The Daily Ghost #43 11/11/1998 Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI
Background (Ghost Position: Set 2 of 2 – Song 7 of 7-Show Gap: 3)
Ghost is beginning to find a home in the second set. This one closes the show at Van Andel Arena. No segues with this version.
Composed Section (0:00-4:46)
The familiar sound of 1998 Trey loops signal the opening of Ghost. A Ghost closer is an exciting thing, and when Mike’s bass enters I start to get chills. This intro is played at a super slow pace. Pure confidence from the band to close the show with a monster Ghost. When Trey’s vocals enter he sounds focused and confident.
The solo section sees an extra funky Page, and continues the extremely slow pace. Page then throws the throttle to space for a bit, and the crowd shows their love. A very long pause, with some cool feedback, is met with a very good drop in. Well done gentlemen, let’s crush this jam.
Fall 1997? Good to see you again…(4:47-8:34)
The jam begins with some sectioned off jamming, and Trey’s gets into it right away. He rips a couple of soaring blues licks, as the sectioning comes to an end. Page sneaks in a couple of beautiful piano notes before the funk.
When the jam starts to take shape, it finds a big time funk tone. Page digs deep into his funk repertoire, and Trey moves to his familiar funk riffs. Mike is hammering into the bass and it feels like Fall ’97 all over again.
At 6:24, Page plays one of the slankiest melodies you will ever hear. Grade A slimeball from the Chairman. At 6:38, he finds time to drop just a few piano notes into the caper. The crowd loves this, and Page and Mike take things down an even funkier path. Mike has some deep slapping going down, and parks in the funk city Page has built.
At 6:50 Page plays a super cool melody that just adds fuel to the funk train. I love that little section. Mike responds with some rocking bass funk and this jam is moving along very nicely. Great funk section! After some disjointed Ghosts, I am back rocking in my chair at the The Daily Ghost review room.
The jam from here settles down and Page starts to explore space a bit. At 7:47 he releases his tractor beam and starts pulling us up into space. The funk from the rest of the band is trying to keep us on Earth. Eventually the funk is too strong for Page’s tractor beam, and he moves on to a new weapon.
Building it up (8:34-9:37)
Page comes down to Earth and shatters massive chunks of it with a beautiful piano melody. That little melody he plays at 8:34? Man I just can’t get enough! It is one of those groups of notes, that I could listen to forever. He then fades into the groove and starts to build up some tension.
Trey soon follows Page, and starts to work on building up the jam. Fish then follows and you can feel the jam really start to build. Trey and Fish however, are like a couple kids on Christmas and can’t wait any longer….time to rip open the gifts and kick some ass!!!
11-11 FaceMelting Heaven (9:38-12:35)
Fishman starts to pick up the pace at about 9:38 and Trey jumps on immediately. The crowd hears the change and gives a roar of applause. They push the tempo nicely to begin this peak, but not nearly full throttle at first. Instead the band settles in nicely and the entire band builds wonderfully around Trey’s soloing.
At 10:20, Trey finds a lick that he begins repeating and the crowd starts to respond. You can just feel this jam is about to go next level. Strap in Ladies and Gentlemen, cover your faces. At the 10:35 Page gets a couple power chords in before….
Trey climbs then releases the tension a bit at 10:40 and the crowd goes nuts. Although Trey is sandbagging a bit. He is certainly soloing with some serious intensity, but as the saying goes…You ain’t seen nothing yet!!!
We are in what I would call a peak section yet this sucker just continues to build!! Fishman is all over really working hard at pushing this peak to new heights. At 11:28, Fish starts attacking the crash cymbals and Trey begins rocking even harder! Another roar from the crowd and Fish hammers some fills, with Page pounding into some piano chords.
Trey’s sound is just pure power. He is commanding every square inch of this jam. When the man is on, there is nobody like him. Let’s revisit this statement in just another minute or so.
At around 12:08, it actually sounds like the jam might fade. That notion lasts for only a couple of seconds. I think the band just had to rest for a second. Any notion of slowing down is quickly thrown out the window as Trey and Fish begin to build things up even more! This can’t be happening…At 12:20, Trey opens up the machine gun case and just presses the trigger for a second. Just wanted to makes sure it still works. Trey hasn’t shown this baby off in a while. He then roars into some soloing before…
It’s coming….Be afraid….No, I am not kidding….BE VERY AFRAID!!!! Grab a helmet, a face shield, and get your ass into a bunker. Innocent lives are at stake at this point!
Atomic Machine Gun, Face Melting Blow Torch, Tank Cannon, Heat Seeking Peak Melter (12:36-14:54)
The entire band begins building tension at 12:36 and you know something serious is coming. Fish is destroying his kit, Page is hammering into some chords, Mike is moving up and down so fast I can’t keep up. What the hell are they about to do to me? When they build tension like this in the middle of an already rocking jam, all I can do is just smile, throw my hands on my helmet, and soak it in! Trey finds a lick he loves to build with and HERE WE GO!!!
At 12:57 something happens. The entire crowd is melting. WOW!!! All you “It has to be soundboard” people eat this!!! The crowd looses their fucking minds! I had to put my headphones down for a second it was so loud. You think Tom Marshall envisioned that deafening sound of applause when he wrote Ghost? NOW THAT IS A PEAK! What a friggin’ note Trey releases that tension with! Wait…oh no…you can’t be serious…..is that more tension building at 13:10…
Peak #2 is another punch right to the face. Fish sounds like an entire 300 person percussion section. I can’t even try and comprehend what the hell he is doing on that kit. My mind doesn’t function that way…uh oh….not another….It Can’t Be!!
BOOM!!!!!!!!!!! Peak #3 drops at 13:30, and more insane roars from the crowd. This is some serious stuff. This is fucking Rock and Roll!!! I swear on my mother I have the volume cranked as loud as it will go. I probably just lost 20 percent of my hearing. Oh well, sometimes you just have to live in the moment.
Talk about being in a hose jam? This is no garden hose…this is a big freaking fire hose spaying you and knocking your ass over. While you are on the ground at 13:40, they decide to hit you in the face with the hose and laugh at you. Another peak drops, and then Trey just obliterates man kind.
OK, Mike need to give you some love! At 14:10 he plays an incredibly cool space bass groove and it just fits so perfectly. At 14:20 Fish crashes some cymbals and Page answers him with some crazy space lasers. It almost sounds like he is going to play Frankenstein in the middle of this thing.
Why does Phish rule? Simple. What other band can rage and melt faces like that, and RIGHT in the middle of it do something crazy like Page did with those space lasers. Not to mention, making it sound seamless. I love you Phish, I love you Ghost! You complete Memo.
At 14:54 the jam breaks down and a short Fish and Mike driven outro breaks out. It fades into some awesome space siren sounding noises. Short but totally sweet.
Did someone say set closer? You have to be kidding me..THAT is how you close a show! I prefer a type two monster like that any day. This Ghost is a pure powerhouse. Great funk, and pure face melting peak, awesome space ending. The audience reaction should speak for itself. I received a lot of feedback telling me how excited people were for me to get to this Ghost. Now you know, I was just as excited. This is what it is all about. I need to go listen to that peak again and lose some more of my hearing.