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. Palmer Says:

    Wife out, children asleep, working way throught set I of Cobo with a really boring football game on mute. Life is good! Really interesting reading today fellas. The wife has decided to go out with her girlfriends once a week for the last month when i told her i was off to Albany and MSG . Fair trade in my book.

  2. voopa Says:


    It was a one-time deal here, usually is (aside from F8- holy crap that bubble hash was insane!). I’d help you if I could…maybe it’ll come around again. Where are you located?

  3. voopa Says:

    Yeah, this game really sucks!

  4. voopa Says:

    GD related: Comparisons between Wolfgang’s Vault sources and publicly traded sources

  5. neemor Says:

    Tune in The Office on NBC…

  6. Billy Breathes Says:

    Thanks voopa. It’s such a beautiful feeling….soooo relaxing. I love it. No head games, pure body buzz.

    I’m in Chicago. Comes around here occassionally, but not nearly often enough. It’s hard to come by.

    I would greatly appreciate any assistance. I will do my best to return the favor in some way, shape or form.


  7. beepaphone Says:

    LOL cobo on headphones and boring game here too

  8. yematt Says:

    just got finished listering to the cobo show.. gotta say that zero definitely was an excellent rip thru! best version this year IMO

  9. Billy Breathes Says:

    Where is Gordo on these mixes? I’d be a little upset if I were him.

  10. joe Says:

    way off topic. Any curb your enthusiasm fans here? this clip cracked me up. Danny Duberstein is good at two things…


  11. neemor Says:

    I just read your breakdown of the album ‘Rift’.
    I always thought of ‘All Things Reconsidered’ as having been designed to cleverly introduce the sound of the sleeping man’s alarm clock radio. I always pictured that his radio is simply tuned to NPR and he’s picking up the ‘Theme’ song in his subconscious.
    In addition, of course, to what you had said:

    “All Things Reconsidered” is a semantic and musical play on the theme of NPR’s show “All Things Considered. This lyric-less piece’s symbolism comes shining through in its title. The music brings us on a meandering path of introverted thought through the head of the dreamer as he rethinks his relationship from an internal perspective.

  12. neemor Says:

    You guys were right about that Mike’s>Horse….
    That might be the most sublime segue/change I’ve ever heard…
    12.30.93 has been missing from my life.

  13. Billy Breathes Says:

    joe…..she has a rash on her pussy.

  14. gus Says:

    wowowowow I am SO glad you guys were talking about 1993.12.30 cause this is such a good show so far. I haven’t listened to much, but I imagine I will listen to this show a lot in the future. I don’t think I’ll ever listen to a show as much as 6/11/94 though. I must have listened to that one at least 50 times through, but i really have no idea, maybe 100

  15. yematt Says:

    love me some curb, such an uncomfortable hilarious show

  16. Ocelot42 Says:

    Okay, I’m way behind and just got home from visiting with my brother after the show last night. Can’t really disagree with the review. Three or four awesome moments last night though. The Kuroda lights solo while all four guys just did rhythm during 46 Days was great. DWD > Free was definitely the highlight. The jam in DWD was jaw-droppingly good. Middle Eastern flavoured. I can’t think that was by chance since Dearborn (a southern suburb of Detroit) has the largest Iraqi population outside of… Iraq. At any rate, I had a ball at the show and enjoyed meeting up with BTB, mug and swampyfool. You guys certainly improved my spot from set I to set II.

  17. Lycanthropist Says:

    en route to cincy! getting stoked!

    some heavy reading earlier goodness.

    hope to see some of you cats there

  18. BK Says:

    Damn, can’t believe I was late on a Taoism/Freud ego discussion…

    @ Mr C – Are you thinking Freud’s Id here with the coke? Psychoanalysis’ version of ‘ego’ is pretty much the direct opposite of all the drug effects I know of. Id is pure pleasure principle…

    That said, totally agree that every system has it’s own ‘ego’ meaning, with varying degrees of specificity/vagueness…

    @ Mitch – That beard door made my fucking day!

  19. BrandonKayda Says:

    Gus: You’re in 10th grade right? The only reason I am asking is because I am in 10th grade as well and also happen to be taking Music Theory/Piano 2 next semester.

    I think the class will be helpful along with Piano, can’t wait for it.

    11.22.97 Mike’s Groove still blows my mind. I just played it this morning. The ambient “Simple”-esque jamming they get into during the Post-tramps jam is sublime. Hood to follow is just readicculus.

    So are you guys expecting big things for Cincy tomorrow? I still can’t believe how loose the jamming is for a tour opener (46 Days, DWD), they must really be feeling the indoor vibes. Cannot wait for the first Piper/Ghost/Gin this tour, there are bound to be big versions of those 3 in the mist.

    Looking forward to the Cincy weekend of Phish! Have fun Lycan!

  20. gus Says:

    oh Brandon you play piano? that’s sick, so do I. No, I’m in 9th grade, and I’m pretty young for my grade in fact, and the music theory class I’m taking is just called music theory 1. I really think it will help with my piano playing, as I really don’t know music theory that well, I just have a really good ear.

  21. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    Geographers can’t do psychoanalysis!

  22. Mitch Says:

    i borrowed halo 3 from a buddy today so ive been smoking and playing that on xbox live. i forgot how freakin addicting this game is on xbox live. WHEW! time killer for sure.

    wish i were going to cinci. looking at the 03 poster on my wall. wishing i could be back in that room where my first ph shows took place.

  23. BrandonKayda Says:

    Gus: I saw your Fluffhead/YEM vids, crazy shit man. I took Piano 1 last year when I first picked it up, so I know some of the theory. I like improvising more than straight playing-by-the-book playing, but then again I don’t have that good of an ear for playing songs as you seem to have.

    Piano 2 will get into more complex stuff though, so hopefully I’ll get better at precision. That added with the Music Theory class plus practice should be a huge help.

  24. gus Says:

    yeah Brandon I feel the same as you, LOVE improvising, don’t really like playing from the book. although I am taking private lessons and kind of forcing myself to do that, cause it’s good practice. and like I can read music, but pretty slowly, so I’m trying to work on getting that much better. I’d looove to be able to sit down, look at a song, and be able to play it. i’m glad you liked the videos, I’ll definitely add more soon. I haven’t learned any more songs to the extent I learned those ones, but i have learned a ton.

  25. BrandonKayda Says:

    I can read music pretty well, but over the summer I lost a lot of my skills (the few that I had :)) and am still building them back up.

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