Legendary jam band Phish invaded (what the locals have known forever as Pine Knob) DTE Energy Music Center for the first time on Friday night. Although they played at Cobo Hall in 2009, this was their first outdoor concert in the Detroit area since playing in the pouring rain on the rooftop parking deck of the Phoenix Center in June of 1994.
The parking lots began filling up early with old school VW busses, and the tailgating and partying began. Just outside the doors people were signing a big poster wishing bassist Mike Gordon a Happy Birthday. Called for 7:00 pm, as the nearly capacity crowd filled the pavilion and lawn, Phish came on stage ready for some fun! The band got on stage at about 7:45pm opening with Wolfman’s Brother and the first set lasted about an hour and a half as the sun set behind the hill. As usual, the band fed off the audience, at times, pausing motionless in the middle of a song and then continuing on, playing with everyone in the audience. The first set included Sample in a Jar, Mike’s Song (it was his birthday after all), and ended with The Wedge.
The second set began with Down with Disease and moved into the song Fluffhead where the crowd sang along to part of the song. This was followed up by the song David Bowie where the band jammed and improvised for 20 plus minutes. Like most Phish songs, the beginning and ending is just a technical formality. For Trey Anastasio, keyboardist Page McConnell, bassist Mike Gordon and drummer Jon Fishman, it’s all about the middle of the songs. This is where they truly get to show off their unbelievable improvisational skills. Cavern closed out the second set and the crowd waited for the band to re-emerge for an encore where they covered Led Zepplin’s song Good Times Bad Times.
Complementing the music was an amazing spectacle of a light show put on by legendary lighting technician Chris Kuroda. The colorful beams of light seemed to be a 5th member of the band reaching all the way out to the top of the hill. There seemed to be more lights than even imaginable coming from every part of the stage.
As the crowd filed out to the parking lots, you could hear the buzz of what people believed to be an amazing concert. People began settling into their cars and off to the next show in Cuyahoga Falls, Oh. Overall, it was a great show and we couldn’t have asked for better weather for an evening at DTE Energy Music Center.
Set 1: Wolfman’s Brother, Funky Bitch, Sample in a Jar, NICU, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, Tela > Chalk Dust Torture, The Wedge
Set 2: Down with Disease -> Fluffhead > David Bowie, Waste > 2001 , Also Sprach Zarathustra> Cavern
Encore: Good Times Bad Times