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Link Wednesday, 11/18/2009
Cobo Arena, Detroit, MI

Set 1: BagAC/DC Bag, Foam, STFTFPStealing Time From the Faulty Plan, Bouncin'Bouncing Around the Room, SampleSample in a Jar, KDFKill Devil Falls, It's Ice, Horn, MistMountains in the Mist, Poor Heart, 46 Days, BowieDavid Bowie

Set 2: Runaway Jim, DwDDown with Disease[1] -> Free > Waste, Taste, Bug, Velvet SeaWading in the Velvet Sea, Mike'sMike's Song > HydrogenI Am Hydrogen > WeekapaugWeekapaug Groove, Cavern

Encore: Character Zero

[1] Unfinished.

Noteworthy Jams: 46 Days, Taste

Average Song Gap: 5.75

Performers: Trey Anastasio, Page McConnell, Jon Fishman, Mike Gordon

Notes: Disease was unfinished.

Links:
LivePhish Download LivePhish Download

Song Distribution:
4 Billy Breathes
3 Stash
2 Joy
2 Farmhouse
2 Hoist
2 Rift
2 A Picture of Nectar
2 Junta
1 Round Room
1 The Story of the Ghost
1 Lawn Boy
1 The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday
1 The White Tape

Songs by Debut Year:

waxbanks , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
waxbanks Standout versions of 46 Days and DWD are reason enough to seek this one out. 46 Days is less driven than the year's-best Merriweather summer rendition; the boys just let their hair down a little and play some spare sci-fi cow-funk grooves for a few minutes, keeping the rhythms going past the point when a typical summer jam would've dissolved into ambient space. Sounds like the Halloween-weekend breakthroughs are paying dividends in fall too.

Meanwhile the Disease is a culminating 2009 version, paying off Trey's yearlong experiment with seemingly out-of-place flatted ninths and minor modes in the middle of soaring major-chord jams. The last couple minutes of this version see the whole band get with him for some woolly eastern-modal fun. Then there's a wonderfully dense, dissonant Taste waiting on the other side of a now-typical Gordon-centric Free. (Will someone please remind Trey that it's perfectly OK to segue directly into that glorious Free riff as in days of old, instead of stopping the momentum with his rhythmic chopping?) As for the climactic Mike's Groove, it doesn't matter. It's Mike's Groove for god's sake. If you're the sort of person who reads these reviews, you'll like it just fine! It's a swell performance anyhow, though I find it difficult to get too fired up about this Weekapaug.

Still waiting on that inevitable universe-destroying version of Stealing Time, but there are worse things than waiting.
Score: 4
Jackaroe , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
To answer the question from the person going to Philly: they were on at 7:57, as usual. Also, you are in for a treat if you haven't seen the band in awhile, like myself. I loved these guys from early/mid 90s to the turn of the milennium, but found myself walking away from 2000 and 2004 shows feeling let down, maybe a little to old for the scene or maybe the boys just didn't have it anymore.

Those days are over my friend!! This was the best I've heard them since '98. I saw no struggle to get through complex tunes, no ambient jam that took up a half hour of my time thinking to myself "this would be a lot better in my living room at home", and a crowd that seemed energetic but not stupid, if you know what I mean.

Highlights for me:
-the near-flawless performances of Foam and Ice
-a great 46 Days with some supra-funk thrown in
-a Bowie that was strong and to the point, in which case I had no problem that it wasn't clocking in at 20 minutes
-DWD->Free was great. They really explored some different modalities on the way to Free without losing touch
-Taste was epic
-a beautiful and flawless H20
-Character Zero, believe it or not, brought the house down

Moral of the story: if you left Phish 5-10 years ago because you thought they had left themselves, come on back and you won't be dissapointed!
Score: 3
deBebbler , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
deBebbler Much agreement with other posters here. After a (somewhat expected, but throughly maddening) letdown at Toyota Park this summer, I had high hopes that my second show since 2000 would shine. The recordings of the 2002-4 post-hiatus shows kept me well away, but Exile rocked my world, and I thought they would deliver to the Mitten State.

...and it was my birthday taboot. Fingers were crossed as N2O was freely distributed on the streets (literally) of Detroit, the home of RoboCop.

