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. SillyWilly Says:

    dropped into the baseball metaphors for a sec, AJ

    my bad.

  2. jdub Says:

    My only hope is they practice for MSG this fall. Fall tour would be fire but I kind of agree with Sumo. A studio album to capture the level of playing would be a great cap to this summer. Plus, it forces a reboot of song rotation.

    My only “complaint” this summer is lack of 2.0 gems.

  3. SillyWilly Says:

    If I had my druthers they’d do studio and tour

    but if I had to pick I’d take the tour.

    If I had to compromise, I’d take a tour with a week practice before to introduce 6-8 songs to the rotation.

    those songs could include Scabbard, Pigtail, and the all-but forgotten: Liquidtime.

  4. MiA Says:

    That Limb x Limb just gave me an extra limb.

  5. Duder Says:

    Still don’t get all the Liquid Time love… shit is a straight up Straits rip-off
    nothing original at all. and Pigtail, meh. leave that for TAB as well

  6. SillyWilly Says:

    I love Mark Knopfler so the ripping off doesn’t bother me.

    I like it because I think it could give the band the texture to make some unique jams out of it.

  7. Duder Says:

    I think they can do better is all.
    Push the envelope on the writing a ‘lil more.

  8. Spasm Waiter Says:

    Duder- have you caught a liquid time live? It is a cool song with definite echoes of straits but the back end jam is pretty sick and would be huge opened up on the phish stage. Not for you?

  9. Duder Says:

    Yes Spasm
    @ the Fillmore Charlotte we caught both tunes. Leo and I kept asking each other what the big deal was/is… Still can’t figure it out.

    I guess it’s too blatant of a rip-off to get behind, and we were like “Where’s this epic jam?”

  10. Kaveh Says:

    Morning BBers!

    @Miner: thanks for the review; looking forward to spinning this show today.

  11. SillyWilly Says:

    I agree, Dude. I guess I’m selling Phish’s song-craftmanship a little short.

    one thing I’m a little scared of is how much cheeze is in Trey’s head these days.

    would prefer some darkness to counter-act Joy…in fact, they should write a song “Dark” and turn it into the new Light

    put it in an unusual time like Split and then get weird with it everytime

  12. Duder Says:

    ‘one thing I’m a little scared of is how much cheeze is in Trey’s head these days.”-SW

    You and me both

  13. SillyWilly Says:

    I meant I agree on the “I think they can do better is all.”

    I genuinely do like the song liquidtime, but I can see how it’s Straits-ishness is distracting

  14. Xpun Says:

    Happy Bday hazel mango

    What I love about MiA is when he screws up like pg2 and you think I’m going to bust his ass on that, he always beats you to it.

    An album would make new years run interesting with debuts. I prolly couldn’t see much this fall so not too bummed about no tour. But they are on fire. And fall 10 was a great tour. I’m all for halloween costumes. Ween ’13!

  15. Dgrooves Says:

    St. Louis deserved some special treatment after the slop fest the boys dropped at the Fox in ’09. The energy level in that tiny little (and relatively brand new) college basketball arena was bar none the most I have experienced at a Phish show. Troy was bouncing around like he was playing Tweeprise for the duration of both sets…lol. The special sauce was laid on thick and we all took a giant bite. Great write up Miner. My jaw was on the floor LONG before that Limb. RUN…don’t wak to spin this show.

    P.S. Your welcome to whoever “found” a poster tube containing a LE print. I had lost it right on my seat six inches from me bum.

  16. Spasm Waiter Says:

    I Gotcheez. I like the outro jam. They do need some darkness though. Having kids doesn’t seem to promote darkness.

  17. robear Says:

    Spirit of St. Louis. Heard it here first.

    CDT melty, but way too short for much listen back love. Really had a nice groove going. Nice seam into Frankie, but…….

  18. bob dylan Says:

    Having a boss, that’s that shit I don’t like
    Working for custies, that’s that shit I don’t like

    Phish melting faces all tour, that’s that shit I do like

    Gdad, where’s the meetup tonight?

  19. DaNcInG fOoL Says:


  20. robear Says:

    Another butter Smooth segue from Frankie>Undermind. Frankie also too short for the love it needs.

    Two amazing segues. Guess I’m not to the beef yet.

  21. robear Says:

    Good eye Df! Guess he didn’t use my ‘Spirit of St Louis’ after all. Lulz

  22. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    gdad, you on top of this?

  23. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    obviously, a nautical reference 🙄

  24. bouncin fan Says:

    agree Robear. great set but doesn’t quite breathe enough. very well played with smooth segues.

    just doesn’t have the real open jammy flow other top shelf sets have had

    def best set since BGCA 3 IMO

    LxL is a total monster.

    Undermind gets the pinner treatment two times in a row. maybe Troy needs to spin UIC 1.

  25. bouncin fan Says:

    great set though.

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