A Phish Show at Cobo

3.6.09 (C.Taylor Crothers)

3.6.09 (C.Taylor Crothers)

In a relatively safe opening night, Phish kicked off their Fall ’09 tour with noteably few musical risks, a choppy setlist, and a couple of treats. With a half-empty floor and a laid-back, old-school vibe, Cobo Arena provided an intimate experience, but when the dust settles, this show will be remembered for its sublime second-set “Down With Disease > Free” and a fierce “Mike’s Groove” to end the evening. But in between – and there was a lot of in between – Phish filled the show with straight-forward pieces that amounted standard fare, and far less grit than suggested by Detroit’s urban landscape.

The first, and only, time Phish broke form from one of their jams, they did it in a big way during “Down With Disease.” Following a succinct “Runaway Jim” to open the second set, Phish launched from a blistering run through the composed “Disease” jam into an exploratory segment of music that reached deep into Phish sorcery. Crafting a stunning piece of patient and melodic improv, the band dove into collective communication that hypnotized the audience. Truly allowing the jam to fully develop in a way they haven’t often done lately, the music came to a natural conclusion before Trey began to tease the oncoming “Free.”


Arena Phish (G.Abriel)

The magnitude of indoor Phish came crashing down for the first time with this bombastic “Free.” Featuring raunchier guitar work than most modern versions, Trey seemed to get an extra kick from Cobo’s indoor environs. An experiential highlight of the set, the entire venue seemed to finally catch the same groove, and the audience exploded with that collective energy you just don’t get outside. A perfect landing point for the awesome improv that preceded, the slow-motion groove evolved into a monstrous slate for Trey to rip off lick after lick.

The Fox (B.Kisida)

The Fox (B.Kisida)

A similar phenomenon came in the late set “Mike’s Groove,” when the entire band sat into a slower pattern than we’ve come to accustomed to this summer. The indoor sound increased the dirtiness of the band’s intent, as they truly connected with the essence of the “Mike’s” jam. The entire band offered far more aggressive textures as they built, arguably, the most patient and dirtiest 3.0 version. Just hearing the opening licks of “Mike’s” in an indoor arena injected a colossal shot of intensity to a show that desperately needed it after the slower segment of “Waste,” “Taste,” “Bug,” “Velvet Sea.” A classic late set “Groove” segued into a “Hydrogen” interlude before tearing into an shredding “Weekapaug;” and indoor treat, no doubt.

A quick “Cavern,” and a crunchy “Zero” encore put an exclamation point on a well-played show that was a building block for bigger things to come. That “Disease” jam really seemed like a foreshadowing of a new direction, a lead-less, collaborative jamming that saw the band members check their ego at the door for something far greater. Although the show was certainly a warm up for things to come over the next couple of weeks, their were a few moments that proved indelible.

1st Set Notes:

In a well-played but underwhelming frame, Phish featured a tighter than usual “Foam,” and an out of character, slowly funked out “46 Days.” Though it came a bit out of context and after a long set of standards, this version of “46 Days” got into some engaging arena molasses. Thick as all get out, this standout piece moved from deep groove into an ambient segment that brought a clear shining moment to the set. A “Bowie” carried this momentum to the sets close, setting up a seemingly huge second set that never truly came to fruition.

I: AC/DC Bag, Foam, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Bouncing Around The Room, Sample In A Jar, Kill Devil Falls, It’s Ice, Horn. Mountains In The Mist, Poor Heart, 46 Days, David Bowie

II: Runaway Jim, Down With Disease > Free, Waste, Taste, Bug, Wading In A Velvet Sea, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Cavern

E: Character Zero

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676 Responses to “A Phish Show at Cobo”

  1. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @msb – I’m still heading to Barley for a few beers before MMW. Should be there by 7:00 or 7:30, heard their food isn’t bad, so I might have dinner at the bar too.

  2. msbjivein Says:

    GP420, I’ll hit you up if we make it out there tonight. I scored some killer seats for the Pacer game last night. So we kinda blew our wad til this weekend. Pacer blew like a 20pt lead in the fourth to lose to the Knicks…

  3. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @msb – I saw that. This Pacer’s team is not the best we’ve seen, but its definitely the best one since Reggie left. They are definitely playoff caliber, though young, right now. I still want to see what Hansborough can do, I think he will turn out to be have been the steal of the draft.

  4. Robear Says:

    Sorry for the re-post:

    Anyone tried ‘Transmission’ as the torrent client on a MAC to do ‘No Spoilers’?

  5. Little Buddy Says:

    I think Mist usually come in around 7 minutes – doesn’t seem to long for me. Very strong lyrics IMO. Again, the placement is key, but I really don’t see length as a problem for that tune. The lyrics also seem appropriate for a tour opening show:

    The moment seems to hang and float
    Before me with no end
    ’till I’m released, awaken beast
    I’m on the road again

    Just sayin’…

  6. msbjivein Says:

    I got the 29th & 30th for NYE run through Phish Lotto. Confirmed w/ email……Who’s got my 2 /100 level NYE 31st tix?????

  7. Billy Breathes Says:

    Mountains strikes chords so deep, many can easily miss it.

    Have a great day all….do something productive!

