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. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    ok, I’m digging this 46 Days. The jam gets downright syrupy. Miner’s description of “molasses” fits pretty perfectly.

  2. jay Says:

    where you guys getting your downloads for cobo?

  3. SOAM Says:

    Dare I say that-Disease is getting seriously overplayed-Bowie too-could use a rest-I like the songs but c’mon boys-let’s get some diversity-alot of the fans are there alot-some every night and I’m sure they as I-are looking for some change-ups-I know, I know-you shouldn’t bitch about a band that was gone for 5 years-maybe so but-there are alot of songs that could be gettin love and improving-and are not…let’s get the bluegrass ditties back-let’s start polishing less played tunes-llama-waves-pebbles- shit more scent of.., wedge, mound, sloth, axilla, timber ho etc

  4. jed22 Says:

    will you be in Cinci with those shirts?

  5. stack Says:

    Tela’smuff I’m interested in one of your tix if you’re willing to split them up.
    email me and let’s work something out…I’m in Cincy.

  6. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Amen, Matso!

    I would fully support some seriously transformational setlists from a placement standpoint. I don’t think it’ll happen though.

  7. Robear Says:

    @ jay, I found one source this morning on ‘bt.etree.org’

  8. Robear Says:

    jer, the shirts are only available online. Click my name. Maybe someone takes the 2.0 shirt on spring tour? 😉

    Click my name for the shirts!

  9. purplehumpbackwhale Says:

    that mikes was dirty, albeit short. excited to listen to the dwd jam wont be home till later td to do it though.

  10. alumni blues Says:

    Tela, very much interested in both of your Friday tickets, let me know.


  11. albert walker Says:

    I fell into the same expectations trap in Indio
    I think we need to just set back and let this thing grow and breathe

    Just put one the Fenway or Jones Beach run and compare it musically to where they are right now

    I think they are using the shows as practice vehicles. As songs are played more they tighten up.
    I think after hearing Indio and Cobo Mike’s is going to get some work outs on fall.
    Seems like Free is getting some more love also, Trey’s guitar parts seemed very practiced at Indio.

    Phish is a constantly evolving story and it is the Joy tour
    Can’t wait to see what Cinci brings – probably a DWD I imagine

  12. worthlesswampyfool Says:

    anyone going to cinci from cleveland area got an extra spot in the car? got gas money and smoke? have ride from good people set up but might miss first set friday… dont have a ticket yet so i trying to get there before show time to score one in lot. any help with tickets or ride would be greatly appriciated.

  13. jay Says:

    Thanks Robear, can’t torrent at work due to firewall issues. Will have to wait till the no spoilers or till I get home and grab them from etree.

  14. worthlesswampyfool Says:

    sorry i dont know why i put a question mark after “i got gas money and smoke.” i meant i can supply the gasoline and smoke of course. haha

  15. Neemor Says:

    Miner’s Post Title, ‘A Phish Show At Cobo’ pretty much says it all.
    Nothing to get really ‘jazzed’ about, but all accounts point to a well-played albeit conservative rocker of a show. I consider Cobo a good launching pad for Fall Tour ’09…
    …I’m just baffled that the band didn’t reward the intimate crowd with some true gems, which lends credence to the ‘rumor’ that they’re working from setlists which is not my favorite idea.
    I hope they find the confidence to stretch their limits and just go out and play one or two of these upcoming nights…

