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Band

April 1994

The months preceding April, 1994 were relatively quiet for Phish. After finishing up the Holiday run of shows (see TMIPH December 1993) the band members took some personal time and availed themselves of the chance to play with side projects. Trey and Fish joined friends Jamie Masefield and Stacy Starkweather for Bad Hat performances in Vermont. In March, Trey appeared with Michael Ray and the Cosmic Krewe for a Burlington show and all four members of Phish sat in with longtime compatriots Col. Bruce Hampton and Aquarium Rescue Unit (see TMIPH May 1991 and TMIPH March 1992) plus Joseph “Joey” Somerville, Jr. on trumpet and Dave “the Truth” Grippo at Burlington’s Club Metronome. On March 29th, the album Hoist was released in the United States and in April, Phish set out on an extensive spring and summer tour which would include 73 concerts at arenas, theatres and amphitheatres. Following the precedent set during the previous Holiday tour, mail order taper’s tickets were made available for the Beacon Theater, Mullins Center, Bob Carpenter Center and Fox Theatre shows.

The band began their spring touring with a day of technical rehearsal on April 2nd at the Flynn Theatre. Two days later the tour began with a benefit for the recently-refurbished Flynn. Although this was the official beginning of the tour, this show was not publicly announced along with the other spring shows and tickets were available only at the Flynn Theatre box office. On this evening Phish performed many of the songs from Hoist for the first time, including: Scent of a Mule, Down With Disease, If I Could, Julius and Wolfman’s Brother. They also debuted a cover from The Jungle Book movie, I Wanna Be Like You, which was sung exuberantly by Fishman. Along with the new material, the band was joined in the second set by a new and larger configuration of the “Giant Country Horns” (see TMIPH July 1991) consisting of Dave Grippo on alto sax, Carl “Gears” Gerhard on trumpet, Chris Peterman on tenor sax, Mike Gallick on baritone sax, Joey Somerville on trumpet and Don Glasgo on trombone. Accompanied by the horns, Phish performed classics such as Buried Alive, The Landlady, Magilla, Split Open and Melt and Oh Kee Pah Ceremony > Suzy Greenberg. The horns also joined the band on some of the new tunes debuted such as Wolfman’s Brother and I Wanna Be Like You.

After playing in Montreal and Toronto on the 5th and 6th, Phish continued to the Penn State University Recreation Hall on April 8th where Fish’s mom, Mimi Fishman, joined them on cymbals during Neil Diamond’s Cracklin’ Rose. The next night they performed at Broome County Arena in Binghamton, New York where the song Demand was played live for the first time. The following night, Phish stepped into the Alumni Arena at SUNY Buffalo. During soundcheck, while Chris “Topher” Kuroda (see TMIPH March 1989) was focusing thelights, the stage was quite dark. Trey was looking up admiring the lights and failed to notice 2 of 4 Genie Towers sticking up through each side of the stage (Genie Towers are apparatus designed to hold lighting trusses). Trey tripped over one of the Genie Towers and fell into the hole in the stage flooring through which it extended. He sprained his ankle, hurt his elbow and hit his face pretty hard too. Trey went to the hospital while the band completed sound check without him. He returned in time for the show, though he played seated on a stool except for spelling Fish on drums (in spite of his injuries) for both I Wanna Be Like You and I Didn’t Know.

Phish played on April 11th at Snively Arena at University of New Hampshire in Durham where Trey’s trampoline duties during You Enjoy Myself were assumed by Brad Sands. After a day off, the band settled down for a three-night stand at New York City’s Beacon Theater, which provided a glimpse back at the ambiance of Phish theater shows for many fans who had only seen the band in larger arenas and amphitheatres. The first Beacon concert (on April 13th) was preceded by a brief radio appearance on WNEW. The middle show featured the debut of another song from Hoist, an acoustic version of Dog-Faced Boy. For most of the second set of the final evening, Phish was again joined by the reformed “Giant Country Horns” and together they offered the first verse of Alumni Blues, which had not been performed live since October of 1991.

On April 16th, Phish played at the Mullins Center at UMass Amherst and Brad Sands again substituted for Trey on the mini-trampoline. The band played Axilla II for the first time live. After an overnight drive, April 17th found the band in Fairfax, Virginia at George Mason University’s Patriot Center. They played the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware the next night, where longtime fan Big Phil joined them for Trey’s portion of the trampoline routine during Mike’s Song. Band and crew enjoyed April 19th as a day off and on 4/20, Phish performed at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington, Virginia. Dave Matthews Band opened the show and Dave took over for Trey on trampoline during You Enjoy Myself while the rest of his band jammed with Phish; the song segued into Phish’s first version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow to end the second set.

The next night, Dave Matthews Band opened for Phish again at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and again, band members joined Phish during their second set. Carter Beauford and Fish began the encore alone on two drum kits, then the rest of the members of Phish and Dave Matthews Band joined them. This jam progressed into All Along the Watchtower with Dave on lead vocals. On April 22nd, Phish played at Township Auditorium in Columbia, South Carolina. The encore featured Page’s father, Dr. Jack McConnell, on piano and lead vocals for a boogie-woogie duet with Page and his signature guest song with the band, Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey. Phish then played at Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theater which happened to coincide with Atlanta’s annual "Freaknik" (a college spring-break party in the streets). Merle Saunders joined in on keyboards and vocals for Caravan and High-Heeled Sneakers, and during the second set Phish was joined by Col. Bruce Hampton for an all-keyboard jam at the end of YEM.

April 24th found Phish at the Grady Cole Center in Charlotte, North Carolina and the next day they played at the Civic Auditorium in Knoxville, Tennessee. On the 26th, the band returned to Atlanta to play live to a small audience on the Purple Dragon Studios’ "Live X" show on 99X FM. After a day off, Phish headed to Florida for a set on April 28th at West Palm Beach’s SunFest. The next night they played at Boatyard Village Pavilion on the ocean in Clearwater. Set one there produced the first Sanity in nearly two years. The band wrapped up the month and the run of Florida shows on April 30th at The Edge in Orlando.

After April, the tour continued through the South and Southwest to California. There it moved up the coast and finally the band returned to the Midwest for shows in June. By July, Phish was back in the East with two more shows in Canada (Ottawa and Montreal) and two at Great Woods. The summer tour ended with a show at Sugarbush North’s Summerstage in Fayston, Vermont.