trey is going to take the reigns, the band starts to settle into a groove.

Page is getting super funky while Mike moves smoothly in this opening section.  At 4:15, Trey starts to move backwards becoming more in tune with the band.  Trey plays a super cool lick and allows Mike and Page to drive the jam for a bit.  By doing this the band finds a nice little groove pocket.

As the groove pocket forms, Trey is able to find a spot to get creative.  At 4:48, Trey starts to move back towards the front of this jam.  His notes have more clarity and power, now that he has taken a step back and picked his spot.

Cactus is really on top of his game.  As he hears Trey play any note that has some length to it, he moves in and pounces with a bunch of notes.  In a way, he drives the opening part of this jam, while still seeming like he is in the background.  He is so amazing at doing this.

Page gives great texture to this jam with the thick crunch he lays down through Mike’s smooth moving bass line.  Then a funny thing happens, Page must have known TDG was in the house as moves to the piano.  Page on piano during Ghost on NYE?  Better than kissing Kate Upton at midnight?  Maybe so, maybe not…

Garden Page (6:28-9:11)

The beautiful sounds of Page’s Piano make an awesome entrance at 6:28.  He plays a gorgeous run which is then followed by some sweet soul moving melodies.  I am officially smiling while writing this review.  I am completely exhausted while writing this tonight, but Page’s Piano has hit me like a 5 hour energy drink.

Page begins to drive this jam into a smooth jazzy section.  Trey and Mike begin to repeat some runs so that Page has full room to lead.  Brilliant stuff. Fishman has found a super cool beat as well.

@VentiBlues and Me after the second set..and Ghost! Huge thanks to my Secret Santa with the awesome shirt! Photo Credit: @ashstarr88

Then at 7:28….BEOWWWWWWW.  Bass Bomb from Mike.  This man is such a genius.  He is floating along with some bliss Page, then somehow fits a bass bomb into this jam.  AND IT WORKS!  Mike Gordon is a mad scientist of awesomeness.

This bliss section is 2012 patient Phish to a T.  Page is providing a melodic direction, some minimal soloing by Trey, and there is fantastic rhythm from Mike and Fish at this point.

I just float away from life on a cloud of happiness during this section.  The balance is tremendous by all four band members.  They are locked in and the four sounds they are putting out sounds like one idea.  This is the power of the Phish we are currently experiencing.  When they lock in like this in 2012, my ear just moves back and forth.  I find myself so impressed with how easily I hear every band member and how much they each bring to the table.

9:00 in and Page starts to play fantastic chords that provide a great leaping point for Trey.  Trey reads this and moves us to the close of this Ghost.

The Noooooooooooote Ending (9:12-12:15)

Trey starts to play a beautiful flying like melody that moves wonderfully with the jam.  Not only does it move the jam forward but the space it creates for everyone else is fantastic.  Mike hammers in behind him with authority and Page really nails home some great chords.  Fish finds his spot with a really creative beat that fits perfectly.

Absolutely gorgeous playing from the band as a whole.  Everyone is moving this jam equally.  The work is being done by all four, and man does it make the jam smooth.  Trey solos a bit at around 10:30 and it fits tremendously within the framework of the jam.  No ego play from Big Red here.  Then…

Instead of a fire breathing solo from Trey…he does something different.  At 10:48 Trey plays a Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooote!

Trey holds a note that is much more typical of Slave jams.  I LOVE this here!  As he holds it, the beauty from Page, Mike, and Fish comes shinning through so brightly.  BRILLIANT!  The jam was built by everyone and Trey lets the band end it together.  He holds that note for about 30 seconds.  Heck the UIC ’11 Ghost last year was barely 30 seconds!

Trey enters back into the jam as Fish drops the floor and a blissful outro takes place.  Trey and Mike have a heavenly conversation back and forth as Page gives some added thoughts.

As Mike starts to really get into this outro, Trey plays Piper over the top of him.  At 12:12, he comes in a bit awkward before pulling back.  Trey will not be denied moving to Piper.  At 12:15, Trey plays Piper again and this time they move with him.

Although you can see Ghost might have gone longer if up to Mike, the following Piper was pretty awesome.

Final Thoughts

This Ghost is extremely well played and unique.  The full band balance and the collective thought process of the band is my highlight.  The entire jam moves so fluid and everyone works so well together.  This is what has me loving the current state of Phish and incredibly excited for 2013.  The balance of all four members is as good as it has ever been.  Mike, Page, and Fish are so incredibly strong, it is no longer just the Trey Anastasio show.  Phish is moving in and out of different themes, and different people are stepping up at different times, all without skipping a beat.  It is a awesome time to be Phish fan.  I can’t wait for 2013 Phish and Ghosts!

Oh, and the Nooooooooooooooote was awesome!  LawnMemo claps for Trey!

Score: 8.7

Programming Note: The Daily Ghost will return in full on 1/14/2012.  I am out of town for the funeral of my great aunt.  She was an amazing lady and passed at 93.  Her husband is 99 and still dances!  They were married 71 years and were more in love the day she passed then when they first met.  Amazing couple, and she lived an amazing life.

Best wishes to all of you and the insane amount of kinds words I received in NYC.  I love you all.