    On a separate note:
    I hesitate to post this but, the way that the tickets that have been lined up for me for this Fall Tour has happened and the fact that the people who held the tickets for me for Albany (Friday) and CCCC have trusted me to follow through and take them due almost entirely to the fact that we are so forthcoming and genuine on this board encourages me to post this:
    Over the past two days, I have been hit with my daughter’s medical bill of close to $1500 and (the best part!) a speeding ticket to the tune of $300.
    Needless to say, this significantly affects my touring plans.
    My ticket for Portland has arrived and PigSong, I will of course pay you for it, just a week later than we had agreed to. (I will send the money order on the 25th.)
    I will be able to pay for my MSG tickets the day of the show (mOOn and Mitch-no worries-I’ll BE there.)
    My two Albany (Fri) tickets, however, I really need to offer to someone else. Nate (I will send you an email), you can either offer them to someone else right away, or I can meet you as arranged and pay you the week of the 30th if you find no takers.
    Again, this is not really for the entire board, but I need you all to understand that my intention is not to burn anyone but rather to be as forthcoming as possible, ‘man-up’, and offer as reasonable an option to Nate as possible as soon as possible. It’s important to me that you all understand that I’m trying to be as real as possible and create as little inconvenience as possible for someone who made sure to hold me the Albany tickets despite having other offers based solely on his word to me.

    SO, if anyone is in need of two good Albany tickets for Friday the 27th right over Page’s shoulder in section 109, give a yell here or email me at tydyvision at sbc global dot net.
    Thanks for the patience, guys and please understand that if there was any way for my agreements not to be affected by what amounts to my own stupidity (the speeding ticket), I would go that route.

  16. worthlesswampyfool Says:

    the kuroda solo in 46 days was worth my 15$ dollar ticket. STFTFP was nasty too. trey was totally digging the KDF and stealin time. straight up arena rock.

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    jay I grabbed it from etree as well though I know those who are so inclined can find the SBD online (if you’re into that sort of thing).

  18. Neemor Says:

    And sorry about using the word ‘possible’ so much in that post….rough morning.

  19. gratefulcub Says:

    Neemor, more importantly, is your daughter doing ok?

  20. Robear Says:

    Neemor, you’re a cool brother. Can’t wait to meet you in Portland. You’re in the ‘Antelope’ jersey, right?

    On a financial note, my truck took a dump last week. (Dodge Cummins, lost the rotary fuel pump) $2000 later, missing the Cobo>Cincy run will allow me to still do CCCC > MSG

    I don’t think it’s a rumor that they are playing from a set list. From what I understand, 2.0 was really the only time they went without set lists pre-written for any length of time.

    I completely agree that some little gem would have been appropriate for the small crowd. It’s apparent that they will have to rely on their longer term fans as they move forward. Apparent to me, anyway. That said, I do think it’s important for them to vary the set-lists and jam vehicles, sooner than later.

  21. randomreader Says:

    if they’re frequently working from setlists, one would think that would shorten the time between songs, not lengthen it into the awkward flow-sapping pauses that now seem so common

  22. whole tour! Says:

    flew to detroit
    caught the show
    stayed up all night
    flew back home
    just got in the door.

    it was awesome….trypical indoor phish madness.

    I found out that i got denied for all four of my NYE tickets. I only put in a request for one ticket to each night. This is the 4th lottery that i’ve been shout out of this year. I’m not looking forward to ticketmaster on staurday but it’s now my only option. Congrats to those who scored in the lottery.

  23. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @Robear – I agree that, for now, its long-time fans that are going to the shows. However, I am bringing my girl to her 3rd and 4th shows ever at Cincy this weekend, and her friend will be going to #’s 2 & 3. There are new folks coming online. The trick is that (speaking for myself), we are largely in our 30’s now, and our friends are too. With jobs, family, expenses that we actually pay (Neemor and Robear!), its just not possible to hit 20 shows a year anymore. Hitting 9 this year was flat heroic for me. I hope to do the same next year, maybe 3 or 4 more (probably squeeze a week out of summer tour next year). Thus, while the scene may be the same size as it has ever been (as far as total fan base) less fans are going to each individual show because of all the issues listed above.

  24. bhizzle Says:

    Also on the ticket note…I am in need for a Cuse tix if any of you kind souls have one to drop. bri dot hyde at yahoo dot com

  25. Robear Says:

    Show downloaded, flac’s converted, giving a listen now.

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