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. voopa Says:

    I’m so ready to just say fuck it and start driving to Denver.

  2. alf Says:

    well comrades, i’ll be seeing you in denver

    if there’s any extra floors out there for any night hit me up alienlifeform2001 at ghee mail

  3. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Got room for you at the inn voopa.

  4. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    for voopa

  5. SillyWilly Says:


    nice, Alf!

  6. MiA Says:

    Antoine Dodson FTW

  7. dusty Says:

    @voopa. Leaving for denver later this afternoon from tahoe if you want to catch a ride.

  8. alf Says:

    holy shit do i have a lot to do the next 2 days

    fuck troy!!!!

  9. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    have we heard from lycan, bearito, chef, or any other folk down yonder?

  10. MiA Says:

    Voopa needs to step up like AW and SW did and just do it. That’s how rock stars do it. Be a rock star Voopa. You’ll never regret it.

  11. voopa Says:

    Man it’s tempting. Calling in sick at the end of the first week of the new fiscal year w/out any time off to take would be pretty bad form. Better to start saving for next year. Besides, I have to hold down to home front this weekend, so the SBDs and ‘casts will have to suffice.

    Thanks for the push though. Maybe things will change in the next few hours.

  12. MiA Says:

    Holding down home front was my excuse not to see Phish last year before Dick’s.

    Man did I regret that.

    Our Fiscal year starts Oct. 1st.

  13. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    voopa, i’ll go if you go

  14. MiA Says:

    I personally know I’m gonna be bummed on Sunday night that it will be the last Live Phish until … probably MSG. Bittersweet.

  15. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Scott Marks ‏@bizarchive
    last night was the first time 5 songs in a row were connected by ->s since 10/30/10’s Tweezer/Zeppelin seguefest #phish

    Duder- gonna start spinning those Dead shows I grabbed from you on Saturday. Maybe that 11/1/85 first.

  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:


    Doooo Eeeet!

  17. kenny powers Says:

    wow i LOVE the look of that second set. Has its own persona.

  18. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    You never know when soon enough will be too late!

  19. kenny powers Says:

    Speaking of Dead, I’m super pumped they’re releasing an abridged 2-CD set of some choice picks from the Spring 1990 box set. I love me some Dead but am not enough of a fan to drop $200 on the big set.

  20. bouncin fan Says:

    Until we get hologram Jerry leading spring GD tour the geeks from Vermont are the last of a dying breed. I tend to view these runs as if they could be the last. Not just last Phish shows but this entire psychedelic and music based travelling to see shows culture. I would catch everything I could right now.

    Who knows how long this experiment continues. Especially you youngsters that are just starting to catch shit. See it while you can kids.

  21. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    we’ll always have umphrey’s yo

  22. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    ew, just typing that as a joke makes me cringe

  23. Mr. Palmer Says:

    Hadn’t heard that KP, really? That’s great. I too, am reluctant to drop that kinda loot these days.

    Who is in for MSG? Only thing i have to look forward to. I’m sure I’ll end up catching TAB at the Beacon in late Oct. even though it sold out immediately. Still, besides RCMH, the best venue in NYC IMO….The Beacon!

    Phish with GCH there in ’94 is still a great memory. Sick!

  24. dusty Says:

    what brought me back to phish initially a few years ago was my father almost passing. Made me realize that life is too short to not be happy. This past winter I came inches from my own death. Gotta get yours before life gets you.

  25. DaNcInG fOoL Says:

    I’ll be at MSG.

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