The Daily Ghost

The Daily Ghost #135 07/28/2015 Austin 360 Amphitheater, Del Valle, TX

Background (Set: 2 of 2 – Song: 4 of 12 – Show Gap: 4)

After the tame first “Ghost” offering in 2015, this version gets a shot situation after a cool “46 Days->The Dogs->46 Days>Piper” to open the second set. After a song-heavy first set, this “Ghost” provided the improv for this Austin show.

Composed Section (0:00-3:30)

A cool segue from “Piper” led up to a slow-paced, thunderous tempo to open “Ghost”. It’s matter and fact, but inside the box. The composed section is more of the same. A little clav, a little bass, a little Trey. Nothing fancy here, but not a trainwreck either. The lead in goes smooth and the drop gets an extra beat, but it’s decent overall.

The composed section is about as workmanlike as it gets.

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A Complex Section Makes Your Mind Drift and Think About Simple Things, Peace and Harmony (3:30-7:44)

The jam starts out with the traditional jump off. The jam carries the “Ghost” drop for almost a minute before anything takes shape.

Things get interesting at about 4:20 (I’ve certainly said that before!). The jam breaks down and some atypical rhythmic stuff materializes. I like this section; not anything that is going to be talked about years later, but it’s a nice showcase of the complexity of Phish jams.

Each band member goes down a different path, yet somehow it all works. Trey’s somewhere between rhythm and lead. It’s not his usual style. So yeah, my ears are perked up. This jam gets out of the box quickly after 4:20, and this is some cool mid-second set stuff. I like weird and different.

Things just keep getting more out there and weirder. As the local saying goes, “Keep Austin weird!” There is beauty in this weird. It’s like when your buddy shows up wearing a jean jacket, then tells you he’s going to ask out the hottest chick he knows. It’s like when you make a sandwich, but smart enough to talk yourself out of putting sour cream on it.

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I love this unique this jam and how Phish thoroughly explored this space. Sometimes Phish can move too quickly, but in this case a patient Phish sits down here and sees what can develop.

This is one of those jams where my mind just drifts away. I start to think about the most random stuff. Those moments can be some of my favorite times at a show. It’s a feeling of making inner peace with everything going on in your life.

Oftentimes, I find gratitude and love. Other times, I think about if I have enough hard drive space.

New exercise. I’m going to hit play on this section and give you an idea what it’s like to be LawnMemo deep in thought for 5 minutes, un-edited and with my eyes closed.

I like Trey’s sound… I like Page’s piano… I think the Lipitor I’m taking might be helping… Hoodies are so comfortable… Page is good… I’ve never been to Austin… Is Fishman an alien?… I like how my shaved head feels with headphones… Not wearing underwear is the best… I once had a car catch on fire in a parking lot… I hope they play “Slave to the Traffic Light”… I really miss hugs… I wonder if anyone wore a helmet to this show?… Helmets change lives… I have to be an editor’s nightmare (Editor’s note from Pauly: Indeed!)

So, yeah. You certainly see a lot of these types of jams in 1999-2000. but they are much more rare this era.

I don’t have a super detailed breakdown of each band member for this section. Everytime I rewind my mind drifts. I know it was incredibly hot in Austin that day in late July, and this type of jam makes you want to sway and take inventory of your love for music.

Ride the Wave of Peace and Harmony to Holy Crap Where Did This Gnarly Wave Come From?! (7:45-11:29)

Trey does a quick trill at 7:45. You can feel the mood shift and the tempo pick up ever so slightly.

What happens next is something that I love. Phish uses all the built-up, potential energy in the previous section. I love the smoothness of the transition. It’s not a jarring move toward a peak like it sometimes can be. Instead, it’s methodical. Bar by bar you can feel it. Oh man, I love this! It feels like an extension of the first section just sped up. The reason? Your boy, Jon Fishman. Nobody else has feel like that.

And because it’s so smooth, all of the sudden at 9:38 you are at the build/peak all in one. How did this happen?!?!?! This went from 6 to Midnight REAL QUICK.

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My goodness this is some feel good stuff! Trey is fully attacking. Page is raging the baby grand and Mike and Fish are laying it down. LETS GO!!!!!

I was laying back just defending the jab, and a left cross just drilled me. I was not expecting this.

Then something even cooler happens.

Trey lays down a sustain at 10:08 and holds that sucker. Then, Trey starts playing underneath it!!!! You have to listen closely at first before he gets more pronounced. This is AWESOME!!!!!!!! He’s even got like a country twang going at 10:24, before a tonal shift at 10:29 for some soloing.

As usual during a sustain, the rest of the band is fucking THROWING down.

That sustain lasts 10:08-10:45. Trey does some more solo work before the jam starts to fizzle out. From there, the jam moves into an outro before segueing into “Shade”.

Damn, that peak was great!

Final Thoughts

This Austin show is one of the worst rated shows in recent history. I remembered the “46 Days->The Dogs->46 Days”, but not much about the “Ghost” upon the initial listening. I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed this version quite a bit. The first jam section is unique and exploratory. It’s a big change from many of the previous versions which are basically one move toward a peak. That section is complex and features some standout interplay from each member. Then in one smooth move, things get rocking and this killer peak comes almost out of nowhere. The peak is unique with a huge sustain by Trey while he plays during the sustain. The peak is simply fantastic.

It all equates to a “Ghost” that I think needs some love. I think it’s a beautiful ugly duckling and I love it.

Score: 8.25