The Daily Ghost #54 09/12/1999 Portland Meadows, Portland, OR
Background (Ghost Position: Set 2 of 2 – Song 1 of 5-Show Gap: 3)
A monster like this belongs one place. The beginning of the second set. This my friends is a Dirty Ghost. To give you an idea of what is about to go down…
From the phish.net jam chart by @Doctor_Smarty:
“Colossal virtual reality train ride across the wind-swept moors of ninth century England diving into a vortex which dumps out into orbit around Saturn.”
Composed Section (0:00-4:44)
Before we get started, stuff is going to get crazy. I have created this road map to follow in case you forget where you are…Please keep with you at all times. Also, if you don’t have your best headphones in, please insert now…Thank you.
I am beyond excited to write this. The evilness of this Ghost starts with Trey’s loops, then Fish plays a couple of quick beats, and then a drum roll. This thing is already different. In fact, it is so bad ass the mic can’t handle it. I also just injected some more coffee, so I am really jumping to this intro. The pace is actually a touch more upbeat, but man are those loops strong.
The solo section has a killer lick from Trey and then Page gets real funky. Gordon hits the mark perfectly, and then awesome compliments from Page. I dig that solo section.
The pause is about average, and a pretty solid drop in from the band. The vocals after the drop in are not over sung. Good intro. Now strap in, 25 minutes of jamming.
Not your average beginning…Rocking and Rolling from Note 1 (4:45-10:00)
Our journey begins with some sectioned off jamming and Fish trying out a couple of different beats. Trey starts to lead out a bit at the 5:37 mark, and plays some uptempo melodies. Fish is really pushing things, which usually is not the case this early in a Ghost jam.
At 6:04, Fish gives the band a fill and then changes the beat up. Page starts to become much more of a factor after the beat change. Gordon plays a variety of different bass lines feeding off the rest of the band.
What a stark contrast this section is, compared to most beginning sections of Ghost groove based jams. This is rocking. Fish and Trey are on this thing from the first note. Remember this, because in about 10 minutes you won’t believe where we end up.
This opening jam section is actually the build section of this Ghost. It has an upbeat tempo and very slowly the band is giving this thing more steam. Trey and Fish are the sure fire stars here.
At 9:03, Trey plays a mind bending note, and Page flows in beautifully with a bunch of notes. Gordon works well by providing a structure for Trey and Page to work with.
Brilliant Building (10:01-11:48)
At 10:03, Trey rings out a power chord. Fish changes up the beat and you can feel something nasty coming. At 10:23, Trey changes his tone and kicks into rock star mode. Immediately when Trey does that, Mike starts kicking some ass on the bass. I am shaking with excitement. This baby is full build mode.
Trey works things nice a slow. He doesn’t come on too strong, recognizing the fantastic bass line Mike is implementing. Instead, each note from Trey rings out and leaves a bunch of space for everyone else. It works wonders for Page. By around the 11:25 mark you can hear the influence of Page. He and Mike are kicking some major ass around the long notes of Trey. That is how you work together to build a peak.
The Peak (11:49-14:59)
At 11:49 Trey starts to repeat a lick that signals the oncoming peak. Page is rocking at this point, the man is doing work. When Trey comes off that lick he plays a nice smooth melody. This is not Prague people. Everyone is rocking this equally.
At 12:38, Trey does one of my favorite techniques. He launches a really high pitched nooooooooote that gives the band even more of a chance to build. When he lets go of the nooooooooote, well it is really on!
At 12:57, a sighting of Machine Gun Trey is spotted. Again, give a listen to Page, he is crushing the keys. Fish is a monster as well, he is filling my headphones with sounds. I love this peak! I love when the entire band captures my attention like this.
I can easily make a case to listen to any of the four band members. But to appreciate it you have to float over the band and hear all of them together.
At 13:48, Fish drops the tempo and the real fun starts. Mike and Fish begin to slow the pace down as Trey continues to rip into his guitar. Trey can’t fight this tempo change though. Mike and Fish win this battle. Trey eventually switches guitar tones at 14:30 and it is officially time to get evil. What an awesome sound from Trey!
Kate Upton Trampoline Orgasmic Funk Groove Section (15:00-19:05)
At the 15:00 mark, Trey switches his tone from from Evil to funk. He plays some classic Trey funk licks while Page’s sound starts to gain more power.
Starting at 16:08, if you are familiar with the Radio City Ghost you will here a lick from Trey that is almost identical. Trey infuses this beautiful sound that somehow is able to rock, drive the jam downward, and give Page all kinds of room to play some great harmonies.
Fish though does something crazy at 16:46 by throwing a major curve ball at the band. Mike responds by playing a ton of notes. Then for just a quick second Page plays one of the sickest notes I have heard at 17:01. You have to listen very closely it is only three seconds long, but it feels like God is looking right at me.
At 17:07 the beat changes and things get even more magical. Another brilliant chord from Page at 17:12 before he moves away from the piano. Trey gets back to that lick that we will see in Radio City.
At 17:15 Trey plays a note that when it ends, creates a warning siren loop. This thing continues for a long time. Trey is telling you something! Listen! Grab who you can! Women, children, wooks, stagehands, vets, noobs, Scotty B, Mr. Miner, Harry Hood, McGrupp, Golgi Apparatus, School of Phish, Poster Nutbag, hell even Aaron Wolfe! Get them all, nobody is safe, be warned.
