Phish Plays 20-Minute 1st Set ‘Ghost’ In Albany On Fall Tour 1999
This year marks 25 years since Phish’s historic Fall Tour 1995. In recognition of that noteworthy tour and to make up for the lack of shows this fall, JamBase presents a daily retrospective highlighting a noteworthy moment from a Phish fall tour concert that took place on that date over the past 25 years (read a note on Fall 1997 here). The 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour series runs each day between the start of Phish Fall Tour 1995 on September 27 through that tour’s finale on December 17.
Phish has only played once on October 9 in the past 25 years. The show they played on October 9, 1999 was the first of two at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, New York where Phish first played (when it was still the Knickerbocker Arena) in December 1995. The Albany shows were the last two of the first leg of Phish’s Fall Tour 1999, which would resume with another leg that December.
More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
According to Phish.net, since making its debut on June 22, 1997 during a single set Phish show in Germany, “Ghost” has been played by the band an additional 181 times. Of those instances when the story of the “Ghost” was told at a Phish show, barely more than 50 have come during the first set — or like its debut — during a single set performance.
The Phish.net Jam Chart entry for the October 9, 1999 “Ghost” clocks the rendition at 23 minutes and 01 second in length. At around the 14-minute mark, the “Ghost” jam takes a noticeable turn from the high-spirited, highly energized interplay that began the improvisation, developing into an ambient, spacey, minimalist soundscape.
There seems to have been some debate at the time as to whether or not Phish segued into their instrumental “My Left Toe” when the “Ghost” jam started to get out there.
Both setlist compendiums, The Pharmer’s Almanac, Vol 6 and The Phishing Companion that came out in 2000 included “My Left Toe” between “Ghost” and “Free” on October 9, 1999. The current listing on Phish.net does not include “MLT” between “Ghost” and “Free” and the jam chart description takes it a step further, stating:
Classic ’99-style “Ghost” jamming breaks into a serene and light groove that some hear as “My Left Toe,” but it’s not. Instead, it’s just great Phish. -> to “Free.”
The Albany ’99 “Ghost” was one of four songs played that night worthy of Phish.net Jam Chart entries. Along with the first set’s “Ghost” (and perhaps “MLT”), the second set began with standout renditions of “Limb By Limb” and “2001,” the latter notably stretching past the 20-minute threshold. The evening’s encore, “Slave To The Traffic Light,” also landed on the jam chart.
Decide if there was a “My Left Toe” or not by listening to the “Ghost” Phish played on October 9, 1999 below (click to start at “Ghost”):