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. voopa Says:

    Wow! I’m old!

  2. Mitch Says:

    hahaha, was thinking the same thing voopa

  3. ThePigSong Says:

    Wow I love this site. I really appreciate all the articulate conversations that go down on this board! I’m just a hack and can’t level with most of you, but I wanted to put it out there that I really enjoy the diversity of this place. Thank you Mr Miner!

  4. ThePigSong Says:

    Voopa, can you share how to link here? I tried, and failed, last night.

  5. voopa Says:

    Enjoy your posts, PigSong, you provide a unique perspective and can phrase them well.

  6. stitchstash Says:

    I just wanted to share my Cobo trip with all of you before I get some much needed sleep.

    Long story short

    We made it inside the door right as AC/DC Bag was ending. (Not bad for the time crunch we were in.) We were down on the floor by the end of the first set. (I found a girl with a loose fitting bracelet with her boyfriend who was willing to make the run back and forth for us). By the end of the second set we were 3 people from the stage right in between Page and Trey! We had a blast!! It was so worth the drive and little amount of sleep!

    I’m even more excited for Syracuse now and my Albany plans are back in full effect. Life is good!

    @ Robear– I didn’t make it to the waterwheel. I was going to stop by after the show was over but forgot because we were in such a hurry to get home. Is there any way I can still make the donation so it goes to the Detroit cause? I really like to support the waterwheel at the cities I visit and would still like to do so for Detroit.

  7. voopa Says:

    do this:

    for this site, type [http://phishthoughts.com/], but replace the [] brackets with the “pointy” ones (i.e. the less than and greater than signs). Of course, replace the site info with the link of your choice.

  8. voopa Says:

    Nice stitch!

  9. stitchstash Says:

    Thanks Voopa it was nice indeed.

  10. Lycanthropist Says:

    listening to 8.2.93 right now in the car en route. this show is schizo as hell. 🙂

  11. ThePigSong Says:

    @voopa, then how do you make a whole sentence or word clickable?

  12. gus Says:

    this 46 days is more funky than I remember. always a good thing.

  13. butter Says:

    any reccs. for torrent programs when downloading with a mac off of etree? Tomato torrent has been giving me fits, any others for mac?

  14. beepaphone Says:

    I use Transmission for my mac and I haven’t been able to get a torrent working in a week 🙁

  15. butter Says:

    so don’t use Transmission then?

  16. Gus Says:

    hmm I use transmission and that etree source worked perfectly fine for me.

  17. Robear Says:

    butter, I’m having great luck with ‘Transmission’ on my MAC. I have OS 10.4.11
    Transmission 1.54

  18. Mitch Says:

    i use xtorrent and sometimes transmission or just bit torrent

  19. stack Says:

    I’ve been pretty happy with uTorrent and seem to have no problems with it. I’ve tried a few others and it seems to work the best on my mac.

  20. Robear Says:

    @ Stitch, I think you could do that. You’d have to ask for the table coordinator. The easy route might be to make a donation directly to ‘Greening of Detroit’. That’s the group Waterwheel invited to the show. Quick web search will take you to the website. Thanks for the efforts, glad you had so much fun!

  21. beepaphone Says:

    Got a new tranny…works fine now

  22. KWL Says:

    great discussion today, very enjoyable catching up while giving Cobo a spin w/ a couple Deschutes Inversions.

    Glad to see the Detroiters had good times. Glad you didn’t miss too much @Stitch.

    BTB, you continuing onward with those Christmas Ales? By the sounds of things, you and fellow PTers polished them off last night. I had one of my crew check a few places, and they aren’t available in Syracuse. Damn.

    My lady just tapped a keg of Sierra Christmas Ale tonight though, so that’s not bad to come home to.

    Starting the journey from rural southern CO mountains to the Cuse tomorrow. Cobo, some 76-7 Dead and Mr C’s bluegrass mix loaded up on the ipod. Here we go.

    Looking forward to meeting a few peeps in Syracuse–Blue Tusk! I’ll be there at 3 rocking ‘the shirt’.

    For those going, enjoy Cinci!!

  23. KWL Says:

    Sierra Celebration that is…

    Robear, good to hear about Jacy.

  24. gavinsdad Says:

    amazing board. the discussions here kill me. phish is warming up the car people…plain fact. kill crush destroy later on down the line. or mebbe even cinci.

    10th fuckin grade?!?!

  25. KWL Says:

    @Mitch, I thank you, sir, for the beard video. I thank you.

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