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. beepaphone Says:

    yeah…too much for me with cobo last night and work then cincy tomorrow

  2. Fatbunch Says:

    Hi pholks! Squinted past the review to get down here and say a quick hello. With life and responsibilities on near-overload right now I’m well-poised to give the no-spoilers a go so just completed the DL of COBO and about to dance at home…;-)

    Was watching the discussion yesterday morning with a bad cringe and definately want to echo those well stated reminders of the delicate balance we all strike to follow this passion of ours. In my office the only ones really aware of my whereabouts over Halloween were two interns and our police officer (likes to feel the energy coming off me when I gush and can’t wait for retirement to give this sh*t a try…;-). I’ve explained to this particular LE officer about one of our crew’s theory that phish fans are the ultimate demographic (i.e. top of their game – whatever that may be).

    Keep it real, keep it focused, keep it honest – and keep it up!

    Thank you Mr. Miner. We certainly do not need to know where you go when the lights go out!

    Peace. I dance now.

  3. Frankie Says:

    That live webcast was really weird… we could still feel connected to you guys there in some weird way and i had experiences with it that i know i’ll remember all my life…

    The Ghost, YEM, fest8set8 with Mitch, it was really cool…

  4. KWL Says:

    KDF smokes, kids. Boy was I WRONG about that tune at Jones Beach.

  5. alumni blues Says:

    Right on. Miss the days of the Ripple..

  6. beepaphone Says:

    You from Indy?

  7. ThePigSong Says:

    Yikes @ everyone getting a tranny. 😉

  8. alumni blues Says:

    Fo show.. Living in the OH now.

  9. KWL Says:

    I really appreciate the guy on the fob MK4 recording from bt.etree that shouts ‘hey stop throwing shit!’ after KDF. Hopefully he’s talking about glow sticks/rings. Or shoes. Because that would hurt too.

  10. beepaphone Says:

    Werd. Meridian Kessler>Brebeuf>Purdue>Ravenswood here

  11. KWL Says:

    OK, off to finish the packing, before starting the long cross-country journey tomorrow. Will check in on the road, & then see you crazy peeps at Cuse-Alb-MSG. Be safe out there!!

  12. halcyon Says:

    KWL .. hope all is well…finished off my deschutes inversion ipa’s tonite as well

    .grabbing cobo now after another marathon session of Lost.

    Gnite all!

  13. beepaphone Says:

    word alumni

  14. Fatbunch Says:

    Safe travels KWL and everybody else! Will be sending/receiving dotted lines of phishy love over the next weeks (distance is irrelevant when the collective vibe is ON!)

  15. alumni blues Says:

    Glad to see some PT kids representing Indy no doubt.

  16. ThePigSong Says:

    Who’s at the mad frog tonight?

  17. beepaphone Says:

    Hell yeah…
    Safe travels at all who are en route tomorrow. See you all there.

  18. ThePigSong Says:

    just listened back on my ‘ween boards and realized they need to be replaces ASAP with AUDs. They cut the gap between Suzy and the reprise. No justice to the true encore.

  19. Summer98 Says:

    Nice sentiment Fatbunch. I also read some of that mess and glad it got stomped. I’m in the same boat and while a very select few of my coworkers know I like this band, none have any idea how much, or that I was in Indio for a three day marathon. They would never get IT. Thankfully the wife gets IT and I’ve got a few friends in the area who kind of get it. Still looking to meet more Northwest Phish folks though.

    Hats off to Miner and everyone else here.

    Alright, back to work.

  20. voopa Says:

    “Yikes @ everyone getting a tranny. ;)”


  21. Pmhaitsth Says:

    Where do I get the download from phishthoughts for Cobo?? Thanks guys! 🙂

  22. BOB Says:

    anyone got a soundboard of Clifford Ball, day one? 8/16/96?

  23. msbjivein Says:

    STASH 1st set for sure!! A Rager!

  24. msbjivein Says:

    All Right time for me to leave. Cutting it close for opener. Wish me luck!
    Taboot! Taboot!!!!

  25. jediknightwheely Says:

    Hope everyone had fun….I know I did

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