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. MiA Says:

    Agreed Kaveh about the tone. Absolutely hate it. Sounds like dog shit. Destroys any quality sound to Reba. Hope it was just a bad amp issue or something that they are getting fixed.

    I know AW likes that dirty tone form 2003-4, but I think it sounds like a teenager’s first 15W gorilla amp rig. Totally destroys the work of the Luthier.

  2. Duder Says:

  3. Kevin Says:

    Is there going to be a meetup in Denver? I dont comment much but generally read the board. Would like to meet a few of you.

  4. bouncin fan Says:

    not sure I get that at all MIA

    his 2003-2004 rig was tube screamer into a vintage Fender Deluxe

    about as purist as you can get from a tone perspective

    i mean blackface deluxe is tone heaven. if anything tone geeks cringe at even the thought of using that Ross in your effects chain. totally destroys the tube amps natural crunch.

    he doesn’t even run the fender’s anymore so no way that’s what you are hearing from last night

  5. Blakeson Says:

    I’ll take Atlanta over St. Louis. I loved the segues and Frankie bust out last night, but I prefer whole band excursions and more Mike-led jams like Atlanta’s Golden Age, rather than Trey-shredding Sand or Limb. Loving the new jam tunes: CDT, KDF, LxL, Frankie. Just when jam song selection was getting a wee stale they flip the switch. Colorado is going to be HUGE!

  6. Kaveh Says:

    I haven’t heard that background guitar crunch after the first part of Reba…must have been a fixable situation. Just curious about it. I’ll see if it pops up again through out the rest of the show.

  7. phoammhead Says:

    anybody else look but not fine the year 2012 in the zoo poster . . . i guess not necessary since first time in the state and a fan should know that, right?

  8. Dorn76 Says:

    Not what I was referencing in regards to the tone. We no like no messy tones in my Rebas.

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    fish crushes the build in that LxL

  10. tela'smuff Says:

    Drove from Erie to Andover, KS. In bed by 2:30am. 2 1/2 hour drive this mornin, once I get out of bed.

    I’m gonna puff and hit the zoo. If anybody wants to join me that’s there hit me up. Funkybch gmail.

  11. angryjoggerz Says:

    Happy 100th show, Tela’smuff. Enjoy your pie!

  12. MiA Says:

    Yeah, by YEM, he’s got much of the sustain back. This crunchygroove feed sounds so compressed and questionable, that it’s really hard to tell. Already distortion in the source. Maybe I’m knee jerk reacting.

    @AW, I think that Fender Deluxe sounds fine with a solid body guitar like the Strat or Tele or if you want to sound like Billy Gibbons or SRV. But IMO, you’re not gonna get that natural bright rounded sustain, as (in my experience) those amps have a sharp cutoff and decay in the signal as well as clipping.

    Trey was trying to cover his slop with lots of distortion in 2004 IMO. No reason he would do that now. He’s guitar George, and he knows all those fancy chords.

    I’ll take the BGCA YEM over this one though. Doesn’t do anything for me.

  13. Dorn76 Says:

    Not liking tonight’s poster. Drippy psychedelia is welcome at the show though!

  14. angryjoggerz Says:

    This cat Drew Millward is killing it on the posters.

  15. MiA Says:

    Get ’em Tela’s.

  16. MiA Says:

    Yeah, same poster guy as Starlake. Bodes well.

  17. snow Says:

    Dl codes?
    Remember the good ole days when they flowed freely?
    snowbank bb @ gmail

    Good morning team. Love to wake to a glowing review.
    Spun BGCA 3 in the hot tub last night: awesome.

  18. snow Says:

    sweet poster.

    all of a sudden the Phish are in bust out mode, huh?
    After 6 shows with the same 20 songs they are spicing it up a bit.

  19. snow Says:

    @Rob – My sis says she really enjoyed meeting you. Thanks for helping her out. She’s gonna bring some north, soI will get to sample. I’m stoked.

  20. Multibeast Says:

    just want to wish a big happy 100th show tonight to tela’smuff
    ^Alright telas! Have a blast tonight.

  21. bouncin fan Says:


    Neil Young’s tone = perfection
    Santana = terrible

    subjective I guess. I still think Troy’s TAB tone in during the hiatus was the pinnacle of his guitar sound

    that compressor is just so cheeze for me. hate that 92 divided tone. yuck.

  22. thedayman Says:

    Excellent show last night. Every song had extra sPiCe on it. Second set smoked, top to bottom. Not an all out jam fest, but mini jams on everything, with an out there limb. I really enjoyed the yem, but to each their own.

  23. Guyute711 Says:

    Happy 100th tela’s. I’ll have to try to catch you next tour.

  24. bouncin fan Says:

    as someone that goes completely nuts by the overuse of the term

    “extra sauce”

    I fully endore dayman’s use of the term “extra sPiCe”

    need to use that one going forward.

  25. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Seems like they pre-empted any animal set ideas with some songs last night.

    My phast has been going strong.

    Safe Travel’s Tela’s! Enjoy the show!

    Denver Meet-Up? On lot is best bet.

    There have been rumblings about a post up spot that is easy to get to for those driving and getting out is easy as well.

    Still have space at the inn I am at… justino AT azheads DOT com

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