33 in 33 #29 08/28/2012 Chaifetz Arena, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO (Scott Bernstein, @YEMBlog)
Selection: “Limb by Limb”
Memo’s “Other Jams” Memo: Super Cool “Peaches>Mound” Great Opening Run to open the second set “Chalkdust->Frankie Says->Undermind->Sand->Walk Away”
From Scott Bernstein:
Many of us who attend and/or listen to tons of Phish shows, yearn for the band to “jam out” songs they don’t usually “jam out.” While nearly every Phish song has improvisational elements, there are plenty of tunes that are more about a structured guitar solo than full-band jamming. One of those songs is “Limb By Limb,” and when Trey, Mike, Page and Fish lit into the song at Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis on August 28, 2012 you couldn’t help but think a standard version of the tune was in store. However, about five minutes into this “Limb By Limb” all bets were off and by the end of the 13-minute plus take we had been treated to one of the best jams of the tour.
Now, this isn’t to say that Phish has never jammed out “Limb By Limb” before, because they most certainly have. Early in the song’s history, Phish took “Limb By Limb” out for long spin at The Great Went and also delivered impressive “out of the box” versions of the tune on December 3, 1999 and February 18, 2003. Yet in the current era of Phish, the quartet toyed with jamming “Limb By Limb” beyond its normal boundaries at points, but didn’t fully dive off the deep end until St. Louis.
Phish had few issues getting through the complicated composed section that leads to the solo. Page McConnell quickly asserts himself at the 3:24 mark, offering a counter-melody to the riff Trey lays down at the start of his solo. As Fish holds a steady rhythm, Page, Trey and Mike push and prod each other with beautiful riffs, but it’s Anastasio that changes things with a bit of whale calling at the 4:30 mark. McConnell now keeps the “Limb” melody going, which allows Fish to alter his poly-rhythmic beat as he doesn’t have to anchor the jam. The band comes back together in “typical” “Limb By Limb” fashion as we near the seven-minute mark, though it’s clear Trey is looking to break on through to a darker jam space.
Anastasio drops these dark, clunky rhythms at 7:45 that act as a game-changer. His band mates quickly follow his lead and by 8:20 we have left “Limb By Limb” boundaries and are in “International Waters” if you will.
Most Phish jams find Page following Trey’s lead, but in this glorious version we see many instances of the reverse happening. McConnell creatively weaves impressive rhythm and lead work depending on what Trey’s doing. Eventually Big Red takes the lead and we’re off into an anthemic jam at the 11-minute-mark that features killer machine gunning from the guitarist. Page, Mike and Fish push their bandmates to great heights as the jam reaches a glorious peak at 11:50 that’s so far from anything Phish has ever played before in “Limb By Limb.” It’s the kind of victorious peak that makes me want to raise my hands and signal touchdown.
While I wish this otherworldly bit of improv never ended, after a few minutes of Trey power-riffing while Page offers organ washes, Trey gives Fish a head nod and the drummer starts the end of the song. All in all, there’s eight minutes of pure awesomeness in the Chaifetz Limb By Limb that makes it one of the standout moments of Phish Summer Tour ‘12.
The beauty of the St. Louis “Limb By Limb” is that it’s the gift that keeps giving. I know for myself, I’ll be much more excited when Phish plays the tune this summer. Now that we know what the quartet is capable of when it comes to “Limb By Limb,” we can hope they’ll explore it once more. Soon enough we’ll see what the future holds for “Limb By Limb.”
The best in the business…Scott Bernstein. You could just follow YEMblog on twitter and know everything going on about Phish. As great of a job as Scotty does, he is an even nicer guy. Working tirelessly to promote other people’s work, and willing to help in any way possible. Scotty recently scored his “dream job” as editor at JamBase. Nobody will do a better job and I couldn’t be happier for him.
Things Scotty works on…
Future editor of JamBase
Current editor of HiddenTrack
Curator of YEMblog
Favorite Ghost: Radio City 5/22/00