The Daily Ghost

The Daily Ghost #51 07/23/1999 Polaris Amphitheater Columbus, OH

(@KernelForbin remaster)

Background (Ghost Position: Set 2 of 2 – Song 1 of 5-Show Gap: 2)

Ghost moves back to the wonderful role of set 2 opener. The great segue and entire version of Free is included.  Let’s get to this!


Composed Section (0:00-4:37)

The beautiful sound of Trey’s loops signals the start of Ghost.  Mike and Fish come in shortly after and Ghost is a full go.  A nice slow pace provides an easy going intro.  The loops are super strong with this one as they continue throughout.

The solo section gets a heavy dose of Mike, while Page plays more of a supporting role.  This is nothing mind blowing, it just keeps the slow smooth pace.  A decent pause that is finished by an average drop in.  This composed section other than the great Trey loops doesn’t do much to separate itself from all the others.

Repeat till you find something  (4:38-8:10)

The jam begins with some sectioned off jamming as the band looks for direction.  At about the 5:08 mark, Trey starts to play a nice easy lick that leads the band.  Fishman backs him with a nice steady beat.  The jam settles in nicely as Trey does some soloing.

The jam sits down here, and the band finds a nice place to groove.  Trey gives some nice gentle soloing with Gordon providing some solid background.  Trey places some outstanding loops for the band to navigate through.  Page  is my star here, he gets me moving with some funky piano melodies.

At 6:28, Trey starts to repeat a lick.  When he releases the tension at 6:47, the jam picks up a bit.  Mike gets on the bass a bit harder and moves his pitch upward.  After that little influx of energy, the jam settles back into a groove.

Starting at 7:30, Trey starts to repeat a lick again, only this time much more pronounced.  At 7:53, when he veers off it, he plays a super strong note.  The crowd gives the band some love at that moment.

Building the Float  (8:11-12:02)

Shortly after at 8:11, Trey goes back to finding a lick to repeat, and building the jam.  The entire band is building with him this time.  Trey then comes off a bit to explore with a couple different notes.

Nothing mind blowing going on here, just a very patient build.  Not my favorite tone from Trey.  Mike is doing some nice things, trying to build things stronger.  At 9:19, Fishman comes in with a fill to give things a bit more life.

It works as Trey responds with another repeated lick.  I really dig this lick and it gets me moving.  The band gets stronger, and stronger, as Trey repeats things.  Mike is really working hard!  That lick injected some life into this section.  Page starts to get strong around the 10:00 mark, and as he does, Trey picks up the pitch of his tone.

It certainly sounds like the jam might break into a new direction at this point. Instead, it falls back into another groove pocket.  The band settles down and everyone just plays in their own space.  Nothing really overly exciting for me.

In fact, this is another zone out jam for me.  Much like at the Great Went, this jam finds a space and the band sits down in it.  Instead of being blown away by the amazing playing, I float away and start to think about other things.  Now it could just be the insane amount of cold medicine I am on, but that is definitely what is going on here with me.

Wake Up (12:03-13:25)

Trey pulls me from my floating feeling and reminds me that he can play a guitar at the 12:03 mark.  Trey only plays a few measures of ripping guitar before holding a couple notes.  Where it certainly felt like band was going into a ripping peak, they instead pivot and head back into space for a bit.

So now I am floating again…Ahhh, the air is so nice up here.  Just going to come up here and think about things for a while.  Wow, at 12:47 thing are getting really heavenly!  This is nice.  Wait….

At 13:05, Trey brings me back to reality with another ripping solo, complete with Fish and Mike destruction.  The crowd goes nuts!!  OK, we are definitely   peaking this Ghost here right…….NOPE!!

Swimming in the Sea (13:25-18:04)

Mike and Fish start to take the jam way, way down.  Things fade into a spacey, blissful sea.  Trey starts to play some beautiful rhythms that sound like a singular fish swimming on a peaceful night.  The sea is smooth and this fish is just gliding.  Nothing else around, just open waters and peace.  It is like one of those moments in nature that is just so beautiful you hear only what you want to hear.  You are so taken back, that all you can do is appreciate the world you live in.

I absolutely love this tone and playing from Trey.  Mike sets the wonderful soundtrack for Trey’s swimming.   He gives the balance needed for the light beauty that Trey is swimming with.  Fishman gives just enough change to really make this wonderful.

This section is pure magic.  I sit here with nothing but a smile on my face and happiness fills my soul.  So blissful, and so mesmerizing.  This is so far from the beginnings of Ghost.  It is what improvisational Phish is all about.

At 16:26, if you have good headphones or sound system you can hear some “oooohs” from the band.  It sounds like angels singing their approval of this beautiful slice of nature we have found.  Absolutely dynamite stuff.

At 17:05 you can hear Trey play the opening lick to Free.  He cranks into the blissful jam as the rest of the band takes their time to move with him.  The blissful sounds of the Ghost outro are still going.  Very cool segue.  Free explodes out of it.

A fantastic version of Free follows…

Final Thoughts

For the first 13 minutes or so, nothing overly impresses me.  Some nice patient playing, sure, but nothing that makes this Ghost standout.  Then when they find that blissful outro, damn is that awesome.  The last 4 minutes is just pure magic.  High, high marks for that.  I want to score the whole Ghost higher for that section but I just can’t.

Score: 8.7