Following the release of Phish’s fourth studio album, Rift, in February, the band commenced a seventy-two show tour that lasted until May and took them through twenty seven states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces. This was the first tour that featured Page on grand piano. The tour showcased many new original and cover songs including Loving Cup, The Wedge, Lifeboy, Rock and Roll All Night and Pig in a Pen (see TMIPH February 1993 and TMIPH May 1993).
April kicked off with a double-performance on April Fool’s Day. During the afternoon, Phish appeared, along with Neil Young, David Crosby, Carol King, Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart and Kenny Loggins, at an Ancient Forests Benefit in Portland, Oregon. There they performed two a cappella songs, Amazing Grace and I Didn’t Know, in front of a large audience. They played a headline show that evening at the Roseland Theater. Before the Roseland show, the band and crew spread the April Fool’s rumor that Neil Young would be sitting in that night. The first set at Roseland Theater began with Trey lightly teasing Heart of Gold and featured a raging Fluffhead and Run Like An Antelope with teases of I Feel The Earth Move and Barracuda. During set two the joke reached fruition when a folding chair, Trey’s acoustic guitar and an extra microphone were set up after Big Ball Jam. Trey then announced Neil Young and motioned to the backstage area for him to come on stage. As anticipation reached a fever pitch, the audience went nuts until the joke became apparent and the band broke into Hold Your Head Up, signaling that Fish was about to sing. Friends of the band seated in the front row promptly hit Fish in the face with a pie to punish him for the joke. Laughing, Fish broke into a half-hearted rendition of Neil’s After The Gold Rush, focusing on the "felt like getting high" lyrics. Fish performed Terrapin with a vacuum solo before the band tried a second less-plausible Fool, this time telling the audience President Bill Clinton was coming out to play saxophone. The house music after the show was Neil and Crazy Horse’s Welfare Mothers.
The next night Phish played at the Mount Baker Theater in Bellingham, Washington. On April 3rd Phish made their first appearance in British Columbia at Vancouver’s 86th Street Music Hall. The band played on the 5th at the HUB Ballroom in Seattle, where the band and crew had a chance to watch North Carolina beat University of Michigan in the NCAA basketball finals during the set break. Seattle’s set two featured an interesting combination of songs including Caravan, Punch You in the Eye and Tweezer with teases of Caravan. The set also featured You Enjoy Myself with teases of the Yes classic, Owner of a Lonely Heart. There were no shows the next three days as band and crew traveled across the country to resume the tour in the Midwest.
On April 9th, Phish performed at The State Theater in Minneapolis and on April 10th they played at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. The second set in Chicago featured Mike’s Song > Great Gig in the Sky > Weekapaug Groove, after which the band brought out Sugar Blue to join them. Sugar Blue finished the set with Phish, playing harmonica on Funky Bitch and Cavern and playing and singing two blues standards, Help Me and Hoochie Coochie Man, both of which were performed by Phish for the first time that night. April 12th found the band at the Student Union Ballroom in Iowa City, Iowa where they broke out Tube and Satin Doll during set one. Before Satin Doll (the first version by Phish in three years), Trey explained that his Grandma Jean attended college at University of Iowa and used to dance to big-band music such as Dizzy Gillespie’s at the ballroom. Set two featured Phish’s first Honky Tonk Women sandwiched inside You Enjoy Myself. YEM also contained a vocal jam on New York, New York. The encore that night consisted of the paradoxical pairing of Amazing Grace and Highway to Hell, followed by Rocky Top.
After a show on April 13th in Kansas City, Kansas, Phish performed on the 14th in St. Louis at American Theater where an experimental Stash > Kung > Stash punctuated set one. Set two kicked off with Roger Holloway’s marriage proposal to his wife Jennifer, followed by AC/DC Bag dedicated to the couple for the "just like Roger, he’s a crazy little kid" line. You Enjoy Myself appeared later in set two, this time with Spooky sandwiched inside. Harpua was also played that night. There was a show on the 16th at McCauley Theater in Louisville where Gumbo was played for the first time in over two years.
