The Daily Ghost

The Daily Ghost #18 08/09/1997 Alpine Valley Music Theater, East Troy, WI

Background (Ghost Position: Set: 1 of 2 – Song: 3 of 8-Song Gap: 2)

Phish returned one year after their Alpine debut in 1996 to give the venue it’s first Ghost.  Moving back into the early part of the first set, it becomes the “meat” of the first set.  Included in the clip is the great segue into one of my favorite versions of Taste ever.  This Ghost and Taste provide 26:00+ min of great music, which makes the crowd erupt when it finishes.


Composed Section (0:00-2:59)

Not the cleanest beginning, but not the worst we have heard either.  Once it gets started this Ghost moves very well.  Great tempo and confidence being shown by the whole band.  Page gets real funky in his solo and Gordon gives him plenty of support in that section.  Pretty good length pause and a damn good drop in!  They do miss a note shortly after that however…

Dance Funk Destruction (3:00-8:30)

Much like our last Ghost at Riverport Gordon is really moving forward early on.  Powerful slapping from the Cactus is in full display.  Fish sections off the first 30 seconds or so, before letting things flow.  Although Gordon is owning things, Trey (unlike at Riverport) takes much more of a share in this jam.  By the 3:30 mark Trey is doing some soloing along side the destruction from Gordon’s bass.  Gorgeous interplay right here from the two of them.

Gordon seems to step his game up even further with the great play from Trey.  Page and Fish are also adding a lot to this first part of the jam in supporting roles.  By about 4:45 Gordon is hammering the bass so loud it sounds like he may collapse the famous Alpine Valley Theater.  No building is designed to take that kind of abuse.  Trey counters with a brilliant lick and this jam is really starting off hot!  Page comes layering through brilliantly.

By the 5:00 min mark the whole band is completely locked in.  Trey is playing tremendously in the space he has found.  Page on the clav is exactly what this jam needed.  Fish has the entire thing on lock down.  At 6:27 Page comes flying in on the clav with an awesome run, which he does a couple of times.  The brilliance of Trey and Mike cannot be understated.  They are sharing the lead, yet both seem to be laying down a rhythm that everyone can jam around.

4:30-8:30 is simply the goods.  I just listened to this 4 minutes of Phish about 15 times in a row.  I cannot stop, this section is pure fire.  If I am ever the owner of a “dance club” this is the stuff I am going to play.  When I hear it my entire body shakes.  If any non Phish person saw me dancing right now, they would put me in a straight-jacket.  When I go to shows this is the stuff I live for.  Stuff that, even if I tried not to dance, I don’t think I could.  This is straight in your face funk dance music.  I am not going to break down every single note here.  Just hit play, clear some room, and dance your ass off.

Drum Roll Please (8:30-10:10)

Fishman comes ripping through at 8:30 and starts to take control with some monster fills.  At 8:40 Page comes in BEAUTIFULLY with some notes on the piano.  Soul moving Page has entered the Ghost and does not leave.  Page really sets the tone and Trey responds giving him plenty of room to play those beautiful notes.  Fishman has really carved out some rocking space as well.  Trey really starts to attack at the 9:41 mark.  I love how rocking this section is after the monster funk in the previous section.

Down into the Hole (10:10-11:30)

At 10:10 Fishman slows down the beat.  He starts breaking things down and the band (especially Trey) take a bit to follow him.  Trey is playing some spacey murky sounds as this jam begins to fade away…

A Tasty Outro (11:30-15:29)

When the band finally settles down around 11:30, at the bottom of the abyss,  some true beauty is found.  Page’s piano and Fish’s cymbal work shine awfully bright in these outros a lot of the time, and this is no exception.  Trey and Mike also do a great job of playing at just the right tempo, pitch, and volume.  At 12:30 Trey finds a high pitched sound that sounds like a bird flying through the rain.  The pitch is so great and he plays just the right amount of notes, letting each one ring true.  It also blends fantastically with Page’s piano.  They really do such a great job with this outro.  It is the kind of stuff that sticks with you, and that you remember years later.

At 15:00 Gordon plays just a bit louder with a beautiful bass lick.  He starts the move toward a new song, Page follows him, and then Trey.  By 15:30 Taste is in full gear into a very sweet segue.

Taste (15:30-26:27)

I have included the entire Taste with this Ghost.  They belong together forever.  It is easily one of my favorite versions and absolutely rips.  It is the perfect song choice after that beautiful Ghost outro.  After floating through the air this Taste hits like a bolt of lightening!  I won’t break the Taste down too much.  Lets just say Trey plays a touch faster in Taste than in the Ghost…(and brings a machine gun with him)

(Also, just listen to the crowd when Taste ends….WOW)

Final Thoughts

If we were talking the entire Ghost->Taste we would have an insanely high score.  Still though this Ghost really does it for me.  The funk is some of my favorite out there.  I also love that all four of the band members seem to shine very brightly at different sections.  4:30-8:30 is the dance soundtrack to my body.  Follow that with a good build up, and a fantastic outro, and you have a great Ghost.  I love the three distinct sections of this Ghost and how if just feels so right moving through them.

Score: 9.0