The Daily Ghost #53 09/09/1999 GM Place, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Background (Ghost Position: Set 2 of 2 – Song 3 of 9-Show Gap: 4)
Ghost moves back into the second set in it’s returns to Canadian soil. A bit of the ending to Ha Ha Ha is included.
Composed Section (0:00-5:08)
The first laser beam loop from Trey is fired at 0:08, and he adds another loop right away. Trey created some awesome sounds for Mike and Fish to enter the Ghost. The intro really takes its time as Trey loops echoes around the arena. The lyrics don’t show up until 2:05, and Page adds a little Clav love.
A super slow pace leads to a tentative smooth solo section. One of the more tame solo sections. You certainly get the feeling from the pace of the song and solo section that this is going to be one of the more grooved Ghosts.
A long pause and then another damn good drop in. Canadian love for the band. Aboot time.
On Board the Canadian Groove Train (5:09-11:02)
Trey lets a couple roaring guitar notes go before he settles down. In fact the entire band settles down right away. By the 5:30 mark, the jam has already moved to a minimalist sound. Things get real quiet as the band feels each note.
We haven’t seen this style of jam in quite a while. Trey starts to play some easy going licks at about the 6:05 mark. Fish is laying down an easy going beat, with plenty of room for the band to jump off the deep end. Mike’s bass powers through this minimalist style jam with authority.
Trey’s sound echoes through this recording. It sounds like he is playing in one of those ginormous hallways where everything is quiet and any sound echoes. At 7:03, Trey repeats a lick and Page infuses some nice piano. So I am imagining being in an old college building only there is nobody around. It is creepy, and cool all at the same time. I dig this sound from Trey and how everyone else compliments it.
Without Mike in this section I almost feel like this jam could come to a complete standstill. He is driving things forward as Page and Trey’s sounds float so lightly in the air. The band is moving wonderfully together.
At about 8:15, Trey explores another lick and Mike starts to push things a bit behind him. Fishman also changes up the beat just a touch. A crazy alien cry emerges from the the band at 8:33. That is one eerie sound! At 8:50, Fish adds some nice high hat work
At 9:15, Fish drops the high hat and leads the band into a build section. He is subtly manning the controls. Page lends some wonderful piano chords as Trey starts to build with a repeating lick starting around 9:48 and it seems like we are heading to the peak!
Only at 10:02, when Trey lets go a bit, he doesn’t go full out. The band just picks up the tempo but the groove train they have been riding is very much still on the same tracks. Pretty cool stuff. Page has really picked up his pace and has become more more noticeable.
Pulling into the station (11:03-15:39)
At 11:03, Trey starts to repeat a typical build lick. You can feel things are going to switch directions here. The band moves in behind Trey and gives this jam some teeth. You can hear the crowd start to get behind this movement at around the 11:58 mark.
The track though, is still the same, this groove is still in tact. The force and pace have picked up but the feel is still the same from note one of this jam. Mike is moving this train the most, he is all over the place. Trey elects to play with the band instead of dominating here. Big Red certainly does some intense work, but is well in line with the rest of the band.
At 13:16, Fishman plays a jam changing fill and the movement is super cool. The train station is close and they start to slow this beast as they get closer. As each measure passes the train looses speed. At the 14:07 mark it sounds like Mike and Fish might return things to the Ghost theme.
Instead the jam moves into some beautiful bliss for the last minute. The jam goes until there is absolutely nothing left. I love when Phish does that.
This Ghost is certainly well played. The band works together and rides the groove train all the way to the end. It just doesn’t find the magic that I am always hoping for. Here is the problem with Ghost. This is a great jam and the band creates some great improv. I can listen and groove with this Ghost and be completely happy. It just doesn’t stack up with the greats.