This show, I hoped, would bring me my second only Mike's Groove (and hoping show #23 would FINALLY give me Hydrogen). The AC/DC Bag opener said much about what was to come: classic opener, classic delivery, classic ending. The next few hours, while still managing to serve up some newer fare (Stealing, Mountains, 46 Days), were chock full of mid-late 90s greatness I fell in love with.

I didn't know how much I missed Ice and Horn till I heard them, and 46 Days had a fantastic jam. Also, a Bowie that knows where it was going is always an asset to any set.

An unusual Jim 2nd set opener showed Trey flawlessly hitting those rockin' bends before the last verse, just like he used to in the days of old. DWD->Free was very 1996, full of energy and as stated, wonderful near-eastern flavor. The light show during Taste had me agog and sitting down. Fantastic work Chris!! Bug came out of nowhere, and was very welcome. Then my birthday present showed up: Mike's.

No F-key jam, just straight to the 3-chord transistion and into Hydrogen. . . just like my early 90s tapes. I have heard Trey's guitar scream, wail, and rock, but that night the Languadoc cried during Hydrogen. A simply beautiful rendition. Then I danced my ass off to Weekapaug.

Character Zero DID bring the house down. We left having met new friends and seeing old ones once more. I found myself, holder of a full-time job for 5 years AND my own business, considering if I should quit and go on tour, during a bloody recession. That I almost talked myself into it is the testament to Phish's current quality. Thank you God, for bringing them back.
Score: 3
ttkammer , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
Detroit Rock City! First Phish show at Cobo, and it was a good one! A small venue that really let Chris and his lights shine (no pun intended). The light patterns on the walls to the left and the right of the stage were something I hadn't seen before. The crowd was really into the show, despite not being sold out. Easily the smallest crowd I have ever seen at a show (probably less than 10,000).

Here are a few of my personal highlights... Page got ahold of Foam and really tore it up! I have a new-found respect for Kill Devil Falls, as the boys jammed-out the second half of the song get a let it get a little dark and dirty. It's Ice and Horn were great additions (Horn was on my "wish list" for that show), the 46 Days was smokin' hot (another newer song that they realy jammed-out), and a Bowie to close the set! SOLID!

The second set had some great moments as well... the 15+ minute DWD into Free was fantastic. Although slow-paced, Waste is one of my favorite "slow" Phish songs, and it was great to hear it. Velvet Sea gave me the opportunity to go to the bathroom and get a beer :) , making it back just in time for a really good Mike's>Hydrogen>Weekapaug (first time in more thn 13 years that I have actually heard Hydrogen in between Mike's and Weekapaug).

Overall... a great show. Fall Phishing season in officially open!
Score: 2
TriciaPaLynn , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
The crowd was awesome last night, lots of energy. We were all psyched to see the band. There was a lag in the first set with some of the newer tunes, but they had us all back in the second half. I miss all the old fun stuff that the band did - large beach balls, trampolines, barbershop... I miss that sense of humor. But, as musicians they rocked Cobo!
Score: 1
dpwilljr , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
dpwilljr Just a note on how great this venue was. The floor was sparse to say the least. They were strict about allowing only floor ticket holders access which made for tons of room to dance in the back half of the floor. You could actually almost walk right up to the stage during the first set without bumping into someone.
This is an old school, 70s style rock arena that most of the greats played in back in the day. There is a wall behind the stage and the seating basically wraps around in a horseshoe shape.
This place was loud..the crowd was going crazy and you can hear it on the recording.
I was born in Bloomfield Hills and spent the first 11 years of my life in Michigan before moving to Florida, so this show meant a great deal to me.
I will attend all Phish shows in Michigan.
There are some outstanding versions of songs played at this show. Every single song played is filled with energy. A must listen.
Score: 1
Skimble_Shanks , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
Wasn't there but it looks like a killer show. Do I foresee sets being heavy on Rift? Nice to see It's Ice was played. Maybe a little My Friend, My Friend in Cincy? Mound, perhaps? Can you see what I'm hunting a few steps away? Ohhh boy oh boy! I am giddy with excitement for tomorrow and Saturday's shows as I will be there to witness the PHISH!
Score: 0
stretch522 , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
I heard KDF through Wading on Hoodstream and they definitely sounded like they were on. wish they'd drop Mountains. It's a snoozer. Great to hear It's Ice.
Score: 0
panic1985 , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
Great show. Period. The energy from the band and crowd was mixing together and it was stellar. 1st set had a decent flow to it. Ice and Horn were played nice. I got a kick out of hearing Poor Heart. The second set nearly took the arena down. DWD>Free was sick, Mike played great. Also Mikes>Hydrogen>Groove and Cavern was an excellent way to end the show.

