The Daily Ghost #17 08/06/1997 Riverport Amphitheater, Maryland Heights, MO
(Unfortunately, due to the power outages from Sandy, @KernelForbin was unable to provide a remaster for today’s review. Best wishes to him and all others impacted by the storm.)
Background (Ghost Position: Set 2 of 2 – Song 3 of 7-Song Gap: 2)
Ghost pops up back in the middle of the first set. No segues before or after this version. After the Hendrix jam from the Gorge, what would we see happen at the next Ghost performance?
Composed Section (0:00-3:25)
This Ghost starts out a little rough after some warm up notes. Fish is playing a slow tempo and sings along with Trey in the opening section. Page plays a faster tempo funk solo, with Gordon slapping away. A short pause and a pretty good drop in this version for once. The guys seem goofy and the vocals are certainly not their best.
Mike Gordon and the backup band (3:26-7:07)
Mike begins slapping again immediately once the jam begins. Cactus steps into the forefront and the band begins to do some of the start/stop jamming that we saw in Europe. Gordon is hammering the bass and really playing lead more than rhythm. By the 4:00 mark the start/stop jam has ended and they move to more of a fuller groove.
At 4:00 Trey starts to repeat a riff and holds onto to it for quite a while. Gordon is free to continue to smash his hand into smithereens. Hands down, Mike owns this beginning jam section. He is channeling his inner funk! Trey does a fantastic job of playing around Mike, while providing texture to the jam. Like a great point guard knows, you feed the hot hand, and this Cactus is smoking. If Mike Gordon is your man, this section is for you.
Building the Groove (7:08-9:37)
At 7:08 Trey starts to move towards the front, while Gordon is still slapping away right there with him. How has Mike’s hand not fallen off yet! Trey and Mike begin sharing the lead more and they are starting to build something. At 7:25 Page starts to really come in and Fishman has started to push the tempo and blasts some fills. At 7:45 Page becomes way louder and Fish is in full throttle, locked in mode is on.
At 8:25 Trey starts to play a funk lick and the build settles down a bit. For a while, Phish is still able to carry the energy they had just built. They find a nice groove in this section and start to settle things down, little bits at a time. Instead of the pure funk it seems like they might move into more of a groove.
At 9:08 Gordon lets some big notes ring out and Trey moves to a more bluesy style of playing.
Easy going Groove (9:40-13:40)
At 9:40 Trey starts to play a lick that is very close to the one he likes to play at the very start of Ghost. Trey gets into his funk licks and creates a ton of space for Page and Mike. Page starts to become more noticeable as he comes out firing on the organ before switching to piano at 9:57. Gordon also continues to stand out, playing more of a lead role. Fish has anchored down this jam allowing Mike to really step out and be creative.
Gordon continues to be the star of this Ghost. The entire band has settled into a cool groove and work it deeper and deeper. Some cool things from the other three band members, as my attention stays on Mike. They settle in this space for quite a long time and are in no hurry to move out of it.
At 12:30 Mike starts to play what I think is a “Brickhouse” tease on bass. He plays it quite a few times. He gets louder with each time that he plays it, then starts to slap at it. Very cool!
Finishing Strong (13:42-18:16)
At 13:42 the pace starts to pick up. Fish starts to push it and things begin to build. Page throws some cool effects in at the 14:40 mark. Gordon is still destroying everything in his path.
At 14:55 Trey starts to assert himself. At 15:15 he gets into his more classic attack mode. Great responses from the rest of the band and this section is very good. At 16:10 Trey starts to play very dirty sound. Fishman is really getting after it as well.
At 17:23 they start to do some real good start/stop play as they finish out the jam. Very cool ending!
A good Ghost, but one that lacks a bit for me. If you love Mike Gordon and want to see him dominate, this is a fantastic version for you. Some great grooving and very patient playing by the band. It just never finds the magic that many Ghosts are able to find.