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. negev79 Says:

    Nice, Tela’s! May you get a DogLog!

  2. BooVT Says:

    Just another great review, Miner. Haven’t heard a note yet, and can’t wait to listen. Unfortunately, there’s work in the way… And then fifth grade football practice… Looks like crunchygrooves will help rock me to sleep tonight. I love this band.

  3. SillyWilly Says:


    your avatar just made sense to me!

    I can’t wait for Dick’s to get here, too.

  4. Guyute711 Says:

    You would think TreyDHD would get bored playing the same handful of songs on TAB tour. I do like me some Dr Teeth on keys though.

  5. SillyWilly Says:


    you guys wouldn’t be running the old Wing T, wouldya?

    best little league offense ever.

  6. negev79 Says:

    @SW 🙂

    It’s also a tattoo I have on my leg.

  7. Dorn76 Says:

    Totally agree that TAB has been in the box and a bit boring of late. But I always drop that Plasma just to show what they still can do.

    Most of the way through Set 1, and it’s sounding great. + version of Reba.

  8. bouncin fan Says:

    luckily TAB sold out before my girl can grab tickets.

  9. BooVT Says:

    Yup, it’s the Wing T, but please don’t ask me any details. I’m a hockey player, and don’t know anything about football except that I like to watch it on TV. For football, I just help carry water bottles and do what I’m told…

  10. Guyute711 Says:

    I agree that Plasma is the goods.

  11. sumodie Says:

    All wax’d out with nuthin’ to do in Denver?

    Check out the brand new museum dedicated wholly to Clyfford Still, an under the radar American abstract expressionist

    aaahhhhhhh, what a LxL!

  12. Multibeast Says:

    Great write up miner! Gonna start spinning now. Gonna be hard to not go straight to Sand->Walk Away, Limb by Limb, 2001->YEM….

    Amped for Dicks.

  13. Kaveh Says:

    just want to wish a big happy 100th show tonight to tela’smuff

    ^ Agreed!

  14. SillyWilly Says:

    Awesome, BooVT

    You’ll be a great coach if you just let 5th graders be 5th graders.

    only thing a little league coach can mess up in my opinion is making them hate the game early.

    good luck on the season, man!

  15. SillyWilly Says:

    I really like it, Negev!

  16. Duder Says:

    CLT was 145 for me…

  17. SillyWilly Says:

    Nice rec, Sumo.

    thanks a lot!

  18. sumodie Says:

    or go to the Chautauqua Park on the NW side of Boulder and hike up to the Flatirons

  19. Kaveh Says:

    What is up with Trey’s guitar tone in St. Louis? Anyone notice it live? I’m noticing it throughout this first set. Kind of a background electric crunchy sound. @Miner: did you catch it? It is a new sound for summer tour for sure.

  20. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    cool pic from last night

  21. SillyWilly Says:

    Phish should capitalize on this Mayan end of the world thing

    they should play Indio in December.

    might be cold. but we might be dead later.

    Phish in jeans and hoodie would be alright by me.

  22. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Limb by Limb is great.

    Woke up on the couch last night at 2am. Checked the setlist on my phone and remember thinking, meh…. Was definitely wrong. Great flow.

    CDT>Frankie Says>Undermind is serious.

  23. Dorn76 Says:

    Caught that clearly at the end of Jim @Kaveh. Love the nasty new-ish tone.

    Write up on Trey’s new solo album…Would be ugly around here if this was all we had on our plate.

  24. butter Says:

    Great write up Miner!!

    Went to sleep last night, with a medical lollipop and limb x limb

    Ultra tasty…

    Morning Flegionares

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Why isn’t it Friday today?

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