Out West in April ’92

When listening to Phish, I am always apt to pop in something from their latter era of 1994 and beyond. However, the years that Phish spent laying the groundwork for their 1995 peak and subsequent reinvention, were the foundation needed for their later greatness.  And I always forget just how sick early Phish really is!  Beginning to tour in earnest in the Fall of 1990, the band played incessantly in building a loyal grassroots fan base.  Moving through bars, clubs and colleges all over the nation, Phish began to debut new songs, experiment with their musical direction, and integrate quirky, humorous elements into their live show.  With each run of shows in this period of rapid development, Phish seemed to get markedly tighter and more adventurous.

Phish circa 1992

Phish circa 1992

Unquestionably, the band’s first creative peak came in the Spring of 1992.  Armed with an array of new songs, most of which would comprise Rift, and a new “secret language” that directly involved their fans with subtle musical cues, Phish was fomenting a unique identity.  After the month of March, which included many standout shows (see 3.11, 13, 19, 20 and 26,) Phish embarked on a western journey that would comprise the hallowed month of  April.  Moving into Colorado on the 3rd, and California on the 15th, the band existed as a four headed, well-oiled improvisational monster.  With fast-paced, jazz-rooted psychedelia, Phish continued to carve out their ever-evolving musical path.  The band’s energy in this month of shows literally jumps off the many soundboard recordings that have leaked over the years.  Kick-starting their era of “speedjazz” that would culminate in 1993, this band represented a young lion aggressively exploring its world.

1992 Tour Ad Poster

1992 Tour Ad Poster

Each and every 21 shows from April of 1992 have legitimate musical highlights, with the most acclaimed jams coming in the California run from 4.15 through 4.21.  From the well known 4.21 Redwood Acres “Tweezer,” 4.18 Stanford “Harry Hood,” and the 4.16 Anaconda Theatre Mockingbird, to the less circulated 4.13 Tempe “David Bowie,” Tucson’s 4.12 shredding “Antelope,” or the pristine “Foam” from the Warfield on 4.17, amazing moments were aplenty.  Marked with a “sense of urgency” in their playing, Phish was in the middle of discovering what they were musically capable of, both individually, and as a quartet.  Teeming with the enthusiasm, Phish was consitently on-point during this month of insanely tight communication.  Tearing apart the western US, the band created new fans as quickly as they created stellar jams.  With a polished sound, goofy presence, and a fiery demeanor, this Spring run represented Phish in the process of becoming.

Phish circa '91

Phish circa 1991

Before long, 1992 would turn into 1993 and beyond, and this incredibly Phishy run through the wild west would remain a frozen moment in time, capturing an innocence that would gradually pass with the rapid development of their organization and scene.  Marking the most significant musical adventures to date, April 1992 will forever be remembered as some of the best and most exciting Phish ever.

To commemorate such a memorable month, I have compiled Miner’s Picks” April ’92,” totaling five hours of crispy SBDs! These picks should help everyone understand why this month in Phish history is revered to this day.  There are some absolute gems on this one.  The tracks and link are below.  ENJOY!



1. YEM 4.5 Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO

2. David Bowie 4.5

3. Reba 4.12 U of Arizona Student Center, Tucson, AZ

4. Run Like An Antelope 4.12

5. David Bowie 4.13 After the Gold Rush, Tempe, AZ

6. Fluffhead 4.13

7. Split Open and Melt 4.16 Anaconda Theatre, Isla Vista, CA

8. Col. Forbin’s > Icculus > Famous Mockingbird 4.16

9. Mike’s > H2 > Weekapaug 4.16

10. Foam 4.17.92 The Warfield, San Francisco, CA

11. Reba 4.17

12. David Bowie > Catapult > David Bowie 4.17

13. Tweezer 4.17

14. Rift 4.18 Wilbur Field, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

15. Harry Hood 4.18

16. Tweezer 4.21 Redwood Acres, Eureka, CA

17. YEM 4.25 Campus Rec Center, Evergreen College, Olympia, WA

18. Harry Hood 4.25

19, 20. The Landlady > Possum 4.29 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN

21, 22, 23. Mound > Oh Kee Pah > Llama 4.29

24. Brother 4.17 The Warfield, SF, CA

25. Stash 4.13 Tempe, AZ


I want to extend an open invitation for article / post suggestions!  After 100, it’s not as easy to conjure up a creative angle every single day, but so far so good.  if you think you have a topic that in any way relates to Phish that you would like to see featured on Phish Thoughts, drop me a line!  I cannot promise I will use them all. and there are some I am purposely avoiding for now, but I’d LOVE to hear what you have to say. The mailbox is always open at mrminer@phishthoughts.com!

