A Ghost Encounter

3.7.08 (D.Pecoraro)

3.7.08 (D.Pecoraro)

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.


3.7.09 (D.Pecoraro)

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.

Hampton (D.Pecoraro)

Hampton (D.Pecoraro)

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.

Hampton (D.Pecoraro)

Hampton (D.Pecoraro)

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.

3.8.09 (J.DiGiuseppe)

"AC/ DC Bag" 3.8.09 (J.DiGiuseppe)

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



8.6.96 Red Rocks < LINK

8.6.96 Red Rocks < TORRENT LINK

8.4.96 (J.Richter)

8.4.96 Red Rocks (J.Richter)

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

Taper: J.P.

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438 Responses to “A Ghost Encounter”

  1. Pence Says:

    I know im not the only one. It would just be nice, not having to go through the live nation/tickemaster hassle. Im not saying that I deserve it more than the next guy with the same love. I certainly deserve it more than someone who is just going to turn around and sell it for a profit. Fingers Crossed and positive thoughts.

  2. Chalkdustin Says:

    Positive thoughts indeed, Pence. I think we’re all trying not to completely lose it today, and I for one can’t get anything done right now.

  3. bhizzle Says:

    @ dyda

    I’m not sure but if you’re into horse racing it may be during the show maybe during the track season and if you’re into golf there’s a course right next to venue in the state park that I hear is not so shabby.


    “during horn” lol

  4. whole tour! Says:

    the hampton ghost was indeed superb….but my all time favorite ghosts occured in a little ole place in the heart of the south known formerly and always as lakewood ampitheater:

    7-23-1997…hands down the most epic dose of the funk ever laid down upon this land…picture hal from 2001 going berzerk and destroying a whole crowd of people. I have never before or since witnessed phish firing so rapidly on all cylinders. During page’s first solo he clearly teases “Whip it baby”, the classic 80’s funk song later used in a tampon commercial. “whip it baby, whip it right, whip it baby…whip it all night!”

    07-04-1999 – Ghost > slave….one of the darkest and most ghastly ghosts ever. Accented by that 4th of july vibe with fireworks going off everywhere, balloons full of glowsticks, and tripping faces melting into pools on the ground. dirty dirty dirty jam that segued perfectly into a “slave” for the ages.

    runner up: 7-27-2003 raleigh ghost….straight up dirty dirty rock and roll ghost…and the return of our bass player MIKE GORDON!

    congrats to everyone who scored in lottery leg two!

  5. Dividedsky Says:

    I got spac what do think my chances of getting Hartford are like considering it is the worst venue on the tour?

  6. paulyh Says:

    Miner,please stop it with all the hampton posts day after day..now im reading about a subpar Ghost from hampton..that was the past lets look toward the future..YES HAMPTON WAS A GREAT RETURN,LETS MOVE ON!!!!!!
    Ghost:7-1-97 is my pick of the day

  7. contact420 Says:

    I like the Ghost from Deer Creek ’98 myself. Don’t know how it stands up to the rest.

  8. whole tour! Says:

    ^^ deer creek 98 is a sick sick ghost! one of my all time favorites….i only considered ghosts i happened to witness, but that deer creek 98 ghost is another example of the jam firing on all cylinders! fo sho!

  9. c0wfunk Says:

    So many great ghosts.. I honestly never saw one that disappointed.. From the moment those tapes came over from euro97 tour, to witnessing its 15 min debut at va beach that summer, two nights later in the atl it takes over the world to its reworking and maturation..this song has been one of the most consistently great jam vehicles in phish’s repertoire.
    Regarding too much hampton talk– this is phish’s future.. Dwelling on 10 year old jams and thinking somehow they make new jams “subpar” is living in the past!!

  10. dyda Says:

    2.15.03 – 801 days since last ghost
    8.3.03 – IT ghost has a pretty great peak

    from the phish companion: portland 9.12.99 – “colossal virtual reality train ride across the wind-swept moors of 9th century england diving into a vortex which dumps out into orbit around saturn”

  11. Los Says:

    Not a phan of ranking songs or shows

  12. Brimley Says:

    Pauly, I believe Miner stated right after Hampton that he was going to write a few in depth reviews of various songs, topics, etc. pertaining to the run….so if you don’t like it, don’t read it. Ghost pick for me: 10/9/99

  13. whole tour! Says:

    if loving the 7-23-1997 ghost is living in the past…then call me marty mcfly…lol

    j/k…i never called the hampton ghost subpar…i actually liked it!

    the piper, however, that’s a different story. I was shocked that the piper at hampton had no “jam” at all. It was pretty much wham, bam, thank you maam….i was a little shocked that they touched so briefly on what had once been such an epic launching point.

    i guess 2003 was the year of the epic pipers…. i guess i kinda got used to the 20+ minute piper adventures. i’m not knocking hampton at all, but i hope by summer tour they open this bad boy up again.

  14. c0wfunk Says:

    @Los “best comment ever” 😉

  15. c0wfunk Says:

    Wholetour my comments were @ paulyh (end of last page) who says hampton was subpar then calls out 7-1-97. I have nothing against listening to old shows and loving them (loving this rr 95 right now) and favorite versions. But “best evers” that make people see new versions as “subpar” drives me crazy..

  16. whole tour! Says:

    ^ word….its all gravy mang!

  17. A_Glide Says:

    My favorite Ghost was from IT

    Limestone Space Funk was HEAVY

  18. Chalkdustin Says:

    @ whole tour

    I share your thoughts on the Hampton Piper. It wasn’t bad (I was stoked to hear it), but it wasn’t as poignant is it usually is for me. Seemed a bit tired- dare I say. I’m hoping to hear it over the summer as well when they let that beast out of it’s cage!

  19. c0wfunk Says:

    @wholetour… Think of the piper in the context of piper>birds … Grooving along and then BAM the birds chords bust through in all their dissonant glory “its easy sometimes when u just coast along…”. I think this is a conscious musical statement, and seen in that light, instead of compared to all time pipers, its a whole different thing. This is one reason the “best” thing gets me.. It takes away from the song’s place in the context of the show, which to me is more important than how it stacks up to past versions.

  20. Brimley Says:

    I’m going to download one of these 95-96 Red Rocks shows and haven’t heard any of them yet…which COMPLETE would be best…?

  21. contact420 Says:

    there both great runs

  22. c0wfunk Says:

    So far I’ve gotten through 1.5 of the 95 run and the only “must hear” is the slave..melt is pretty hot too. Haven’t gotten to mikes>groove yet. Haven’t heard the 96 shows in ages

  23. paulyh Says:

    Well I wasnt aware of that,pardon my mistake!
    Ghost->Johnny B.Goode..says it all good!

  24. c0wfunk Says:

    All good indeed 🙂

    Man I should be working but all I can do is “refresh”

  25. cottle Says:

    Favorite Ghost?….Hampton, 11/22/97, hands down. Part of a whopper of a four-song second set. Ghost was still evolving at that point (though you could make the argument that evolution never really stops), it had changed a little bit from the Ghost we were introduced to in Summer ’97, but hadn’t yet morphed into what it became a few years later. Of course, the song eventually regresed back to its basic form. Does anybody else miss those swirly, delay-loop tones that they used to use at the Ghost intro? “schweeeee-ooooooo, schweeeee-oooooo, schweeeee-oooooooo” Yall know what I’m talking about.

    Anyone gotten their lottery response yet? I knew I should have just stayed home today….too excited to get any work done!

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