After their first New Year’s Eve extravaganza on December 31st, 1989 (see TMIPH December 1989), Phish took most of January off. They played some dates in the northeast at the end of January, 1990, and began February with their first visit to the south.
On February 1st and 2nd, the band began a string of southern appearances opening for Widespread Panic with a date at Panic’s home venue, The Georgia Theater, in Athens, Georgia. On the 1st, Phish played a single set beginning with David Bowie and ending with Mike’s Groove. This show also featured Trey’s occasional Rhombus Narration, during which he explained The Divided Sky ritual and described the Rhombus as “a big square tilted.”
On the 3rd, Phish played again with WSP at the Cotton Club in Atlanta and on the 4th, they played at Greenstreets in Columbia, South Carolina. They made the trek overnight to Charleston, where they performed on the 5th at Myskyn’s. The next night was officially a night off, but the band greeted Page’s parents in Hilton Head, South Carolina at 5 am when they arrived at their house. Page’s mother recalls their arrival: “It was Jack’s (Page’s father) birthday and they greeted him with a rendition of Carolina in the Morning. Checking our guest book, I see that it was signed by Mike, Fish, Page, Trey, Marley, Robert “claw me down” Smith, Chris Kuroda, Peter Schall, and Paul Languedoc. Trey wrote, ‘A tub like no others I’ve ever sunk down in, A couple of golf carts we all drove around in, The coziest home that I’ve ever seen…I’m back on the road (and my laundry’s all clean)’.”
The next night, the band, the crew, and their clean laundry traveled to the Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for their first of what would be seven shows there through the years. Then Phish made their first stop in Richmond, Virginia where they performed at a club called The Jade Elephant. On the 9th, the band moved into the more familiar territory of Pennsylvania where they played two sets full of both old and new material at Lancaster’s Chameleon Club. The second set there closed with the combination of Alumni Blues, Foam, Curtis Loew and David Bowie; during the I Didn’t Know encore, Trey introduced Fish as "the King of Prussia".
On February 10th Phish remained in Pennsylvania for their third appearance in less than six months at the 23 East Cabaret in Ardmore. The show featured a first-set Bathtub Gin, a version of Possum with teases of the Andy Griffith television theme and the a capella Carolina, which had debuted only a month or so previously. Set two opened with LaGrange followed by Esther and included performances of Charlie Parker’s Donna Lee, Fee and a two-song encore of I Didn’t Know and Highway to Hell.
After a few days off the band began a series of northeast dates, returning the favor by featuring Widespread Panic as the opening act. The two groups traveled to The Living Room in Providence, Rhode Island on February 15th for the first of their northern collaborations. On the 16th, they played The Paradise in Boston. This show marked Phish’s seventh performance in the room that had set the tone for Phish’s success in the Boston area the previous January. They opened this Paradise show with Fluffhead and closed the first set with a spirited Antelope. Set two opened with Golgi and also featured Possum (dedicated to longtime Burlington friend Stacey Steinmetz), The Sloth and Lizards. An encore of Carolina followed by Whipping Post closed the evening. The next day’s show at the UMass Amherst Ballroom also featured Widespread Panic and an additional act, Gene Matthews. Cassette copies of Lawn Boy were made available at shows around that time, though the album was not officially released until that September (see TMIPH September 1990).
On February 22nd, Phish traveled to Keene State College in New Hampshire where they performed a single-set show that opened with Wilson and You Enjoy Myself, included an Oh Kee Pah, AC/DC Bag, a version of Caravan with teases of Magilla, and David Bowie with teases of Mike’s Song. There was no second set at Keene because someone pulled the fire alarm. Phish played the next night at Pennsylvania’s Haverford College where they opened the first set with Alumni Blues, You Enjoy Myself and Possum. Set two featured Reba, back-to-back vocal performances by Page of ZZ Top’s Jesus Left Chicago and Tela from the Gamehendge saga, along with a version of Suzy Greenberg that included a "Low Rider" jam.
On February 24th, Phish played in Washington, D.C. It was their second time in the nation’s capitol and their first at The Bayou, and the show there concluded with a noteworthy encore combination of The Lizards and Caravan. Phish finished the month with a stop at the 8X10 Club in Baltimore, Maryland on February 25th. The first set there was accented by Col. Forbin’s Ascent Fly Famous Mockingbird, Satin Doll and a rendition of David Bowie which had a distinct jam on Tweezer during the introduction. The first version of Rift, which was previously the "With" portion of The Curtain With, was also put forth that night. Set two of the February 25th show featured McGrupp, Makisupa Policeman and closed with a high-energy Big Black Furry Creature From Mars.
After a busy February, Phish spent March touring throughout the northeast prior to making their second visit to Colorado in April.