The Spirit of St. Louis

8.28.2012 – Chaifetz Arena (Jeremy Renda)

The first time stepping indoors after Bill Graham’s now-legendary third show, Phish unveiled the most impressive night of music since their memorable visit to San Francisco. Weaving a seamless second set—less one bumpy segue—the band bathed in creative improvisation all night long. If Charlotte illustrated the strength of show that Phish can drop while remaining, largely, inside the box, St. Louis showcased the magnificent places they can go when breaking down boundaries at every turn. Bringing almost every song into open-waters, and jumping into the deep with a centerpiece voyage of “Limb by Limb,” the band oozed original music in a must-hear show for all fans.  Finishing strong with the mighty combination of “2001 > You Enjoy Myself,” there were no issues with the back third of this set, in fact, there were no issues throughout the entire show, as Phish dropped the second instant-classic of Leg Two.

“Punch” 8.28.12 (R.MacNeill)

The action in St. Louis, however, hardly started in the second set. Kicking off the evening with the first Leg Two appearance of “Punch You in the Eye, the guys seemed as amped as the crowd for the indoor environs of Chaifetz Arena. A tight “Runaway Jim” set the table or the two jams of the set—“Ocelot” and “Reba.” “Ocelot” seems to be growing in prowess with each version and, though I haven’t listened back to the show due to an impending flight to Oklahoma City, last night’s rendition may just take the cake. Upon the conclusion of the dramatic take, Phish rolled right into the second “Reba” of tour—and, boy, was it a keeper. Boasting multiple peaks within a delicate exchange, this version had the venue pulsing. With such dynamic jamming so early in the night, the show elevated right almost immediately, and then the rarities started to roll. “The Curtain,” “Peaches,” “The Sloth” and “Camel Walk” all made their Leg Two debuts in a first set that benefited from stellar song selection. Earlier in the day, a buddy and I were talking about using “Curtain” sans “With” as a launch pad—as they did in former eras—and sure enough, hours later, as they were on the verge of dripping into “With,” Fish revved the drum roll intro to “Peaches!” Funny how that works sometimes—and what a one-two punch. Closing an enthralling first set with “Possum” and “Quinn,” things were primed for take off after the break.

8.28.2012 (Ryan MacNeill)

I love when Phish takes a random array of songs and sculpts them into a set of mastery. On paper, one might look at last night’s second set and not freak out, but just wait until they listen to the music! Starting with “Chalk Dust,” the band played an all-but seamless sequence that ended with “Walk Away” 45 minutes later. Breaking down the boundaries of “Chalk Dust,” “Frankie Says,” and “Undermind,” the band dove into open improv in each selection, connecting one piece to another with a creative jam and seamless segue. From the minute the band didn’t finish “Chalk Dust,” this set kept one on his toes with original jamming, airtight interplay, and surprisingly smooth transitions throughout. At home in the unknown, the band showed no inhibitions, carving out nuggets gold over the set-opening sequence. Navigating this long stretch with confidence and musical acumen, the band landed their opening foursome in a monstrous “Sand” that lit the dance floor afire. And just when you thought the guys had inked the exclamation point on this non-stop offering, on the fly, they slipped into a phenomenal version of “Walk Away” that imploded the arena.

Official St. Louis Print (A.Vastagh)

When the band started “Limb by Limb” after such extensive jamming, any rational fan had to think it would be a cool down in the middle of the set. Phish, however, upended the entire audience as they took “Limb” on its most fantastic voyage since December 3, 1999, in Cincinnati. Exploding into the stratosphere out of the usually contained song, the band unveiled the centerpiece of the night with an exploratory epic that left jaws firmly rested on the arena floor. Trey brought the multi-tiered jam to a scintillating peak before turning the ship back to shore in a jam that immediately jumped onto the top-shelf of summer highlights.

8.28.12 (R.MacNeill)

The buffer that everybody expected from “Limb” came next in a rousing “Julius” that did nothing whatsoever to slow down the set. And as the final chords of the song hit, the opening ambiance of “2001” graced the indoor air. The intensity of the dance anthem was palpably increased in the concrete surroundings, as the band had their sights set on a strong finale. And there was no other choice to finish such a magnificent night of Phish than “You Enjoy Myself.” Not seen since the end of Bill Graham’s third show, the band played a far more upbeat and cathartic version to end this one. In their tightest second set of the summer, Phish left no room for relaxation during St. Louis’ main event. A show that seemed destined to blow up—indoors on a Tuesday in a small Midwestern arena—did exactly that. With no filler of any kind, last night’s second set has immediately risen into the crème de la creme of 2012.

