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. SOAM Says:

    Alaska is a great little tune

  2. msbjivein Says:

    GP420, Sounds perfect! Can’t wait!

  3. whole tour! Says:

    i don’t know why i hear a billy joel song everythime i hear ocelot. Maybe it’s the “don’t be the only one left on the block line?”

    ocelot is a “he’s gone” – “Dear Prudence” – Billy Joel – hybrid

  4. Birddog Says:

    Neemor –

    I had to push back a payment to a friend for my MSG Friday tic. I felt like a schmuck but real life happens. He ended up being fine with it. Dont feel bad =)

  5. SOAM Says:

    if we are honest-I think everyone has bounced around a bedroom with a big ol Momma (maybe not alaskan) but still…

  6. fat bastard Says:

    true soam

  7. whole tour! Says:

    alsaka was def inspired by the “simpsons” movie mixed with “into the wild”….mix with “deadliest Catch” and bam…you got a power debut at Asheville CC this past summer.

  8. randomreader Says:

    … so it is (jimmy -> sanity), i stand corrected

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Neemor: I am not involved in your situation and have no idea how those folks will respond.

    However if I were one of those people I would not be upset considering the up front way you are dealing with it. Just like it sounds like you would understand if they need to get cash on time for the tickets and end up going another way with them. That’s a personal cashflow decision they have to make.

    With anything involving money it’s just a matter of being as up front as you can. Shit happens. I seriously doubt there will be any hard feelings about this.

    Still hard to air financial laundry in public so I understand your feelings.

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    words of wisdom from SOAM as usual

  11. Mitch Says:

    Sorry to hear about the bad luck man. Hope your daughter is ok. If you want, I’ll hold your Antelope jersey until you can pay me. 😉

    I thought this would be fitting now that were back on tour. For any mac users, I’ve made some scripts to put your files from flac to mp3 in your iTunes. http://tinyurl.com/flacmp3 Check it out and let me know if you need any help.

    p.s. really diggin’ last night on my iPhone so far. Cant wait to see where this tour ends up.

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    thx @HarryHood

  13. HarryHood Says:

    @ Neemor

    I agree with Mr. C on this one. Just your honesty alone would prevent most anyone from getting upset. There is still plenty of time to get $$$ for the tix if anyone needs it up front. If you stiffed them at the last second, that’s a different story, but it sounds like you are being more than up front about it. No worries man.

  14. HarryHood Says:

    No problem Mr C.

    You hitting up the Blue Tusk before the show?

  15. Mitch Says:

    I was on page 4 when I wrote that. Guessing you wont let me hold on to that if it’s your pride and joy. I would like a cubs antelope one tho but wont copy your style.

    I love the way you said it. she wanted to know what it felt like, now she knows. haha. We’ve all been there. Growing pains.

  16. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Kudos Neemor for being very professional and strightforward with your transactions. Very legit, though it does mess with folks cash conversion cycles.

    That said, it is not my dinero. I hope everyone who has the ability to fart around on this board periodically throughout the day also has the fiscal wherewithall to sustain a little slippage on payback.

    Glad to know your daughter will be ok. Always happy to hear about getting getting better. You too, Robear. Withq aan improvement in you lil hombre you get to rep us left coasters/westerners back east 🙂

  17. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Harry – not gonna be at the show, just curious. Was listening to the first Dead show from that venue (10/27/71) this morning on the way in. Beautiful early Comes a Time with Jerry falsetto and the extra verse, typically scorching Cumberland etc…

  18. Neemor Says:

    “If you want, I’ll hold your Antelope jersey until you can pay me.”
    That really made me smile.
    I’ll let you touch it, Mitch.
    I got them done through a major sports-clothing manufacturer back in 98-99 and because they are so quality, there was a six piece minimum.
    There are actually six others floating around out there somewhere with members of my old crew-people I sadly no longer keep in touch with. They all has different color Phish logo patches on them and different ‘players’ names on the back including Fluffhead, Tela, Rutherford and mine which is Forbin.
    Oh, and Fishman has one.
    We handed one to him at a Pork Tornado show at Toad’s Place in New Haven, CT. in one of those baked moments where it seems like a good idea to give someone the shirt off your back! I always dream that someday he’ll forego the dress and come out to play in my Antelopes jersey.
    I know it will never happen, I just hope he decided to keep it.

  19. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Got a fresh batch of caramels ready for tonight and this weekend. Going to be the bomb. A bit soft this time as my girl forgot to bring my candy thermometer back from her place and the cheapy we bought at the grocery store just didn’t do the job properly and I don’t think we got it to 248. Nothing rolling it in some heath bar crunch couldn’t fix though. So, potent and tasty are the words of the day.

  20. Billy Breathes Says:

    ALASKA is one of Phish’s best written tunes in years. Period. End of Discussion.

  21. albert walker Says:


    I’m doing some baking myself tonight
    eat at your own risk batch for sure

    still want to try that caramel recipe

  22. gratefulcub Says:

    “End of Discussion”

    Ha! The one thing I know is that never happens around here.

  23. randomreader Says:

    woah just got to char. zero – first of all never thought we’d get that and stealing time in the same show, to me they’re basically the same song in terms of feel and set-placement utility… but holy moly, this zero feels totally invigorated. not a straight trey wank-fest by any means – mike’s tearing it up, fishman throws some different beats in there… very cool. nice to see the old gal get the treatment she got when she was young.

  24. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I just finished listening to last night’s show and for me the highlight is the 46 Days. DWD>Free is nice and the Mike’s has a small section of “dirty” Trey that I liked a lot. Overall, a well played show with none of the “surprises” many of us expected with the combination of factors surrounding this one (tour opener, small venue, low ticket sales, etc.).

    I wasn’t there and this is only from one listen so take it FWIW.

  25. ThePigSong Says:

    @ Neemor, no worries brother! I hope your Daughter is okay though!

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