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:

    both are hardluck songs in their own style. and obv similar names

  2. BTB Says:

    Trey was very high in the mix last night – atleast from my section next to Page. Very high actually.

  3. albert walker Says:

    he was referring to the lyrical aspect of Alaska

    and yes it does tell the Americana style story of Tennesse Jed
    also has the slightly silly, fun lyrical energy also
    does not really reference muiscal similarities cuz it does not have any

  4. Mr. Completely Says:

    @randomreader: I stand absolutely corrected. Weird though, Ocelot sounds a lot more Jed-ish than Alaska does.

    I don’t mind Alaska…I actually really dislike Tennessee Jed…but I like Ocelot a bunch


  5. albert walker Says:

    no musical references in interview just lyrical and the fact that it should swing

  6. whole tour! Says:

    “ocelot” is actually very very similar to “He’s Gone”

  7. fat bastard Says:

    i know i was saying the stories are similar not the music. and ive always loved tennesse jed, it sounds like home

  8. whole tour! Says:

    love em both though 😉

  9. randomreader Says:

    aw, not quite true, the rhythms are very similar, that slow swung shuffle beat

    also, the descending riff preceding the verses in sanity is cribbed from jed, yes?

  10. msbjivein Says:

    GP420, Are we still gonna try and meet up at that bar in KY??? We won’t get in till about 6pm. So maybe after the show or Sat afternoon….

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    hm @aw I see the lyrical connection. Do think it’s funny that Ocelot is so clearly in the Ramble On/T. Jed mode, with the heavy beat, but Alaska gets the comparison.

    I’m just glad neither one is too much like Jed since it’s one of my least favorite Jerry songs.

  12. SOAM Says:

    Albany’s will sell well on the lot….don’t sweat it -that’s where we all shoule be”

  13. SOAM Says:

    It’s all about the “POCELOT”

  14. Neemor Says:

    And ‘Sanity’ samples ‘Row Jimmy’
    I think.

    Despite the compliment, I don’t feel really cool today.
    I cringed at the thought of coming on the board today to tell Nate and PigSong that I could take the tickets if they can wait for payment.
    Like some sort of ‘front’.
    I exhausted all options….
    Feels weak on my part.

  15. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @msb – yeah the plan is to meet at the hoffbrau haus in newport after the show on Friday. Should be a blast.

  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    Unrelated – this Syracuse venue, “Memorial Whatever at Oncenter” or something – that the old Onondaga War Memorial? The really old school building? Or a modern replacement?

  17. HarryHood Says:

    I got my Joy Box yesterday as well. Really cool and much much larger than I had anticipated. I saw the box that it was shipped in and I thought maybe it was something else that I had ordered. The DVD is pretty good. Haven’t had a chance to listen to Party Time yet, but that will get a full run through on the way to Syracuse tomorrow. The book and posters were really cool and the dedication to Trey’s sister on the last page of the book got me a little misty. Very nice touch. All and all, well worth the price from what I can see.

  18. SOAM Says:



  19. albert walker Says:

    random Sanity is from Row Jimmy

    It’s all IV- V but I’ve hacked my way through both on guitar and they are not all that similar

    Ocelot is text book dead musically though

  20. HarryHood Says:

    Mr C. – Same place, new name.

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:



  22. SOAM Says:


  23. albert walker Says:

    sorry I, IV, V

  24. albert walker Says:

    I love 1st Alaska
    RR raged it

  25. SOAM Says:

    Nice type III

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