November 1994

November was a high point of Phish’s 1994 Fall Tour, which began in October and continued into December. All of the shows were being recorded (multi-tracked) for the forthcoming project “A Live One”. Hoist had been released the previous spring, and the band donned their first Halloween “musical costume” on October 31st, 1994 in Glens Falls, New York (see TMIPH October 1994).

November 1st was a day off for Phish and their crew as the entourage rested up from the long Halloween event. The first show of November took place on the second at the Auditorium in Bangor, Maine. The second set featured the version of Tweezer which was eventually chosen to appear on A Live One, and the encore consisted of acoustic versions of Old Home Place (after which Trey noted that the Auditorium and Burlington’s Nectar’s are both on the same road, so they had played along Route 2 for 11 years) and Foreplay > Longtime by Boston. The next night Phish performed in Amherst at the University of Massachusetts Mullins Center. There, the band performed You Enjoy Myself into which they inserted “The Vibration of Life”, a momentary visit to the frequency of vibration that allegedly re-energizes a person while making their eyes heavy and limbs light (7 beats per second). Again, the band played the first two songs of the evening’s encore (My Sweet One and Nellie Cane) acoustically, with Trey on acoustic guitar, Page on upright bass, Fish on mandolin, and Mike on banjo.

On November 4th, the band arrived in Syracuse, New York to play at the Onandaga County War Memorial. Set I again produced the Vibration of Life, this time during the Gamehendge narration segment of Colonel Forbin’s Ascent. Set II included Mike’s Song, which segued into Simple and back into Mike’s Song before slowing down to the rarely performed Tela prior to Weekapaug Groove. Following this show, the band and crew began a week off.

Fall tour recommenced in Ohio with a show on November 12th at The Mac Center at Kent State University, where the band again performed some acoustic songs including Old Home Place, Nellie Cane and Foreplay > Long Time. The Mac Center show is also noted for the only version of Down With Disease to segue into and back out of the reggae cover Have Mercy. The next night Phish played the beautiful Erie-Warner Theatre in Erie, Pennsylvania, where the Vibration of Life appeared once again, this time between set I’s It’s Ice, and The Horse. Run Like An Antelope closed set I, and the Theatre setting was used to full potential with an a capella version of Amazing Grace. The Funky Bitch encore was requested by the audience.

November 14th saw the band play their first ever show in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the intimate DeVos Hall. The next show was November 16th at the University of Michigan’s Hill Auditorium, a venue as much revered for being beautiful as it is disliked by crews for the difficult setup its unique ceiling structure requires. Nonetheless, this show began a week of artistry-in-residence with Aquarium Rescue Unit founding member Rev. Jeff Mosier, whose presence as a guest and teacher shaped the band’s approach to the bluegrass idiom. The nights of November 16th through the 20th featured Jeff sitting in on banjo and vocals during the shows and tutoring the band on bluegrass and acoustic technique on the bus and in dressing rooms. In Ann Arbor, Jeff joined the band before the show on the bus all day and during set I for Pig in a Pen, Tennessee Waltz, Earl’s Breakdown and Swing Low Sweet Chariot. Reba and the version of Chalk Dust Torture that appears on A Live One were also played in Ann Arbor, during set II. The next night was a show at Dayton, Ohio’s Hara Arena which opened with Helter Skelter, in honor of the anniversary of John Lennon’s death. Set II featured Jeff Mosier on spoons for Long Journey Home and on banjo and lead vocals for Phish’s inaugural version of Fixin’ To Die, which was performed as that night’s encore. The show the following day on November 18th at Michigan State University Auditorium in East Lansing, Michigan again included the Reverend Mosier, this time for the band’s premiere performance of Little Tiny Butter Biscuits (which featured Trey on fiddle) and on the acoustic encore of Rollin’ in My Sweet Baby’s Arms and the first known acoustic version of Runaway Jim. November 19th found Phish at the University Auditorium in Bloomington, Indiana. After the show on the 19th, the band, joined by Jeff and other guests, played an impromptu acoustic jam session outside the bus in the parking lot that included many of the songs they had been performing that week and a few others, most notably Will The Circle Be Unbroken (which was not performed by Phish again until four years later at Farm Aid) and Dooley.

The next show was on the 20th of the month at Dane County Coliseum in Madison, Wisconsin, and on November 22nd, Phish played the Jesse Auditorium at the University of Missouri in Columbia. After that it was a short hop to the show on November 23rd at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri. After a travel day, Phish returned to Chicago’s UIC Pavilion on November 25th for their second performance there in six months.

Phish played November 26th in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the Orpheum Theatre where set II ended with the performance of Slave to the Traffic Light that eventually made it onto A Live One. After a couple of travel days Phish picked up the tour again in Bozeman at the Montana State University’s Shroyer Gym. Simple was played in set I and featured young special guest Cameron McKenney on saxophone. A not-short set II contained only 5 songs, one of which was a very “out” version of Tweezer, a segment of which became Montana on A Live One. This was the only song excerpt on A Live One to be retitled and set forth as a separate track. Following one more travel day, the band arrived in Washington to play on November 30th at the Evergreen College Campus Recreation Center in Olympia. It was Phish’s fifth appearance on the Olympic Peninsula, following which the tour continued South along the coast, concluding with shows in California with a reformed horn section.