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. ThePigSong Says:

    @HarryHood, I had my fall order only partially filled, yet got floors for CCCC. I’m leaning towards the lotto being totally random.

  2. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    Somebody posted on here earlier about the lack of variety or predictability of Phish’s set list from last night. I have to say, man last night was the FIRST SHOW OF TOUR! To even talk about variety in a year that they have played more different tunes than in any year since 1998 is just crazytown. Yes there are more songs out there that I would like to hear, but I am still incredibly happy to just be hearing the boys again right now.

  3. sumodie Says:

    sumodie – i know where your going with that. but at this point, one would think there would be some serious new shit going down. not critizing the show as i haven’t heard it. i would think that after breaking up, and then coming back with a new slate, why not really mix shit up?

    Basically my mindset is like yours and several others here today, whereas in writing I usually try to post as an optimist, both for my own benefit and the community’s. And so I second aw’s remark:

    I think we need to just set back and let this thing grow and breathe

    I was blissfully blessed to have my expectations silent at F8 (and how rewarded I was!), but back to regular tour I know I need to be wary 🙂

  4. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    @Neemor – you live around Toad’s Place? I thought I saw some cats from New Haven on the facebook page…

  5. Neemor Says:

    :::weight lifted off shoulders:::
    25th, in the mail…

  6. msbjivein Says:

    Very Good point GP420…… They’ve played 4 shows in the past 3 months…

  7. Neemor Says:

    I live in Orange, right next to New Haven…
    ….that’s my local live music home base, if you will.

  8. RamblinOnMyMind Says:

    I caught Umphrey’s at Toad’s last year and it was pretty fun. Doesn’t seem like they’ve had many good acts come through this year.

  9. SOAM Says:

    I-ME-Said that Disease is being played-it seems once every 3rd show…and I prefaced it by stating the obvious…and post prefaced it with reason

  10. tela'smuff Says:

    @sumodie – “Basically my mindset is like yours and several others here today, whereas in writing I usually try to post as an optimist, both for my own benefit and the community’s. And so I second aw’s remark:”

    I think we need to just set back and let this thing grow and breathe

    right right. I clearly understand that it’s show one. not trying to start the negative train by any means. BUT, there is a BUT looming out here. and some of us more jaded vets know exactly what i’m saying.

  11. AintNoTele Says:

    Had a dream phish busted out “Row Jimmy” in cinci, the show dreams are a pilin’ up these days…anticipation at its finest

  12. Birddog Says:

    “I think we need to just set back and let this thing grow and breathe”

    Couldn’t agree more – first leg of summer tour they seemed stuck in third gear, but then we got the second leg which erased any doubt in my mind that they were back.

    Give them a little time and you know they will hit overdrive again…

  13. Mitch Says:

    you got a link to the phish destroys america link?

  14. Corey Says:

    So, I’m w/o a PT shirt for the weekend.
    Are some of you gonna wear it for the meetup at the Hoffbrau Haus?
    Will we have name tags? Just kidding.
    Just trying to figure out who is and who isn’t going to be a part of the hang.

    Oh, and Guitar Picker 420: Caramels all around? 🙂

  15. Birddog Says:

    yeah I posted disks 3-4 on page 6 or 7 – let me dig up the other ones

  16. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @corey – going to depend on how potent they turn out to be. I will know for sure after tonight. Big caveat, no eating them at midnight, unless you want to be asleep by 1:15. 😉
    As far as Hoffbrau Haus, I don’t have a PT shirt either, and I suspect a fair number of heads there. I will probably be sporting a Blue St. Louis Cardinals Hoodie.

  17. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    So I stand at the base of the mountain
    (don’t follow me!)
    I step right up to the cliff side
    (better learn how to lead!)
    stare straight into the future
    (tell me what do you see?)
    that this time’s gonna be different…

    2nd listen of the KDF from last night is even better. Page leads the rhythm into the jam with this simple pattern on the organ that the rest of the band eventually follows, providing a nice starting point to a very solid full band jam.

    I know a lot of people haven’t really liked KDF thus far but I think they are just getting rolling with this tune.

  18. ThePigSong Says:

    I hope you can still make it up to ME Neemor!

    While talking tickets, my whole (small) NYE crew struck out.
    if there are any extras floating around for 30 & 31 please shoot an email my way: thepigsong at gmail

  19. Mr.Miner Says:

    They have played mountains in the mist electric since 99

  20. ThePigSong Says:

    haha, that looks like I want you to make it up to “me” lol, substitute ME with Maine

  21. Birddog Says:


    Thats all 6

  22. sumodie Says:

    @Neemor and Robear, hope your kids continue to mend, and to meet up with you on tour.


    …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.

    While lottery is flawed and frustrating, I don’t believe this statement is accurate. Everyone here who got their orders filled yesterday had a mix of sections across the 4 nights. But yes, emails pulled near the end do get leftovers…. 🙁

    There is just an overall lack of clarity in the mid-range. The only place I have not noticed this on tapes is from Bonnaroo.

    Hands down, Bonnaroo’s main stage had the best sound I’ve heard in ages, imho. F8 was excellent and very satisfying, but the roo still takes the cake.

  23. HarryHood Says:

    I think it was meant to be the first 3.0 electric mist.

  24. sumodie Says:

    @tela’smuff: I hear you all the way. Note that I wasn’t picking on you – I liked what you said while at the same time I wanted to respond to your ideas as I was also saying the same to myself.

    I’m out for now. Have a great day all!

  25. snowbank Says:

    Staying healthy aka totally, completely off topic

    I have now fought the Flu off three times this year using Oscillococcinum…

    the key is to take it as soon as you feel it coming on. For me it is the body aches that let me know. As soon as I feel that first body ache, I take the sugar pills. Got body aches and Chills around 6:45 Monday. Took some pills and vitamins and basically beat it that night. I took the next day off and slept just cause I needed sleep. Anyway, I recommend buying a box (it’s not cheap) and keeping it in your travel kit. It could definitely keep you from missing a show.

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