After finishing 1994 with their traditional run of holiday shows, Phish spent the next few months compiling and mixing their first live album, a double CD entitled A Live One, which was released on June 27, 1995. Most of the songs from the band’s upcoming studio album Billy Breathes (see TMIPH October 1996) would not debut until the summer, but May found the band previewing some of that new material live at a couple of non-traditional venues in Vermont and Massachusetts.
Some photo shoots took place early in the month (including one of Mike for UVM’s alumni magazine Summer Quarterly on May 4th) and the band had begun rehearsing a batch of new songs. On May 14th, Phish held a party/rehearsal at Fish’s house in Vermont where they performed for family and friends. This event was another in the ongoing tradition of gatherings where the band tried out new material in front of a small group of local folks (see TMIPH June 1997). During the May 14th party at Fish’s, the band played a single set consisting of the first-ever versions of the gospel classic Don’t You Wanna Go, Spock’s Brain, Theme From The Bottom, Ha Ha Ha, Taste, Free, Strange Design, Glide II, the Velvet Underground’s Lonesome Cowboy Bill and Brian Eno’s I’ll Come Running.
On May 16th, the band began their day with a photo shoot with photographer Danny Clinch at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, after which they made the short trek to nearby Lowell. The occasion was a Benefit Concert for Voters for Choice at Lowell Memorial Auditorium put together in memory of victims of a recent Brookline family planning clinic shooting. At Lowell, they performed along with opening acts EBN and Jennifer Trynin. Before Phish’s performance, Gloria Steinem introduced the band. After her address to a restless crowd, the band broke into one extended set consisting primarily of the aforementioned new songs. They also mixed in some classics including Reba, You Enjoy Myself and their first and only version of Gloria, which segued out of I’ll Come Running and which featured Ms. Steinem joining the band onstage to show off her dancing talents. The show at Lowell marked some significant non-musical changes for Phish as well. It was there that they began their long-time collaborations with current Tour Manager Richard "Dickie Scotland" Glasgow and Head of Security, John Langenstein. Following this event, the band headed home to prepare for their summer tour, which began early in June.