  8. randomreader Says:

    fyi, if any of you are the sort to actually buy livephish sbds, the audio on this show is pretty good (although the low end is down again from f8, back to where it was in late summer), however, god knows why but Cavern is MISSING FROM THE LIVEPHISH DOWNLOAD. hold off until this gets fixed.

    if you prefer auds, well, problem solved. your wallet is heavier for it.

  9. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @little buddy – Suffice it to say, I was at the acoustic set, found mountains to be OK, but my memories of so many second sets in 1999 just flat ruined by mountains have probably forever ruined the song for me. Obviously, your mileage may vary.

  10. msbjivein Says:

    Tyler looked pretty good last night. He subs in for Granger though… I’d like to see them both on the court at the time….

  11. randomreader Says:

    @robear, i tried to start a convo about that yesterday. transmission doesn’t support rss, that’s the problem. i found two programs – bitrocket and xtorrent – that support it on the mac, but as of yesterday it seemed that there was a problem with the actual rss link to piratebay – it was being rejected as an invalid feed. haven’t tried again today.

  12. Brimley Says:

    Going back to a post from Friday, some cat posted his “Phish Destroys America” ’97 funk mix, which was all in SBD…I DL’d disc 1 and 3 but couldn’t get 2 to open…Anyone else have this problem or could someone please re-post…What I already have sounds fantastic….

  13. tela'smuff Says:

    surprised to see people hate on Mist. It’s one of my favorite Phish ballads. The Hampton ’03 version is one of my all-time favorite Phish moments. It always reminds me of GD’s Standing on the Moon.

    anyways, looks like a solid opener but kind of standard fare for Phish 3.0. I hope they bring back that 2nd leg Summer shit to Cincy. For real.

    lots of song choices for Cincy. I want a nice dark Tweezer.

  14. randomreader Says:

    also re: mountains – always struck me as the most dead-like song in their repertoire (notwithstanding trey’s assertion that alaska was a stab at writing their ‘tennessee jed’… sorry but fail), which made me glad when i got to hear it. it’s so gentle. then again i never experienced any overdosing of the tune.

  15. Robear Says:

    ^thx, randomreader.

    I’ve had no luck with the no spoilers on this MAC. I’ll check bt.etree.org

    Around 7000 in attendance? Apparently, most heads left Michigan years ago. Someone needs to tell the ones that still live there, it’s okay to like Phish now.

  16. Little Buddy Says:

    GP420 –

    I hear ya. For some reason Mist has always spoken to me. I didn’t see a ton of shows from 1999-2004 (maybe 25). Saw most of my shows between 1994-1998. So I have probably only seen Mist a half-dozen times or so, maybe a little more. I just never found it to be a let down, more of a reflective breather. I had a downright epiphany during the Mist at Hampton in ’03 – so I think that has a huge impact on my opinion of the song. Its a deep tune for me, but like I said, I get where your coming from.

  17. Birddog Says:

    Brimley –

    That was me – I had to repost second disk because the initial link was dead – I used winzip to compress it, which seems to give people some trouble. Let me see if I can repost it.

  18. Dan Says:

    Anyone else notice that no covers we played???

    Also, no Joy songs in the 2nd set????

    But the meat in set 2 was a snoozefest if you ask me….

  19. Danny B Says:

    I got nuttin’ in the lottery, and neither did my girl. Gues I’ll try ticketmaster on saturday, at this point I’m really only concerned with the 30th and the 31st. I have a feeling the other tickets will be a lot cheaper once I get down to sunny Miami. Anybody got extras?

    oh and btw Mist is a cool song when placed correctly in the set, I concur on January 03, that was my birthday show, ‘mist’ and ‘what’s the use’ made that show for me.

  20. ub40 Says:

    I have a pair of extras for msg1 if anyone still needs tix.


    see yall in cinci!!

  21. Dan Says:

    Also, I think the LP has Weekapaug with Cavern like how they did on Asheville Sample->Moma on the same track.
    Just an FYI.

  22. axillalot Says:

    anyone who has dwnloaded last night’s show from LP – cavern is there – it’s just not tracked out seperately. they put it in w/ weekapaug all in the same track.

  23. Dan Says:

    And lastly, the Hampton Mist in ’03 meant so much with “On the road again” line and a perfect sandwhich in Mikes.
    The 2nd set was the best time of this 4 day run (w/ MSG) and I was lucky to have been there.
    The boys “spoke” to me with their song choice and playing in the 2nd set. I left a happy man knowing Phish was back even with the flubbs over the couple days.
    RnR – exactly that
    Mikes – The awaited Mikes groove and nicely played—
    Mist – On the road again…
    Paug – nasty fishman everywhere….
    WTU – of even playing anymore???
    DWD – THIS IS THE FUCKIN’ USE!!!!!!!!!!!
    FEFY – But are we fast enough for you????
    2001 – Damn straight we are and more!!!!!
    Friday – We all wish it was friday again and we could do it all over again. (the hampton shows were fri, sat and sun.) I dont like the song but the placement and meaning was everything…

  24. randomreader Says:


    how stupid, but what a relief

  25. sumodie Says:

    i found two programs – bitrocket and xtorrent – that support it on the mac, but as of yesterday it seemed that there was a problem with the actual rss link to piratebay – it was being rejected as an invalid feed

    Heard piratebay was being shut down (though it’s still operational right now?) -no idea if this is causing your problems…

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