In the aftermath of Bill Graham’s finale, everybody wondered if Phish would put on another performance of that caliber this summer. Well, they just did.

I: Punch You In the Eye, Runaway Jim, Ocelot, Reba, I Didn’t Know, The Curtain > Peaches en Regalia, Mound, Sample in a Jar, The Sloth, Camel Walk, Possum, Quinn the Eskimo

II: Chalk Dust Torture -> Frankie Says -> Undermind -> Sand -> Walk Away, Limb By Limb, Julius, Also Sprach Zarathustra > You Enjoy Myself

E: Shine a Light

8.28.2012 – Chaifetz Arena (Jeremy Renda)

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630 Responses to “The Spirit of St. Louis”

  1. joe Says:

    did the flume more than a few times as a youngster. haven’t been in ages. The Old Man on The Mountain is gone now, right?

  2. jdub Says:

    T3,
    Funny, that is why we chose Woodstock. We’ve never been to The Flume Gorge and figured we make a weekend out of it. My son and I like to boulder so we’ll be looking for a crag somewhere as well.

    Antelope peak caused stream to explode. Fiery set ending.

    Does 20YL come out one of these last 7 sets?

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    @joe
    yup. all those years of wires, glue and whatnot couldn’t keep nature from eventually from winning that battle.

    the crazy thing about the flume is that I had forgotten about having been there as a kid and when I moved back east I was ice climbing in there and had these weird deja vu feelings that I couldn’t understand, only to be explained when I was telling my parents about my trip up there. really crazy.

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    jdub,
    i think I still have your email. i can send you some info on where to go in franconia notch for some fun bouldering and such.

  5. voopa Says:

    20 years ago (plus 1 day), after my first show, I wondered how long it would take me to get a tape of it (finally circulated last year).

    Tonight I’m listening to tonight’s show as it happens. At some point I probably figured I’d be watching shows on demand by now, but this works just fine.

  6. BingosBrother Says:

    Tour is gonna end just as ocelot is primed to blow. hope they get it in denver just to see what happens. hot as fuck last night.

  7. sumodie Says:

    Also loved the Flume as a kiddo -great choice

  8. jdub Says:

    Definite 20 Year’s Later for Voopa coming in set 2.

    That would be swell T3. I’ll keep an eye out.

  9. jdub Says:

    Ocelot coming of age.

  10. HeadyBrosevelt Says:

    hello hello! phish phish phish! i hope everyone has been enjoying the shows. i was wondering if anyone out there has an RV pass they need to get rid of- i would like to take it off of you hands… thank goodness for the return of tweezer… adios…

  11. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Ok, off to bed. Jdub, I’ll hit you up in the morning.

  12. butter Says:

    ahhh in my happy place deciding how much bane I/WE need for a 3 night run

  13. BingosBrother Says:

    Pretty sure you mean spice butter.

  14. robear Says:

    Love this Japhan stream. Sounds just like being at the ww booth at most places.

    Loving start to this set too. Phuck yeah.

  15. MiA Says:

    Woot!

  16. BingosBrother Says:

    Dude at WW stumped me yesterday rob. Asked me Jake the Snakes snakes name. Ran down the hallway and tapped me on the shoulder and told me. Everybody at shows love my Jake the Snake shirt. Even better than spice as an ice breaker.

  17. voopa Says:

    Swingin’!

  18. MiA Says:

    BGCA Friday.

  19. Albert walker Says:

    I love Jah herb too

  20. Oldskool Says:

    Butter, send over whatever you decide not to take 😉

  21. MiA Says:

    The red lights during the end of this in SF were amazing

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    RnR goes big…into Ghost

  23. Guyute711 Says:

    I think Troy is in a hurry to get to dick’s

  24. Albert walker Says:

    5 min birds again

    Call me timer

  25. Oldskool Says:

    Funny how RnR is so in rotation and now Downed has disappeared… I also wonder they are going to start playing something off of Waiting for Columbus. Usually by now something would have surfaced in occasional slot from previous Halloween.

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