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. fat bastard Says:

    wt from the pulse of the board last night it seems like nye wont be the toughest tix

  2. c0wfunk Says:

    breaking news – phish opens tour with phish show – fans shocked and appalled ..

    almost done listening to last night, I quite enjoyed the first set – Stealing Time had a great jam that took some slightly different routes in the early stages, very nice. 46 days was also nice and stretched, especially for it’s place in the show. The dw/d>free is very well executed. Need to finish the Mike’s Groove..

    in other news – denied for 12/31 and 12/30, but we got the first 2 nights and our 12/29 is 3rd row!!!! Closest seat I’ve ever been assigned at phish. Very excited. Practicing my captchas til saturday…

  3. whole tour! Says:

    word FB….i was also looking on stubhub just incase and they have all three shows before nye at $55 a pop which isn’t bad…then $90 for nye.

    I’ll see how ticketmaster fares this sat. I’m going regardless of having tickets in hand or not. I know they will be everywhere.

  4. Robear Says:

    GP, especially on Fall Tour. Summer tour, east run was filled with new comers. I should have specified that the fall shows, while schools in, and shows are harder to get to, will have more older fans.

    WT, read last nights late posts, and this mornings. It seems like pholks have scored extra for NYE run.

  5. c0wfunk Says:

    oh – and my charlottesville tix arrived yesterday and the joy boxed set (finally) got here today. Nicest packaging I’ve ever seen. I love the little posters in the drawers, very Harry Potterish – these were a complete surprise to me I didn’t realize they were included. The lyrics book is also a nice touchh

  6. marcoesq Says:

    Not sure if someone else has mentioned, but Cavern is on the back end of Weekapaug. It’s not missing, it’s just listed as paug

  7. whole tour! Says:

    the whole lottery kinda bothers me. It’s awesome that people scored extras…but it’s kind of upsetting that they would deny folks who just put in for one ticket and gave out like 5 a piece for each night to others. just kinda frustrating all over again…gives me memories of hampton and the leg one madness.

  8. Neemor Says:

    She’s okay. Like her dad, she likes to experiment and I guess wondered what a broken forearm might feel like.
    Now she knows….
    Thanks for the compliment, RoBear…yes, I’ll have the Antelopes Jersey (my pride and joy next to maybe my ticket stub collection), you honestly won’t be able to miss it.
    I suppose the CCCC meetup will be at WaterWheel, haven’t heard anything else offered….

  9. Absher Says:

    Anyone know where to get the show yet? I can’t wait to hear it.

  10. whole tour! Says:

    one of the best 46 daze i ever saw last night….fucking read-icc!!!

  11. Robear Says:

    Neemor, I’m getting into Portland early in the morning. I’m definitely up for a lunch or pub stop. I’m looking forward to exploring that ocean front city a bit. I go into the venue around 4:30. Waterwheel meet-ups inside fo sho!

  12. llamalee Says:

    if anyone already knows they have extra’s for nye, please shout me an e-mail. i’ve already reserved hotel and not liking my chances with ticketmaster saturday since i’ll be in cinci. i know it’s a little early but what the hey. BL70976 at appstate.edu

  13. Absher Says:

    Nevermind, I found it

  14. tela'smuff Says:

    for those asking about the Friday Cincy tickets, i have a pending offer via craigslist. if he doesn’t confirm with me by 3:00 they’ll be available. i’m not looking to make money here obviously. just send me an offer, best wins. they are Sec 105.


  15. Mr. Completely Says:

    (notwithstanding trey’s assertion that alaska was a stab at writing their ‘tennessee jed’… sorry but fail),

    Still on p2 so dunno if this has been answered, but the tune in question is Ocelot, not Alaska – and the influence was both obvious over the summer and then confirmed by Tom Marshall in an interview recently. They were explicitly trying to write a song in that blues-rock shuffle vein. IMO it soudns as much like Ramble On Rose as Jed – but then those two songs were written together and have a similar feel.

    If they were trying to make Alaska sound like Jed, yeah, that’d be a fail.

  16. randomreader Says:

    interestingly, after last night’s show the prices on stubhub took a nosedive for every show except syracuse, CCCC, MSG, charlottesville. philly can now be had for $18 and $21. there’s market response for you

  17. Neemor Says:

    Sounds delightful, Ro…
    Let’s locate a pub to hit around 2:30-3ish….

    ***Un-o-phishal Meet Up for Portland****

    Somewhere, within walking distance perhaps, of the Quad C early afternoon.
    Anyone know the area?
    New venue for me altogether….

  18. Birddog Says:

    Brimley try


  19. randomreader Says:

    sorry mr c but


    6th question down, it’s alaska. fail indeed.

  20. randomreader Says:

    i don’t mean to seem like a jerk, refuting you so fast, i just really really dislike alaska

  21. HarryHood Says:

    We’ve discussed the Phish Lottery at length, but there are obviously some serious flaws with it. Basically, if your e-mail is pulled, your entire order is filled with what is available at that time. Essentially, if you put in for 4 tix for each night and you are the first one pulled, you will have front row for every show that you ordered. This is why someone who put in for only one ticket for each show might get shut out when someone else scores 4 front row seats for every show they put in for. The way that I look at, when I see a hold for only part of my order, I know that I’m screwed seat-wise. When an order is only partially filled, it means that you were selected near the end of the process and you get the leftovers that are up in the rafters. After the last go-around, I’m done using the lottery. I only ended up with two out of six shows and the seats were pretty much outside of the venue.

  22. fat bastard Says:

    mr c- ive always lumped gd’s jed with phish’s runaway jim.

  23. albert walker Says:

    after the 30 minute Sand at Cinci
    Phish futures will be way back up
    by the dips, after the Velvet, Waste, Mountains cheese fest

  24. randomreader Says:

    and “fail indeed” directed at the song, not at you sir – *reaches for forceps, prepares to extract foot from mouth*

  25. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Down with Disease from last night is really nice. There really isn’t a true segue into Free though. They just get kind of quiet and then Trey comes in with the choppy intro to Free. Very typical of their segues all year, fade away into ambient dreaminess and then come in with something else out of the fog. Light ends up coming up a lot in that situation. Still noticing a lack of clarity in the mid-highs on this tape, anybody else noticing that too?

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