Shout out to the group in B11 row Jish great group to sit by!
Score: 0
viboflif7beats , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
Really great show. 46 Days jam with the light show on the wall was a particular highlight of the 1st set. DWD was absolutely smokin. One thing I was not glad to see was the band being bombarded with glow sticks or rings or whatever. At one point someone threw about 30 of them all at once on the stage. I enjoy a good glow stick war as much as the next person, but keep it in the audience. After 20+ years of giving us some of the greatest music and concerts in the history of the world, not being pounded with glow sticks is something they've probably earned at this point.
Score: 0
hsihp , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
Great show - tight playing - obvious they've been practicing. Question: I thought I heard a 5 or 6 second tease of "La Villa Strangiato" by Rush at the end of Mike's Song - did anyone else hear it?? Am I out of my mind? Does anyone know what I'm talking about?
Score: 0
nifudonicu , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
I agree with most of what's been said. I was Festival 8 too, and Trey sounded a lot better in Detroit. Like he had done nothing but practice between then and now. The only disagreement I have with the other reviews is about Weekapaug. It's not a long foray into improvisation, but Trey has a few minutes of rage before wrangling the song in.
Score: 0
Milky , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
Can you guys tell us what time they took the stage, roughly? Trying to plan out my tailgating in the lots in Philly. Thanks in advance.

P.S. Please don't flame me. I looked all over for the satrt time before I posted this here. Thanks again!
Score: 0
markah , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
I had a blast at Cobo! Someone else commented on the "young crowd" -- but I actually did not see an awful lot of teenagers there, in fact I looked around my section (A21) at one point and felt like I was the youngest person there (I'm 31). I did see several kids (as in age 11, 4, and about 6 months) and was relived to see that they all had earphones on. Security was definitely stopping people from smoking cigarettes. But otherwise they were very laid back & respectful. We stood right next to one who told us they'd had a preshow meeting where they were told that "a lot of folks will be smoking pot"..." and just wanted to dance, and they were specifically told "not to raise any flags" toward those people who were doing either. That dude was pretty cool -  he handed us a free bottle of water from the supply that was being handed out to the staff.

The outro of 46 Days had some great exploration and fanTAStic lights playing on the back of the arena (Cobo, in contrast to many other arenas, was not "in the round" -  it had a definite back). Check out these photos from Miner's post today to see what I mean --> http://phishthoughts.com/2009/11/19/cobo-photos/

Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan was better than any of the summer versions to be sure, but part of me feels that it was merely hinting at the amazingly dark jams that will surely come from the song this Fall.

DwD also had some amazing exploratory improvisation. Between DwD and Free, Mike was owning that portion of the show.

"Were they tight?" You bet they were. The Foam was about the tightest thing I've ever heard from this band. Including Hampton. Now, there were a few rough patches throughout the night (more on that in a moment) and you could kind of tell that they were a bit rusty... Not that they sounded bad at all, but you could tell that there were some moments that did not click. One of my friends likened it to training for competitive sports (bike racing, in particular). If you take even just one week off, you're not as sharp and you can notice the difference. Of course you can still ride a bike, and you can still race pretty well, but everything is just not "clicking." It's Ice (and Horn, and the ending of Taste) had a little sour part, and you could see it in Trey's face. In fact, a buddy of mine was backstage helping with the LivePhish.com uploads (on a one-off basis, not as a general occurrence) and said that Trey walked back and said, "hey, can you do me a favor and remove all the bad parts for me before you upload those?" It's so odd to hear that comment, because we all KNOW that Trey's had some nights in the past that were FAR worse than that. I could count the (very minor) flubs from this tour opener on one hand. I guess that's just the new Trey: sober, clear-headed, and hearing and thinking about every single thing. I like that Trey is critical of himself, but I'm not 100% sure that all that is a good thing"... ;-)

After a pretty big lull in the middle of the second set, the "Motor City Mike's Groove" was a double-shot of adrenaline that immediately got the place up and dancing. Either they were channeling the residual energy from one of KISS' many shows in the room, or it was the general heightened sensation of being in an enclosed space, but this Mike's was dark and infused with more metal than usual.