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16 Responses to “Out West in April ’92”

  1. paul hannon Says:

    i know comin up with something phishy everyday has to be tough..i havent seen anything gamehendge related,albums,the Festies(CB,GW,LW,OSWEGO,BC,IT) I dig this site and am regular..so, if any help is needed I would be happy to help..
    Paul Hannon

  2. Jeff D Says:

    Eureka Tweezer! yesss kiddd.

  3. Jacob Says:

    “And I always forget just how sick early Phish really is!”

    For sure. I’ve been on a 1988 Phish kick recently, and wow. I love how loose and at times, hilarious, the band is. When Trey gets on Fishman about being lost in the woods on the Colorado ’88 release, I’m rolling on the floor. On the other hand, these guys had major chops even in the first few years of their existence. Check out Halley’s Comet->Whipping Post from 10.29.88 for some early shredding.

  4. Adam Says:

    You could write about the major musical influences for Phish. There’s tons of material there. I always like to be able to place musicians in a larger context.

  5. Scott Bernstein Says:

    Has anyone ever seen the 4/19/92 SBD? I had an analog tape of one of the sets back in the day, but I never found a digital copy.

  6. alex Says:

    Check this site out every morning hope you can keep it up.. How bout some funny complete flops or just awfully botched versions of tunes, a Banter post, a capella compilation, mini stage compilation? I also dig the idea of touching on some earlier shit, fall 89 needs some love, keep it up

  7. nedhed Says:

    sick mix, thanks a lot- may never have listened to some of this without your work. thanks for tagging the mp3s too!

  8. Vermont Says:

    Hey this compilation is incredible! I’ve been listening to this on some great headphones and I can’t believe how tight and playful they were in those days! The First YEM from 4/5/92 blew my mind the jam, was sick, it sounded like a queen tease, but I couldn’t be sure. The only bummer is some of the recordings have some phasing issues, but I’d clearly trade recording quality, for the absolutely well mixed, as well as unbelievably performed(HOLY S*** Jams) that they threw down on these nights. Anyways thanks a lot!

  9. shpongleyez Says:

    What’s a phasing issue?

  10. go_phish Says:

    Just a quick thanks for the effort you put in everyday. Love d/l’ing a show to the ipod while reading your posts.

  11. jerrydamule Says:

    I was thinking about your comments defining the 93-95 era from the 97-99 era, and beyond. Your points regarding Karl Perazzo’s impact were interesting. I was wondering if the progression of the band’s sound during these eras (perhaps the onset of “cow funk”) was in anyway a response to the dramatic change in venue size and format that occurred during 94-95?
    gone phishin’ > roxy preview mmmmmmmmm

  12. Vermont Says:


    Phasing(AKA Collective/Destructive Interefence, Waveform time delay, and many other weird audio terms) is a smearing of the frequency spectrum as certain frequencies cancel because of the distance of 1/2 the wavelength causing a shift of 180* of that wavelength. That’s the simple explanation, it is noticable in Fishman’s drums, which is probably due to the mic placement on his drum set. It basically sounds a little thin, a good example is if you have to speakers side by side and you pull one of the speakers towards you, listen to how the timbre of whatever you’re listening to changes(works with Phish!) hope that explains it.

  13. mclovin_cup Says:

    1992 did not lay the foundation for the 1995 peak, 1992 was the peak! Some people have trouble picking a favorite phish month, mine is april 92 and second is distant

  14. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Arguably a phenomenal period in the band’s development…

    The Mike’s Groove and Harpua from the CU Fieldhouse set 2 should be on this list taboot!

  15. Drumboney Says:

    I’m in agreement with McLovin Cup. I’ve felt that way for a very long time. I wish the Phish team would give the remastered ‘live phish’ treatment to the 4-16, 4-17, and 4-18 1992 shows. I feel that 4/16 has some of the most amazing playing, but the mix needs to be treated a little bit (not sure if it’s even possible).

  16. Matty Says:

    I was at the 4/6/1992 show at Western State College – Paul Wright Gym. I was living right near the gym in the dorms. Yuck, dorms! The show was electrical in it’s intensity and groove. I clearly remember the “Take care of your boots” and other things particular to the Gunnison area that they did there. I think the band did quite well in building and expanding their fan base with that show. I had a tape of Phish and was somewhat into them before the show, but got totally into them after the show. I had only heard Lawn Boy stuff before the show, so this show got me into their other stuff too. We had a fantastic time at that show.

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