Phish Plays Masterful ‘Down With Disease’ On Fall Tour 2009
This year marks 25 years since Phish’s historic Fall Tour 1995. In recognition of that noteworthy tour and to make up for the lack of shows this fall, JamBase presents a daily retrospective highlighting a noteworthy moment from a Phish fall tour concert that took place on that date over the past 25. The 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour series runs each day between the start of Phish Fall Tour 1995 on September 27 through that tour’s finale on December 17.
Phish got their engines running in kicking off Fall Tour 2009 at Cobo Arena in the Motor City of Detroit 11 years ago today. The band’s first show of the run was highlighted by a +15-minute “Down With Disease” that featured impressive contributions from all four members.
While Phish’s lone concert at Cobo Arena was the official start of the tour, they did host Festival 8 in Indio, California over the previous Halloween Weekend. The band’s Fall Tour 2009 consisted of 13 shows with stops in Cincinnati, Syracuse, Philadelphia, Albany, Portland (Maine), New York City and Charlottesville following the performance in Detroit.
More 25 Years Of Phish Fall Tour on JamBase
The quartet played it safe for the majority of the night at Cobo Arena, which began with a first set loaded with staples. Phish’s 12-song opening stanza was a career-spanning affair including oldies (“David Bowie,” “Foam” and “AC/DC Bag”,) 1990s gems (“Sample In A Jar,” “It’s Ice” and “Horn”) and tunes debuted earlier in the year (“Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan” and “Kill Devil Falls”). A nicely extended “46 Days” was the clear standout of the otherwise uneventful frame.
A quick romp through “Runaway Jim” gave way to “Down With Disease” to start the second set. While the beginning of the jam saw guitarist Trey Anastasio botch a few notes, as tends to happen at tour openers, he stepped it up once “Disease” got cooking. Keyboardist Page McConnell focused on dirty Clavinet riffs, which egged Anastasio on to deliver dark melodies of his own.
Phish connected on a powerful chord pattern around the 10-minute mark as they blew through the typical “Down With Disease” structure. The band transitioned the improvisation into a major-key for a pretty segment where Trey and Page traded licks while drummer Jon Fishman laid down a powerful beat and bassist Mike Gordon kept hinting at new directions.
Eventually, Anastasio worked elements of “Free” into the mix before the band fully segued into the Billy Breathes rocker. Phish continued to focus on Billy Breathes with “Waste” and “Taste” following “Free.” Trey then shined once more on a jam chart-worthy “Taste” before the slow pairing of “Bug” and “Wading In The Velvet Sea.” A straightfoward “Mike’s Song”/”I Am Hydrogen”/”Weekapaug Groove” suite and “Cavern” closed the set. The four-piece capped the night with a “Character Zero” encore.
Listen to an audience recording of Phish’s Fall Tour 2009 opener below taped by Z-Man and shared by fromtheaquarium queued to “Down With Disease”: