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Band

April 1992

Following a string of concerts in the east, southeast and midwest (see TMIPH March 1992) Phish continued their spring tour supporting A Picture of Nectar with shows in the western states and along the west coast. The "secret language " had taken quick hold and the shows were filled with references to this newly-launched band-audience joke. Nirvana’s new release Nevermind was still spinning in the band’s and crew’s CD players as they toured in a panel truck and a couple of custom vans.

On April Fool’s Day, the band played in Lawrence, Kansas and Fish celebrated by showing up in a black dress with a feather boa wrapped around his neck. After a day off, the band settled in for their fourth stay in Colorado, starting with a "hotel show" at the Hyatt Regency in Beaver Creek, Colorado on April 3rd. There was an April 4th show at University of Colorado Fieldhouse in Boulder where the band announced they would play in Boulder again the next day at the Fox Theatre. After the April 5th surprise show at the Fox, Phish headed to Gunnison for a show at the Western State College Gym. The April 6th Gunnison show is best remembered for the bluegrass version of Cavern in which Trey changed the lyrics following the "foggy cavern’s musty grime" line to "I saddled up horses and headed on down to the hoe-down!". The Guacamole jam had its genesis at Gunnison as well when avocados were distributed among the audience (someone even threw an avocado at the basketball backboard) during Big Black Furry Creature From Mars.

On April 7th, there was a show at the intimate Fort Lewis College Fine Arts Auditorium in Durango, Colorado, followed by a show the next day in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the El Rey Theatre. From April 9th to 11th, the band and crew went rafting on the Verde River outside Flagstaff, Arizona, guided by Amy Skelton’s sister Sue. Page recalls that it was during that raft trip when everyone except Chris Kuroda bought Croakies to keep their glasses on and Toph purchased a snazzy new pair of Ray Bans only to lose them later that same afternoon. On April 12th and 13th, the tour resumed with Arizona shows at University of Arizona in Tucson and After The Gold Rush in Tempe. The April 13th show was punctuated by numerous Wizard of Oz and Smells Like Teen Spirit teases and by a unique vacuum solo by Fish during Love You which was interrupted due to "not enough suction". After the Colorado and Arizona shows, Phish traveled further west for their first southern California dates.

A San Diego show listed in the Newsletter was canceled, so the first California show was April 15th at the Variety Arts Theater in Los Angeles. Widespread Panic was the opening act and taping by tapers was prohibited by a zealous venue manager who refused to believe there was no money being made on the tapes saying "I wasn’t born yesterday" and threatening to stop the show if the tapers set up their equipment. On April 16th, a show took place at the University of California Santa Barbara Anaconda Theater with Widespread Panic opening. Notable highlights were the first Icculus in over a year and the set II opener, Sanity. The next day the band played their first engagement at San Francisco’s Warfield Theater with Widespread Panic opening once again. At the Warfield, Phish performed the first live version of Catapult and a spirited Brother featuring Page’s brother Steve, Mike’s brother David, booking agent Chip Hooper and others climbing in and out of a washtub on stage. Later that night, the tub was given away to fans and the crew van was burglarized, leaving the crew without clothes or luggage. The following day, April 18th, was the Stanford University Rincadelt Party which featured a free outdoor daytime performance by the band at a grassy Earthquake Evacuation area at Stanford. The Stanford show featured Trey spraying the audience with a power squirtgun for the "squirtgun breaks" he announced throughout the show. Mike celebrated Passover with a special bass solo during Avenu Malkenu and a (seven year old) special guest Cameron McKenney was featured on ukulele for Contact and Big Black Furry Creature From Mars. The Stanford show is also recalled for a version of Harry Hood featuring teases of Linus and Lucy (the Peanuts theme). After the show on the 18th, there was a football game in which monitor engineer Pete Schall threw a pass to a guy who managed to run into a metal pole and crack his head wide open. Quick thinking then-merchandise guy Brad Sands fashioned a tourniquet out of three dozen Picture of Nectar Black shirts (not a top seller) in order to stop the profuse bleeding.

April 19th found the band at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz (set II’s Mike’s > Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove is warmly remembered) and April 20th was a day off for wine tasting in the Napa Valley followed by travel up the coast to Humboldt County. April 21st at the rustic Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Arcata, California was the smallest show of the California run and a unique one at that. The Arcata show followed a strange path, with many references to the secret language and a humorous interchange between audience, Fish and Mike leading to Mike singing Catapult solo and Fish playing bass and Mike vacuum for an impromptu performance of Bob Marley’s Lively Up Yourself. Before Sanity, Trey mentioned how much the band loved the venue and the local specialties. Following the April 21st show, the crew drove 180 miles from Eureka to Grant’s Pass, Oregon, getting only one hour of sleep before driving the rest of the way to Eugene.

The next day was Earth Day and the band played at the Hilton Ballroom in Eugene, Oregon with Trey attempting to sneak in a joke about Fish’s hotel room (which turned into a joke about Trey’s hotel room when Paul didn’t turn off Fish’s vocal mike at Trey’s request) during the first Harpua since the Boulder show earlier in the month. The April 23rd show was at the Oz Nightclub in Seattle, where the band toyed with Seattle culture, transposing "espresso" for the word "coffee" in Fee. The next night, the band was in Portland, Oregon and Fish was forced to play a then-rare trombone solo in place of his vacuum solo in Love You due to an Electrolux failure. On April 25th, Phish played their third show in Olympia, Washington at the Evergreen College Recreation Center and set off for the midwest. The tour picked back up on April 29th in Minneapolis, Minnesota for a show at Prince’s club (where Purple Rain was filmed), First Avenue. During set I, Trey explained the secret language and in honor of the Artist then known as Prince, Trey teased Raspberry Beret during the Weekapaug Groove in set II. Page recalls a disgruntled crew due to "horrible food" from catering at the Minneapolis show. Col. Bruce and Aquarium Rescue Unit opened again on April 30th for the last show of April at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin. Page notes that the food was excellent in Madison, especially the guacamole (see above re: Guacamole jam) especially since the band and crew went out to dinner. Following the Wisconsin show, the tour continued for another three weeks in the midwest and northeast.