April’s first two-night stand took place the next two nights at Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The April 17th show featured an eventful second set, including Wilson, Reba, Halley’s Comet > You Enjoy Myself and a noteworthy Big Black Furry Creature From Mars encore. During Creature, Mike and Trey each thought it was the other’s turn to start the song after one of the pauses and ended up waiting over ten minutes in the middle of the song. The theater erupted with anxious laughter, catcalls and other confusion as the band stood frozen on stage for what seemed like an eternity. Eventually they figured it out and finished the song but the audience was left with myriad questions: What were they doing? Was it on purpose? Why the endless pause in Ann Arbor? The next night near the end of set one, the band began I Didn’t Know and Page stood up with his microphone and announced the "what did you think of last night’s encore?" segment of the show, interviewing audience members to see what their thoughts were during the Creature on the 17th. A variety of opinions were set forth before Page asked Lighting Designer Chris Kuroda ("the yes man") what he thought. He replied over the P.A."I loved it". Sound Engineer Paul Languedoc was asked next and he stated that he was thinking if Phish was a real hardcore band they might have played something like thisÉand he proceeded to play a Sex Pistols CD over the P.A. Finally, Page asked Mike and Trey what they thought. Mike said he thought Trey was trying to be funny since it was Trey’s turn to pick the song back up and he didn’t. In a slam on University of Michigan’s Fab Five, Trey said he felt like the star player on a championship basketball team who dropped the ball by calling time out with seconds left in the game – recalling Chris Webber’s illegal time-out call with eleven seconds left in the NCAA finals game between Michigan and University of North Carolina.
On April 20th, Phish celebrated 4/20 at Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio. They played a second night there on April 21st, during which they performed a stand-out Split Open and Melt with a soaring jam that was used to fashion the studio version of Demand on Hoist (see TMIPH April 1994). The band played the next night at Agora Theater in Cleveland. You Enjoy Myself on the 22nd included the Vibration of Life and the encore consisted of the rare combination of AC/DC Bag followed by Amazing Grace. There was a show on the 23rd at Colgate University’s Reid Athletic Center. Along with a strong performance that included the breakout of Ballad of Curtis Loew and a guest appearance by Fish’s mom, Mimi Fishman, on vacuum during Lengthwise. A malfunctioning fog machine caused Page to become totally consumed by smoke during Mike’s Song. This show also has the distinction of being the "We Win In Our Gym" concert as seen in The Phish Book. The band found the team-spirited signs in one of the locker rooms and brought them onstage as a joke.
The tour continued into New York State where Phish played at Clarkson University’s Cheel Arena on April 24th. They played their first rendition of Isaac Hayes’s When Something Is Wrong With My Baby during the first set there. Set two featured Bathtub Gin, Dinner and a Movie, Mound and Harry Hood. Clarkson also had a super high-energy crowd who dismantled the saw-horse style barricades between the audience and the stage and proceeded to crowd-surf, even managing to push the stage back far enough to throw the stage lights out of focus for part of the show. Continuing through upstate New York, Phish played on the 25th at SUNY Geneseo and after a day off, performed in Toronto on April 27th. The next night, they played at Le Spectrum in Montreal, where set two showcased Reba, Mike’s Song > Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove > Makisupa Policeman > Weekapaug before closing the show with a rare My Friend, My Friend encore. Makisupa had not been played in over two years preceding this show. The last Phish show in the month of April took place on the 30th at University of Hartford. They opened the sold-out show with Lengthwise > Maze and played Tweezer > Walk Away > Mound during set two. A three-song encore consisting of When Something Is Wrong With My Baby, Amazing Grace, and Tweezer (reprise) ended the show.
The tour continued into May with shows in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Albany, Maine and New Hampshire and finally wrapped up at Laguna Seca Days in Monterey.