The Daily Ghost #52 07/30/1999 Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata, Japan
Background (Ghost Position: Set 1 of 2 – Song 7 of 8-Show Gap: 4)
After Phish played a day set on the Green Stage, the night time show included the Ghost. Ghost moves to almost the end of the first set, seting the tone for the “Japan Sound”. The segue from Funky Bitch is included.
From phish.net: ” This show was part of the Fuji Rock Festival and took place on the Field of Heaven stage. Ghost contained Brick House teases. Before Bike, Fishman told the crowd that he would play guitar instead of vacuum because the Electrolux vacuum did not make the trip to Japan. Afterwards, Trey said that the song was meant to impress Yoshimi, the drummer from The Boredoms, because Fishman has “a crush on her.”
Composed Section (0:26-5:00)
Let’s get something clear right from the start. When Phish plays Japan, they seem to be playing on a different planet. This is the closest to another dimension that many of us will ever see. I LOVE Japanese Phish. 6/14/2000 is one of my all time favorite shows and you can certainly hear many of those similar sounds in this Ghost. Let’s go to space!
The first signs of Trey’s loops appear at about the 0:26 mark, as the end of Funky Bitch fades out. At about 0:56, Mike and Fish come knocking through the door.
The pace is so smooth and effortless. You can sense the power and mastery Phish feels. The solo section is a continuation of the groove, it certainly sets the tone. This is going to be a funky grooved monster. It blends perfectly with the intro.
After a long pause with some Trey loops circling, the band NAILS the drop in. What the hell Phish? You have to travel around the globe to do that? You like Japan better? Are you just screwing with us back in the United States? Are the drugs better in Japan? So many questions…All I know is that drop in was awesome!!!
Great all around intro, one of the best.
Mike starts the jam with a great deep sounding tone. A couple of sectioned off measures help to give this initial section a direction. Then…Magic
Mike plays some wonderful deep tones and starts to give the jam a touch of direction. Then at 5:31, he decides to grab a hold of the jam by playing the bass line to The Commodores “Brickhouse”. How f’ing sweet is that! I can’t get enough of this and have already let it play about 50 times. Tonight’s review is going to take me a long time to complete!
Not to mention as Mike goes into Brickhouse, Page plays some incredible piano melodies. Seriously, I have chills throughout my body. Incredible stuff. I am dancing and thanking the heavens for this jam all at the same time. Wait, I just realized there are Trey loops circulating during this Brickhouse. Sensory overload! I can’t feel this excitement all at once..If this review is not completed it means I had a heart attack. Someone get me help. I have a feeling my Cause of Death will read…Phish Japan Brickhouse Jam.
The timing of Page’s piano over that ohhhh so familiar bass line just blows me away. Trey adds just a touch of guitar to give the jam a bit of extra life. They are simply locked into this and it’s only 45 seconds into the JAM! Then…
Trey really twists things around at 6:53 by playing Brickhouse himself! Want to know how the band is locked in? How about when a tease moves around the band right in the middle of jam. That my friends is what we like to call NASTY. It doesn’t take away from the jam in the least bit. I am bobbing, weaving, basket weaving, wooknecking, and most of all, forgetting that I should be writing during this groove.
Fishman realizes the brilliant interplay going on, grabs this beat, locks it down and throws away the key. When the band is this on, you don’t change a thing.
The other crazy aspect of this jam is that as much as I’m grooving and rocking out I am also floating away. The beat from Mike and Fish, with the melodies from Page sends me drifting to another place.
At about 8:45, Trey starts to play a bit more notes while Mike counters and picks his pace up as well. Then, following the lead, Page gets a super funky piano chord down starting at 9:05. Damn that is hot! Again, when the jam is great they can interject stuff like this, while still continuing the overall feel of the groove.
At 9:23, Trey starts to repeat a lick and leads the band toward a build. Page, Mike, and Fish are all killing it right behind Trey’s lick. All kinds of interfacing fissure from the band. I just made that up. I had no idea what else to write. I am blown away.
