Spring 1993 – A Primer

Over the years Phish has put together more than their fair share of lengthy, progressive, crowd-pleasing tours. There’s Fall ’97 (aka Phish Destroys America), Fall/Winter ’95 (a new exploration in mind-bending psychedelia every night!), Europe ’97 (the birth of cowfunk), Summer ’94 (marking the move to bigger sheds and bigger crowds), and of course August ’93 (when the shred-jazz-adelia took root), amongst many others. But along with these well known and oft-discussed tours there are the ones that primed the band for bigger things and where they truly cut their teeth in exploring new ideas, new material, and new paths for elevating the music and the crowd towards achieving those collective moments of communal joy that are so much a part of why we as fans continue to return again and again.

The 71 shows that the band played in the 94 days between February 2nd, 1993 and May 8th, 1993 make up one of these “formative” tours. This nation-spanning tour started in the Northeast before following the lines headed south to a legendary run in Atlanta before the first shows in Florida and then out West with a 10-show run in California along the way before making its way across the Midwest and eventually back to their home base in New England (by way of Canada). Highlighting the songs that made up the then recently released Rift album (the album release party was a few nights before the tour began at the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston), this tour is a bridge between two versions of the band. They had ended 1992 on a creative upswing with the tight, structured style of the past ever so slightly beginning to give way to more exploration in the live setting but were still working towards what would eventually become the next step in their musical evolution with the move towards more open waters that really came to the forefront in the aforementioned August portion of the Summer ’93 tour. Rift was their third album released in just over three years and they now had a palette of more than three hundred songs from which to choose in crafting each night’s setlist, along with all of the other tricks in their bag including Secret Language, references and teases of songs that ranged across all genres of music and the ability to play any style of music that suited their fancy, a lead singer who loved to tell stories, and probably most important of all a fanbase that was growing both in size and in terms of dedication to seeing what these guys would do next.

This Spring ’93 tour sits at an interesting point in the band’s history and is therefore quite interesting to look at in depth since it provides a great opportunity to witness the band as they grew into a new version of themselves. With that in mind, over the course of a series of posts (okay, a LOT of posts) I will be chronicling each show and trying to give some information that I have been able to gather about the set and setting in order to hopefully provide some context about how this tour progressed and led us more to the band that we know and love today. My focus is on the music first but whenever possible I will add color regarding the venues, crowd, and other factors that may have influenced what occurred on each night the band took the stage. And in doing that I think we will be able to see not only the patterns that formed but also the path that this tour forged in setting the stage for some of the much bigger things to come.

As a means of forecast, here are the tour dates of the tour. I invite you to add your own thoughts and memories to help shape the story because one man’s point of view on it is not enough when discussing such things…


2/3/93 Portland Expo, Portland, ME

2/4/93 Providence Performing Arts Center, Providence, RI

2/5/93 Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY

2/6/93 Roseland Ballroom, New York, NY

2/7/93 Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University, Washington, DC

2/9/93 Auditorium Theatre, Rochester, NY

2/10/93 Smith Opera House, Geneva, NY

2/11/93 Haas Center for the Arts, Bloomsburg, PA

2/12/93 Mid-Hudson Civic Center, Poughkeepsie, NY

2/13/93 Bob Carpenter Center, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

2/15/93 Memorial Hall, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

2/17/93 Benton Convention Center, Winston-Salem, NC

2/18/93 Electric Ballroom, Knoxville, TN

2/19/93 Roxy Theatre, Atlanta, GA

2/20/93 Roxy Theatre, Atlanta, GA

2/21/93 Roxy Theatre, Atlanta, GA

2/22/93 The Moon, Tallahassee, FL

2/23/93 The Edge Night Club, Orlando, FL

2/25/93 The Cameo Theatre, Miami Beach, FL

2/26/93 Ritz Theatre, Tampa, FL

2/27/93 Florida Theatre, Gainesville, FL

3/2/93 Tipitina’s, New Orleans, LA

3/3/93 Tipitina’s, New Orleans, LA

3/5/93 Deep Ellum Live, Dallas, TX

3/6/93 Liberty Lunch, Austin, TX

3/8/93 Sweeney Center, Santa Fe, NM

3/9/93 Pike’s Peak Center, Colorado Springs, CO

3/12/93 Dobson Arena, Vail, CO

3/13/93 Balch Fieldhouse, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO

3/14/93 Paul Wright Gym, Western State College, Gunnison, CO

3/16/93 Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ

3/17/93 The Palace, Hollywood, CA

3/18/93 The Palace, Hollywood, CA

3/19/93 The Greek Theatre, Redlands, CA

3/21/93 Ventura Theatre, Ventura, CA

3/22/93 Crest Theatre, Sacramento, CA

3/24/93 Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa, CA

3/25/93 Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, Santa Cruz, CA

3/26/93 Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA

3/27/93 Warfield Theatre, San Francisco, CA

3/28/93 East Gym, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA

3/30/93 Hilton Ballroom, Eugene, OR

3/31/93 Roseland Theater, Portland, OR

4/1/93 Roseland Theater, Portland, OR

4/2/93 Mt. Baker Theatre, Bellingham, WA

4/3/93 86th Street Music Hall, Vancouver, BC, Canada

4/5/93 HUB Ballroom, Seattle, WA

4/9/93 State Theatre, Minneapolis, MN

4/10/93 Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL

4/12/93 IMU Ballroom, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

4/13/93 Memorial Hall, Kansas City, KS

4/14/93 American Theater, St. Louis, MO

4/16/93 The Macauley Theater, Louisville, KY

4/17/93 Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, MI

4/18/93 Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, MI

4/20/93 Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH

4/21/93 Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH

4/22/93 The Agora Theatre, Cleveland, OH

4/23/93 Cotterell Court, Reid Athletic Center, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY

4/24/93 Cheel Arena, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY

4/25/93 Kuhl Gym, SUNY Geneseo, Geneseo, NY

4/27/93 Concert Hall, Toronto, ON, Canada

4/29/93 Le Spectrum, Montréal, Québec, Canada

4/30/93 Sports Center, University of Hartford, West Hartford, CT

5/1/93 Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, PA

5/2/93 Tower Theatre, Upper Darby, PA

5/3/93 State Theatre, New Brunswick, NJ

5/5/93 Palace Theatre, Albany, NY

5/6/93 Palace Theatre, Albany, NY

5/7/93 Bangor Auditorium, Bangor, ME

5/8/93 Field House, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH

*Please note that these tourdates do not include other appearances by the band in this time frame that are not considered concert performances, for example the band’s supposed appearance at The Boston Music Awards on April 7th and their two song performance at the Ancient Forests Benefit on April 1st in Portland, OR.

6 thoughts on “Spring 1993 – A Primer

  1. Let’s get this show on road! Digging the 93 shreddery. Haven’t spent much time in 93 since getting some of these tapes back in 94 and 95.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Let’s get this show on the road. Excited to dig back into 93 shreddery and beyond. It’s been a long while since I’ve listened to this era extensively.


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