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. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ aw- will look for you. we should hit a spliff or 5

  2. Mr.Miner Says:

    “Torn and Frayed” will open one of the Cincy set IIs. Mark it.

  3. joe Says:

    now, Cocaine AND mushrooms. that’s a great combo. (at least that’s what I’ve heard from some people) Sorry, I know this is a serious topic.

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    But is that really an ego boost, so much as a confidence boost?

    In the narrower Freudian sense these two things are…not identical, but very similar. High confidence implies strong ego and vice versa, they cannot exist separately.

    Caveat: Freud was wrong in the details about almost everything. His notion of “ego” is one that most people are familiar with. A useful shorthand.

  5. albert walker Says:

    love that Torn and Frayed
    I’ll take you up on that Miner
    and the spliffs

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    @joe, not saying it wasn’t fun in its time. But that’s why it gets people in trouble. When I said “boring” I mean “I found small amounts boring and only really enjoyed freebasing big loads” which ain’t sustainable

    I do know some folks who can do blow and keep it in perspective. Not implying that everyone who does a little yayo now and again has a problem.

    To each their own, not preaching here, just be careful

  7. beepaphone Says:

    I could see the torn and frayed. Bout due maybe for a Timber, not that it really matters. Cincy is set to be a good time.

  8. joe Says:

    Mr. C. – like most of us on here, I’m way past my prime. Anything I speak of is generally far back in the rear view mirror.

  9. butter Says:

    @cowfunk – funny about TTE, i would watch that dvd if i wasn’t still being c**k teased with the notion of it showing up at my door step…

    no but for real, i was drivin around with a nice morning kush buzz and TTE from f8 was playin on the ipod and i decided its legit

    it has a dark tone fore sure, and you are so right about them bein passionate to play it. can’t wait to see that dvd. as an artist you need new material to motivate and stay creative, this is what keeps Phish shows from being a “greatest hits” ordeal.

  10. Mr.Miner Says:

    you guys are drugged out hippies 😉

  11. Mr.Miner Says:

    that disease is pretty insane huh? fully developed collaborative jamming, nothing cut short, landing in a sick Free….wasn’t a show with a ton of high points, but that one was hiiiigh

  12. Mr.Miner Says:

    TTE is legit, just not for a Phish show 😉

  13. Mitch Says:

    Starting Disease now! loading bubbler…. Liftoff in approx 8 mins

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    word joe

    we’re talking about heavy subjects here, I have opinions like everyone, but I’d hate if peeps think I’m preaching

    I’m 100% about everyone following their own path

    Let your life proceed by its own design

  15. Mitch Says:

    TTE was awesome with NY Philharmonic. but like many people have discussed, not for a rock show.

  16. Mitch Says:

    did i forget to mention, forget to mention track pants? adidas in the house. work day will soon be forgotten.

  17. flarrdogg Says:

    Gotta disagree there, Mr. C, on the strong ego- high confidence link. Used to think that, but I’m pretty sure big ego is an inability to get outside of thinking of one’s self- for better, or worse. I can be an ‘egomaniac’ and still completely hate myself. It simply means that I am totally focused on me. No time for you. I’m the center of the universe. Again, my self image can be a totally negative one- doesn’t matter. Just means I’m completely self involved.

    ‘Egomaniac with an inferiority complex’ ring any bells?

  18. joe Says:

    one of the reasons I enjoy killing time here is the variety of insightful opinions that people have here that are grounded in facts/experience, etc. Not much of the usual internet blowhardery in the discussion. I never really perceive any of your opinions as preaching at all. I was just trying to lighten the mood for a second in my own mind as well and remember an incredible buzz that I had one night in Jamaica about 8 years ago.

  19. butter Says:

    when i was a youngin’ fightin my Dads morals and ideals to do GD tour i asked my Dad

    “what would you say if i said, ‘let your life proceed by its own design”

    he said “that sounds like some Grateful Dead BS”

  20. Mitch Says:

    and not to belittle your serious convo, which i just totally avoided pages back but has anyone said:

    “cocaine’s a helluva drug” yet? thought it should be mentioned while your on the topic. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PR_rzF8ofw

  21. beepaphone Says:

    on my first re-listen….this 46 Days??? fahghettaboutit.

  22. neemor Says:

    I decided to do a ‘No-Spoilers’ session with 12.30.93, from Portland’s CCCC. Nice warm up refresher for the 29th!
    I’m wondering…do they still echo the vocals in David Bowie?
    I can’t hear it on any new versions…just curious where the vocal echos went….

  23. gus Says:

    I just remembered I’m seeing phish in 10 days. that thought just made my day. and I’m glad I’m seeing them in a pretty small place, compared to the laaaarge venues of the summer. the three shows I saw this summer were maybe 25,000? CCCC is 9,000 I believe. and I am really enjoying this source of the show last night, I’m not sure what it is, but it was on etree. it sounds really nice.

  24. Robear Says:

    @ Cowfunk, hope you’re still on. Thanks for that take on Jerry. I lived for several years at an intentional community in NorCal. I can relate to that story, big time. Some of the people that started the community were from the ‘Digger’ scene in SF.

    Mr. C, I love when you tie lyrics into your posts. They pop into my head at shows and when listening.

    BK, re: full band jamming in ‘DWD’ and ’46 Days’, I feel the same way.

    Beep, thanks for the glowing review!

    Still can’t believe the assholes wizzing glow sticks at the stage. Michigan. Hats off to them for playing through it.

  25. beepaphone Says:

    Hell yeah gus! CCCC is probably going to be the bee’s knees

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