The Daily Ghost #136 07/31/2015 Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Atlanta, GA
Background (Set: 1 of 2 – Song: 3 of 10 – Show Gap: 2)
Just two shows after the Austin offering, “Ghost” returns to hallowed grounds that yielded one of the all-time great versions. “Ghost” appears early in the first set after short offerings of “Prince Caspian” and “No Men In No Man’s Land”, which opened the set.
Composed section (0:00-3:50)
“Ghost” starts from a dead stop and takes on a deliberate pace. It’s somewhat forceful and somewhat plodding. The solo section keeps the same pace and gets a little life from Page. The solid lead in gets a couple of cool tones from Page. Phish even lands the drop. I feel like I should like this intro a bit more but, it seems to trudge along for me. Solid enough, but one of the better drops though.
Relaxation Blues and Groove (3:51-6:35)
Trey gets twangy to start the jam out, before playing longer tones and the band builds around them. Excellent technique and the jam takes shape by the 4:30 mark. It typically takes around a minute for most “Ghost” jams to find a direction. Phish did this one in less than 30 seconds.
The shape of the early part of this jam is a relaxation blues and groove (LawnMemo Trademark). I love those kinds of jams in the first set. You can settle in, take a deep breath, and let it all wash down over you. It’s these types of moments where you can take in your surroundings. You can spot the wooks and find some cool shit to stare at later in the middle of the second set.
Around the 5-minute mark it sounds like Phish may go in a different direction as they introduce some tension.
However, they bring it back down into the relaxation blues and groove again. Trey’s soloing is creative here, especially within the confines of this relaxed pace.
Page hops on the Rhodes for a while, before switching over to the baby grand at 5:40. He nails that subtle change with ease. His tone on the Rhodes was very piano-like and so it’s smooth like butter. I bet Page loves butter. He’s such a badass. As per usual, Trey leaves space for Page and he fills it perfectly. Page is great to focus on in this section.
Build>Mini Peak (6:36-9:00)
Trey starts to pitch his frequency higher, and begins extending notes. Fishman quickly responds and pushes the pace, and our first shift in this jam begins.
The tension continues to build bar after bar. In fact, there isn’t a lot of goodness other than creating that feeling in your stomach that you need a peak. This build does it’s job, it just doesn’t do it as well as some of the other builds we’ve dissected.
Time to touch on Mike Gordon. He is the highlight of the build for me. Starting at the 8-min mark, he starts doing that thing. Playing a bunch of notes so that somehow on one listen you barely hear him. Yet, if you listen closer on re-listen, he is all you can hear. Dude is a bass genius.
Trey hits a little mini-peak at 8:25, sustaining a note for almost 10 seconds. The band is in full support behind him now. Things are picking up. Another sustain at 8:42 from Trey.
This is some happy, feel good stuff. You can’t deny it.
After the Mini Peak>The Real Peak (9:01-11:00)
After those little mini peaks, a nice floaty jam materializes. This inspires an excellent “jump in the air and swing your arms” dance music. Think Sound of Music, only if Phish was playing the soundtrack. I like listening to music that makes me happy.
Oh by the way, Mike Gordon is still crushing. He’s stupid low in this mix, but you can’t fool me Live Phish. I got my bass turned up.
Trey makes another unique move at 9:37. He drops into this tone that I’m not fully sure I’ve heard before. It almost sounds like some weird cell phone ringtone. I mean that in all the best ways. It’s super cool and builds the tension.
When he switches back to full tone, he does it with a series of triplets and unleashes the tension. Slickly for the next couple bars, he switches back and forth between the cell phone and his peaking tone. It helps continue to build and release. Not the most full on powerful peak, but I love the uniqueness of this one.
Return to “Ghost” Theme (11:01-12:45)
After the peak, the jam moves back into the “Ghost” theme (a theme for the last couple years). Things do get interesting after the return though. A super slow and dirty mini-jam breaks out. It even has a touch of evil to go along with it.
Then a fully jazz hands ending with another touch of dirty Trey tone.
Like most “Ghosts”, the 2015 version has some things going for it, but never fully rises to stardom. I like how quick the initial jam takes place and the laid back nature of it. Page stars early. Yet again in 2015, that space isn’t given enough time to fully mature and the band moves toward a major key and peaks too quickly. The 8:30-11:00 mark is some happy good feeling Phish. No doubt about it and I love Mike Gordon through that entire section. As an entire “Ghost”, it just doesn’t have much substance. There is little you will remember from this version. It’s good, and does a nice job in the 3-slot of the first set, but like our other 2015 offerings so far, it falls below the great versions.