And Cavern after the Weekapaug? Now that's just pure "bonus Phish."

Was the song choice amazing? Certainly not. Was the playing stellar? Absolutely. During Sample I commented that they really don't waste any songs now. They give 110% every single song, every single time now. It wasn't always like that! When I think about it, that is why I fell in love with the band so long ago. Listening to them float among so many varying styles effortlessly on Picture of Nectar, tearing open Rift when I first got it and listening to the raging solo in Maze then the beautiful playing on Horn"...I was completely hooked from that point forward. It was that love & dedication that made me follow the band (although it was from more of a distance) during the "Oxy Years" when things weren't all that consistently good, and I am so overjoyed to have things back to the way they used to be.
Score: 0
dbbsub , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
Great show. There was definitely a difference in the playing and vibe than from the summer. My buddy saw every show of the first 2 week May/June tour, and I met him for Bonnaroo, Deercreek and Alpine. Then he did Indio. Even he said there was something different, better, at Cobo (and on the subsequent shows he followed.)

Perhaps because it was just a tour this time around. No cloud of "the Reunion" stuff hanging over. They'd been "back" all year, all the hype to the festivals was passed, the Halloween weekend buildup was passed; all the "can they really resurrect it all again?" stuff was proven and over. Now it was just back to being a band on the road doing their thing. That's a big load off the mind for any band.

There was a really great relaxed tightness about their playing. Trust.
They weren't worried about whether they were tight enough for the fans or themselves anymore it seemed.
They just played and it came out how it should have. Fresh, relaxed, organic, and fun.

It's a show I can put on as background if i want since it flows so well. Many times putting a show on for me requires being in a "phish zone" mood as I know I will ultimately zero in on the composition and execution levels. This show has those if you want them, but you can also just cook to it in the kitchen, (if that makes sense with what I'm trying to express.)

Being a Michigander all my life, my crew and I still can't believe we saw them at effing COBO.
Cobo is one of those "institution venues" for Detroit. Supposedly being torn down soon, so KISS and other acts who played there back in the days have come back in 2009 for one more show if possible.

It was like a dream come true. Even just Phish coming to Michigan again.
Thank you, Phish.
Score: 0
MiniTrey , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
When I first heard that Phish was coming to town I was quite excited. I owned Junta, Picture of Nectar, and A Live One so I knew a handful of songs. My drummer, an avid phish listener, offered me a ticket so I figured "what the hell? it should be fun.". Boy am I glad that I went. This night changed my life, and the way I play, forever. From the moment AC/DC Bag started until Character Zero ended I was in nonstop awe of the skill, power, and just plain awesomeness that is live phish. This show was an epic one to say the least. Foam was nearly perfect and DWD -> Free blew my mind. It also shouldn't be left unsaid that I have yet to hear as good a 46 days as we got here in the D. I was hoping for YEM, Tweezer, or Chalkdust, but looking back on it now the show wouldn't have been the same had any of those songs been subbed in for one that they played. I left that show a changed man, and because of it my guitar playing has gotten so much better. This show is gonna be hard to live up to, so I hope the boys have something in store for me in Ohio in June.
Score: 0
dogman , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
dogman This was my first show,and i couldnt have asked for a better one. the sound was great and so was the scene. the place was packed and phish really made a statment in their triumphant return to detroit. the 46 days and david bowie jams where excellent. all in all a great show.
Score: 0
ddderek , attached to 2009-11-18 Permalink
ddderek Over the top show!!! Great jams, great light show, great experience... I am a new Phishhead and truly wish they would play Michigan more often... Together or solo!

Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing... are all waiting for their next appearance!

Don't leave us hangin' fellas!
Score: 0

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