Phish jams provide so much more than mere music- they are experiences. When the “Tweezer” lick or “Mike’s” riff drops, that adrenaline we feel isn’t due to the audio stimuli we are about to receive, but rather the all-encompassing life experience we are about to notch into our belt. The experience of a Phish jam moves beyond “listening” into the realm of “living.” These jams bring us inspiration, fear, introspection, catharsis, and revelation- this is the fabric of life. This contributes to the humor when parents or non-Phishies ask us why we would want to attend four straight shows. Always a difficult question to answer to those who haven’t experienced IT, we often find ourselves stuck- or talking for ten minutes- trying to explain. It all comes down to the live experience- experience– those moments where nothing else matters; this was one of those moments.
It was Saturday night in Hampton, and Phish had just finished their best segment of music to that point. “Rock and Roll > Limb” gave us an initial taste of 3.0’s improv. After a ripping ride, one might have predicted a more mellow song waiting in the wings- but there wasn’t. Lurking right around the corner was one of those experiences.
As the peak of “Limb” ended, many needing a quick breather, but Phish would not allow it, easing their way into the opening grooves of “Ghost.” Simply hearing this beginning after a five year absence, and knowing all the crazy rides the song had taken us on, was enough to send our energy directly through the roof. Echoes of yesteryear came flooding into the Coliseum, hearkening back to the colossal Hampton “Ghost” of 1997. As soon as the rhythmic patterns started oozing from the stage, that feeling returned. That eager anticipation you feel when you couldn’t be more excited for the moment- we were about to live a “Ghost” jam for the first time in half a decade- and my brain was overdosing with adrenaline.
Without any noodling, Trey got right down to business, offering edgy, uncompressed lines over a methodical groove. Soon the band joined the improvisation, crafting a communicative pattern around a three-note phrase by Trey. Following the beginning of the jam, the music opened up quite a bit more, allowing space for Mike, Page, and Trey to play shorter, staccato melodies that fit in and around each other like an intricate jigsaw puzzle. With no one member overpowering this segment of music, the band’s collaborative effort stood out- especially with their new live mix.
Coming to a natural transition, the band shifted back into a more traditional “Ghost” story, with Trey playing sustained wails over the band’s soundscape rather than focusing on dance rhythms. The music began to ascend- chasing Trey’s emotive offerings, and before we knew it, the band latched onto his melodic geyser, following his lead into one of the most spiritual releases of the weekend. This was the first time that Trey stopped thinking and just played what was in his heart- and it was so, so obvious. The previously calculative Jedi had lost himself in his music, inviting us to come along, rediscovering the unbridled joy in the organic peak of a beautiful Phish jam.
The emotions evoked within myself, as I’m sure many others, were awing. There we were again- merged with the band in the middle of IT- dancing our hearts out because nothing else mattered. It was a powerful moment; rediscovering the experience of Phish as the band grew more comfortable on stage once again. Soon after the climactic peak, the band slid down the jam’s denouement and right into “Piper.” This “Ghost” authoritatively completed the message whose delivery had started with “Rock and Roll > Limb”- Phish’s emotional improv was back. While much of the first three sets carried the vibe of a recital, it was this second set that announced the band’s creative return. And it wasn’t until “Ghost” that we caught a glimpse into the soul of the band that will inspire us through the next part of our lives.
LISTEN TO 3.7’s “GHOST” NOW! < LINK (Roll over link and press play)
“The Mothership” – Photo: Dave Pecoraro
DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:
8.6.96 Red Rocks < LINK
8.6.96 Red Rocks < TORRENT LINK
Moving right along, here we have night three of 1996’s famed stint at Red Rocks. If you are following along, we will go though every show the band has played at the legendary venue this week. The no-brainer highlights of this show are the first set-ending “Antelope” and a sublime “Tweezer” that is one of my personal favorites. Look for the gorgeous “Hood” that concluded the night’s jamming. This one is a keeper.
I: Makisupa Policeman, Rift*, Suzy Greenberg, Simple, Theme From the Bottom, Lizards, Dinner and a Movie, Horn, Run Like An Antelope
II: The Curtainb> Tweezer**, Prince Caspian, A Day in the Life, Big Black Furry Creature From Mars, Purple Rain, Harry Hood#, Tweezer Reprise
E: Johnny B. Goode
*Contained “This is Red Rocks, This is the Edge” (referring to U2’s live album “Under a Blood Red Sky”), by Trey. **With “Norwegian Wood” jam. #First appearance of the “Hood!” chant after the band sings “Harry,” which was initiated by flyers passed out at the show.
Source: FOB > DFC/9th row > Sonic Studios Dsm6’/Pa6lc3s (w/60khz bass rolloff) > D7 @48k > Clone