*Pro-Tip, listen to this section 50 times. It is that good, and took me about that many times to appreciate every note.
Light the Bricks on Fire (10:01-13:45)
After the short build, Trey lets go, and the band noodles around for a bit. It is a blissful noodle…what the heck does that mean? Explaining noodling is hard! Trey gets ahead of the band for a little while until about the 11:45 mark.
Mike catches up and then Fish and Trey really start to get after it. I wouldn’t call this a full blown peak but Trey is definitely playing some rocking stuff. Fishman as well, is a real freaking rock star in this section. The man in the dress throws a plethora of beats and fills into this section. With a lot of these Ghosts he is like a tiger ready to pounce. Fish holds it down and waits his turn, then unloads with a fury. He is the star!
This section turns into a great break from the deep groove, before the space that is about to follow. Kick in some great work from Trey and Fish and you have yourselves a real nice section.
Sound the Alarm…Page McConnell has turned into Rick James (13:46-14:53)
After the peak section Trey interjects a funk lick and the jam moves back down a bit. Page starts to get really funky with things at about the 14:00 mark. Then…at 14:18…
BOOM! That innocent looking piano player just turned into Rick James! Page crushes some staccato and gets a nice rise from the crowd. Pure magic. In my dreams I wish I was half as bad ass as Page McConnell.
We are officially wayyyyyyy off the grid (14:53-19:35)
Fish comes in with a big fill at 14:53 and the jam starts moving away from anything that remotely resembles Ghost. Deeper and deeper with each measure this jam moves underground.
By about the 16:15 mark, all I can think of is that I have no idea what the heck I am reviewing anymore. What song is this again? Is someone about to tell me I am in the twilight zone? Am I currently in Japan? Whoever came up with the idea for a jam cruise was smarter than me…Is Mike Tyson smarter than me? How the heck does anyone read my blog and not think I belong in an insane asylum?
I mean by the 17:00 mark, can we officially call this type 20? There is zero chance you could tell this was Ghost if you just tuned in. Well, except you are listening to this clip on The Daily Ghost website. Then a quick dose of reality..
At 17:53, some space birds flutter and pull me back to the world just a touch. I feel like these space birds just traveled from Antarctica, to Niagara Falls, to Jimmy Hoffa, then arrived to meet us at Pluto. An awesome little touch in this blissful type 20 jam.
The jam gets super blissful after that, as Trey finds a really pretty tone. He moves smoothly between just a couple different notes. Mike moves effortlessly around Trey and compliments his every move.
Meet my friend….Godzilla Trey (19:35-23:02)
Apparently our space birds brought Godzilla with them to Pluto. Trey (Godzilla) lets out a roar at 19:35 that echoes angrily. Seriously, that is one scary tone! Yes, I just made a Godzilla reference about a show in Japan. I am witty.
Godzilla just traveled through space to do one thing, destroy everything in his path. At 20:18, Godzilla starts his angry fury. Trey rips into a solo while Mike and Fish kick into high gear. (The recording cuts out at 20:50 for a second. Godzilla hates recording equipment).
Mike really moves well in this jam, with Page providing some softer landscapes. Trey plays angry, and the end section of this Ghost is so unique. After letting out the rage, Godzilla takes a quick breather. He would later come back in Axilla one track later.
Yeah, it is safe to say I love this Ghost. The intro section is excellent. The first five minutes (The Brickhouse jam) are incredible. Five of my favorite minutes of Phish. Follow that with a great rocking sectioned, some of the most far out minutes of Phish I have reviewed, and a scary Godzilla section. This is a dirty, bad ass Ghost. Another gem that gets very little love. If Phish goes to Japan again, I will sell both my kidneys to get there. I am going back to listen to that Brickhouse jam again.
Video below is shot by my friend @caravan2001 and will give you idea what it was like to see Phish in Japan. Awesome stuff.