Fishman moves to the cowbell and it sounds SO AWESOME. Around 17:49, it sounds similar to the beat that is very pronounced in Coral Sky’s Crosseyed and Painless. Each note from Mike also is crazy powerful.
This section is pure type 2 magic. When I say other Ghosts don’t find a magical section, this is what I am comparing them to. I can’t even type right because my brain is on complete overload. I have listened to this section like 10 times already and all I had written is “pure type 2 magic”. It is an awesome groove, that is exploratory and rocking all at the same time. NO other band creates music like this. I can listen to this section all day.
At 18:42, the first signs of the the UFO start to enter this jam. Such a cool addition to the end of this sick groove. Things are about to get crazy, hands and feet inside the review, please refer to your road map. You might get lost.
Type 2? How about Type 666 Scary Space Jam (19:06-22:09)
Trey backs right off the gas, as Fishman continues to push forward. As Trey backs off that warning siren from before really gets loud. At 19:23, Page unleashes a tractor beam and then brings us further and further into space. How awesome is that warning siren! We have officially reached “where the hell am I” space. I told you that road map would come in handy!
At about 19:55 Mike UNLEASHES a monster note that reminds me of the Imperial Star Destroyer flying overhead. That thing echoes forever. Around 20:37 Mike starts to get more powerful and angrier. Space Cactus is pissed.
Fish is the engine, the lead, the everything to this section. As the band backs off, and things get spacier and spacier, Fish is the jet fuel in our spacecraft. Can we have more jams that feature the cowbell! How many other drummers can drive an entire jam with a freaking cowbell!
At 21:12 (Woo Rush!) Fish changes things up, and we have officially reached pitch black. I told you the siren was signaling GTFO! I have nightmares of this section. Page’s tractor beam gets stronger and stronger, as Fish gets more insane. THEN….
At 21:55, if before was an Imperial Star Destroyer, this has to be some sort of cross between the Borg, and the Death Star (The Borg Star?). It reminds me of the Borg, only the size of the Death Star. WOW, that sound is incredible. MIND BLOWN! Also, I am officially calling this Type 666 jamming. I think that sound came from Trey, but it might have been from Zeus. That is one of the most awesome sounds in the history of Phish. That Borg Star, when it passes by, grabs us and deposits us in the depths of hell.
Trapped in Hell (22:09-25:30)
THE SHROOMS HAVE TURNED!
When the last passing sounds of the Borg Star leave, some of the scariest sounds in Phish history are left. The warning siren echoes so eerily throughout this section. I imagine being trapped in pure fiery hell, with the Borg chasing me. I have no idea where to go, what to do, where I am, I just know I am scared to death. The insane sounds coming from Trey’s guitar are like the devil laughing at me. This makes 2012 MSG Carini look like Strawberry Shortcake.
The even crazier part is that DAMN cowbell from Fishman. What once was the jet fuel to our space ship, now reminds me of being chased by someone. I am glad I am reviewing this in the daytime and not before bed. That damn warning siren now sounds like someone is about to stab me. I am lost…did I just see Keanu Reeves from Constantine here with me?
Talk about complete and total improvisation. We are a long freaking way from Sample in a Jar.
At 24:05, Trey comes in hammering an awesome lick. It is like he is breathing down my neck and ready to catch me. More, and more terror continues with Mike seeming to be the evil guide. I have been listening to this section for like an hour trying to figure out what to write. I am scared, really, really scared. I think I just sharted.
The Borg Star Arrives in Portland (25:30-27:33)
At 25:30, the Borg Star scoops me up and flies right over the venue. WTF!!! You have to be kidding me. That is the most awesome sound ever. My entire room just shook and I am wearing headphones. Can we get more of that!!!!! My mind is so blown right now I have no idea who is making that sound. I reached out to Scotty B for his impression
“Ok, I’m not 100% on this, but Trey is playing a loop that screeches up and down, you can hear it screech upwards at 25:29. I think the real low rumbling that peaks at 25:40 – 25:50 is Mike. Kinda sounds like Down With Disease intro without the flanger.”
I imagine the scene of Close Encounters where the ship plays music. Only it is not the happy music that ship plays. These is evil stuff, that is meant to melt peoples brains. I can’t break it down anymore than that.
Then, Trey starts to rock star it a bit in the middle of this insanity. I feel like George McFly when Marty straps on Van Halen in the radiation suit.
At 27:58 it sounds like the nightmare is finally over….
Nightmare Reprise…The End (27:59-29:43)
Ahh, peace and quiet…I have woken up….
A note from Trey hangs in the wind….just a touch. Then, it gets louder, and louder….
Oh shit…The evil cowbell comes back at 28:35! This is officially the end of the world. The devil is here to end things. The Daily Ghost got to #54, before it ended. At 29:53 I take my last breath. I appreciate everyone’s support, wish I could have done more. Quick side note…UIC Ghost was not good. The end..
This Ghost for me, is what it is all about. It has the ability to do anything it wants. It is rocking, has a group peak, then the last 15 minutes are almost indescribable. I am not saying this style Ghost is for everyone. It is a LONG way from Harry Hood, Reba, or even Prague Ghost. Chances are though, that if you are here, you appreciate the Ghost and the darkness and places it can go. The evilness of this Ghost, is as good as it gets. It took me about 4-5 hours to finish this review due the incredible details in what goes on here. Not saying it is 100% my favorite, but this is perfect in my book. I wouldn’t change a thing.
That evil bass line will be stuck in my head for days. Thanks Cactus!