May 1993

Following the release of Rift, the band embarked on a national tour that included 70 concerts. Phish’s fourth studio album, Rift, was released in late January (see TMIPH February 1993). The tour went from the Northeast through New York and Pennsylvania, down into the Southern states, across Colorado and the Southwest, up the entire West Coast, and back across the Midwest before looping through Canada to the Northeast again. During this time, the band was fully comfortable in the sold-out theater setting, playing multiple nights in many of their strongest markets. May 1993 kicked off with a two night stand at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. The second set on the first night featured Trey on acoustic guitar to segue from Fluffhead into My Friend, and a Mike’s Song > Great Gig in the Sky > Weekapaug Groove with Fish performing on vacuum. The following show featured Fish and his "Madonna" washboard for I Didn’t Know. On May 3rd, Phish rolled into the State Theater in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The second set Tweezer from that show was notable both because it segued into and back out of Manteca, and also because it included a jam on the song "I Feel The Earth Move". The same night’s performance of McGrupp is also fondly remembered among the show’s highlights.

After a night off, Phish performed the following two nights at Albany’s Palace Theater. Colonel Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit (see TMIPH May 1991, TMIPH March 1992 and TMIPH April 1994) joined Phish for the end of the second set and encore which featured a jam out of YEM with scatting by ARU’s Oteil Burbridge and rumblings from the Dude of Life along with a vacuum solo by Fish, and an appearance of the Madonna washboard. The encore consisted of a rare Cavern > Take the A-Train > Cavern combination. The May 6th show at the Palace Theater was equally inspired with special guests Dick Solberg (a/k/a The Sun Mountain Fiddler ) and Jeff Walton (on acoustic guitar and vocals).This collaboration lasted for parts of both sets and spawned the debut performances by Phish of Why You Been Gone So Long, Tennessee Waltz and That’s Alright Mama.

On May 7th, Phish played at the Bangor Auditorium in Bangor, Maine where first set highlights included an intriguing Caravan > Manteca > Lizards along with Horn, Divided Sky and an Antelope set closer. Set two opened with Rift and concluded with a combination of YEM, Great Gig in the Sky, Harry Hood, Harpua (which alluded to the Crossroads played the following show), and Highway to Hell. The next night, the band closed the grueling spring tour at UNH Fieldhouse in Durham, New Hampshire where set one featured a rare Stash > Kung > Stash and an extremely uncommon performance of one-time live standard Satin Doll, before which Trey paused to thank the hard-working crew for their help on the tour. Set two began with a tease of the Allman Brothers Band "Jessica" > David Bowie > Have Mercy > Bowie and concluded with a Mike’s Song > Crossroads (Phish’s debut performance of the Robert Johnson classic) > Weekapaug Groove. An electric instrumental Amazing Grace to close the set and AC/DC Bag encore rounded out the evening.

The Band and crew enjoyed a short time off before packing back up and heading out to perform at both nights of "Laguna Seca Days" at the Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. On the 29th, Phish played a relatively straightforward set concluding with the encore Good Times, Bad Times. Other artists performing at that day’s festival included Jeff Healy, Shawn Colvin, the Allman Brothers Band and Blues Traveler. The Allman Brothers Band closed the show. The next night, Phish closed the festival with their set, which opened with Lengthwise > Maze and included versions of YaMar, Antelope and Llama. The band dedicated I Didn’t Know to a person stuck on the festival’s ferris wheel and the Possum encore included teases of the Doors’ L.A. Woman. Other acts on the 30th included 10,000 Maniacs, The Samples and Blues Traveler. Phish then returned home from California and took a short period off to relax before beginning preparations for the summer tour, which commenced off in mid-July.