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Band

July 1993

After finishing a long spring tour encompassing most of February (see TMIPH February 1993), March, April and the beginning of May (see TMIPH May 1993), Phish took some time in June to practice and relax. Having traveled the amphitheater circuit the previous summer opening for Santana, summer 1993 represented the band’s first tour as a headline act in amphitheaters.

July began on a much different note with Trey doing an interview and performing at the National Guitar Summer Workshop at the Canterbury School of Music in New Milford, Connecticut. There he spoke with the students and played a variety of jazz and blues standards (as well as Page’s composition Magilla) with some of them. He had attended the same workshop previously with his friend (looks too much like…) Dave Abrahams. Dave is a long-time friend with whom Trey co-wrote Dave’s Energy Guide (also known as A Memo to Robert Fripp) at the National Guitar Summer Workshop when they were there together as students years before. A few days after the NGSW on July 9th, Trey got together with his friend Jamie Masefield to play with Jamie’s Jazz Mandolin Project at JC’s Jazz Club in Plattsburgh, New York. With Noel Sagerman on drums and Justin Rose on upright bass, Trey on guitar and Jamie on mandolin, the fledgling "JMP" played two sets of standards and Masefield originals and also Page’s Magilla.

Technical rehearsals took place from July 11th-14th in Burlington’s Memorial Auditorium, and the Phish 1993 Summer Tour commenced on July 15th at Cayuga County Fairgrounds in Weedsport, New York. There, the band played the first live versions of Leprechaun, their a cappella version of Freebird, and Daniel (Saw the Stone). The next night, Phish rolled into the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where they debuted their cover of Hot Rize’s cover Nellie Cane, along with Deodato’s 2001 and Prince’s Purple Rain which was sung by Fish with the accompaniment of his trusty Electrolux vacuum. July 17th found the band at the Wolf Trap in Vienna, Virginia. There they closed set one with Oh Kee Pah > Bowie and during set two played the summer’s first Big Ball Jam as well as the interesting combination of Mike’s Song > Leprechaun > Weekapaug. On July 18th, the band played at the IC Light Amphitheater, Pittsburgh, PA. A fireworks display at nearby Three Rivers Stadium was visible during Phish’s concert, leading some fans to erroneously believe the band had arranged for a fireworks display at the show. Though it was more than a year before the song would be actually played live, the Pittsburgh soundcheck spawned what is apparently the band’s first attempt at the theme that would later evolve into Guyute. Also of note from set two of that show were an Antelope which contained references to the seldom-played Brother and Fish’s foiled vacuum attempt (it was on reverse) for Purple Rain.

The 19th and 20th were days off as Phish prepared for their fifth performance at the HORDE festival. The show included Blues Traveler, Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Widespread Panic and Big Head Todd and The Monsters. The first of two HORDE shows that summer for Phish was on July 21st at Middletown, New York’s Orange County Fairgrounds. The next night, the band traveled home for a very rainy show at the Performing Arts Center in Stowe, Vermont. Despite the torrential downpour and the fact that the audience had no cover, the band persevered. Set two kicked off with 2001 > Tweezer > Walk Away and finished with four songs featuring special guest (and collaborator from Rift) Gordon Stone on banjo. On July 23rd, Phish arrived at Wantaugh, New York’s Jones Beach Music Theater for the third time (their first as a headliner). There they opened the show with a combination of Buried Alive > Rift > Caravan and Fish performed Faht (a.k.a. Windham Hell) during set two.

Phish played their first headline show at Great Woods Performing Arts Center (now Tweeter Center) in Mansfield, Massachusetts on July 24th. There they tore through two sets of classics including the first Mango Song since May 1992 and a 2001 > Split Open and Melt set two opener, a Mike’s > Y-Rushalayim Schel Zahav (Jerusalem City of Gold) > Weekapaug and a raucous Freebird show closer. The next day, the band played the dusty Waterloo Village Music Center in Stanhope, New Jersey. The venue is generally grassy but due to Lollapalooza having visited the previous day, the grass had turned to dust. They opened the show with Wilson and closed the first set with David Bowie, containing teases of Sounds of Silence and Donna Lee and a Harpua-style "Oom Pah Pah". Set two featured Harpua, with a narration by Trey about Jimmy, Famous Amos cookies and the television show "Taxi". After a day off on July 26th, Phish played their sixth HORDE Festival set (all the Phish HORDE performances were one set only) and their last to-date at the Classic Amphitheater in Richmond, Virginia. The set-closer on July 27th was You Enjoy Myself and it featured many special guests joining Phish onstage, including Chan Kinchla from Blues Traveler, Dave Matthews and members of his band and members of Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. During the traditional "mini-trampoline" section of YEM, a true to life dummy of John Popper (complete with his trademark hat and harmonica vest) was lowered in a wheelchair (Popper was confined to a wheelchair that whole summer due to a motorcycle wreck) from the ceiling toward a giant trampoline while Popper jammed along offstage. The joke, based on Popper’s grand personage, was that the cable holding the chair and dummy "broke" and the effigy of Popper crashed through the trampoline and thunked onto the stage. The musicians onstage then shocked the audience by attacking "Popper" as the harmonica wailed on.

July 28th found Phish at Charlotte, North Carolina’s Grady Cole Center where they played a Foreigner-based sound check and a first set that opened with the relatively rare All Things Reconsidered. The encore that night consisted of Page joined by his father, Dr. Jack McConnell, for a piano blues jam with the band, a short piano duet that included Fish on his washboard. The three-song encore ended with Dr. McConnell’s "standard" guest tune with Phish, Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey? The next night was the first of two Tennessee shows: July 29th was at Tennessee Theater in Knoxville, followed by a show on July 30th at "The Veranda" at Starwood Amphitheater (now First American Music Center) in Antioch. As a fledgling amphitheater act, Phish didn’t actually perform on the amphitheater stage in Antioch. Instead, the so-called Veranda is the area above the amphitheater and the lawn (where restrooms and concessions are). The band’s dressing rooms, however, were in the standard position behind the amphitheater stage. The band rode up to their veranda stage in a golf cart as Mike played Contact on his bass by way of a wireless transmitter, hence the Contact opener was actually begun before Phish stepped on stage. Set two began with 2001 > Tweezer and ended with David Bowie and a Walk Away, Amazing Grace encore.

July ended with a show the next night at Masquerade Music Park in Atlanta, Georgia, where the band played Mike’s Song > Leprechaun > Weekapaug Groove and an encore of AC/DC Bag and Freebird. The tour continued through the month of August into the south and midwest and ended on the west coast at the University of California at Berkeley’s Greek Theater, before the band returned to the studio in the fall to begin recording their next album, Hoist.