Tour Stop: The Crown

"The Crown" - Cincinati, OH

"The Crown" - Cincinati, OH

Looking past Festival 8, Phish will soon return to one of their Midwestern homes – “The Crown” (now called US Bank Arena) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Adding the arena to their routing in Fall ’98, Phish played four more shows there before pulling up short in 2004. The Crown doesn’t usually enter into discussions of classic Phish venues, yet, slowly but surely, that is exactly what it’s become.  Hosting one of four multi-night parties of Fall Tour ’09, The Crown will again glow with the aura of the Phish.

November 14, 1998

2.21.03 (Unknown)

2.21.03 (Unknown)

Fall ’98 contained a seven show Midwestern run that Phish’s capped off with their first performance at Cincinnati’s downtown venue. Coming off a stellar UIC run and stops in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Cleveland, the band arrived in southern Ohio for a Saturday night gig. The first half contained serious versions of “Reba” and “Tweezer,” balancing the night’s improvisational highlights between the two sets. Reversing their usual pattern, Phish opened the second half with a colossal “David Bowie,” rousing the crowd with its ominous complexity. Tactfully, the band juxtaposed “Bowie’s” ordered chaos with a tranquil splash into The Beatles’ “Something,” calming the opening storm.

The second-set “You Enjoy Myself” stands out as the other significant piece of improv from Phish’s virgin visit to Cincy’s central part of town. As the jam dropped, Trey looped a rhythm lick and then began narrating a solo atop his own groove. This innovative style brought an added layer to “YEM’s” textured funk. And for an encore, the band surprised everyone by debuting The Police’s “So Lonely,” a classic track off of their first album Outlandos d’Amour. All in all, Phish’s first visit to The Crown provided a whole lot of fun and some indelible highlights. The vibe of the arena provided an added bonus, as ushers were non-existent, allowing fans to dance wherever they wanted to – a factor contributing to all of the quality experiences had at The Crown over the years.

December 3 & 4, 1999

2.21.03 (M.Hommes)

2.21.03 (M.Hommes)

Potentially due to this fan-friendly feel, Phish made The Crown a two-night stop along their climactic run of December ’99. Following a tour-opening blowout at The Palace in Auburn Hills, Phish moved south for a weekend stand in Cincy. Building momentum for Big Cypress throughout these shows, The Crown’s two nights brought more than a few “millennial” highlights, showcasing the band’s dissonant psychedelia. The first night, as usual, dove far deeper and darker, with the second set being the unquestionable gem of the weekend.

Opening with a ferocious “Sand,” Phish presented their first of many standout December ’99 versions that culminated at Big Cypress. Not slowing their creativity, the band followed the full-on, textured grooves with an incredibly exploratory “Limb By Limb” that certainly ranks among the best-ever. Moving beyond any conventional “Limb” jam into a section of deep ambient space while carrying melodic undertones, this version belongs in the record books – a truly transcendent piece of music. Phish closed out the set with a hugely aggressive “Piper” and a profound 20-minute “Hood” that dipped its ladle into ’99’s sonic ambiance as well. Composed of four significant pieces of standout improv with “Bug” as a breather in the middle, this set is among the best of December ’99.

2.22.03 (Unknown)

2.22.03 (Unknown)

The band came back Saturday night with a comparatively tame show that included only one standout jam – the second set “Split Open and Melt.” With their “millennial” sound peaking, Phish veered into a scintillating segment of psychedelic space-groove in one of the song’s best renditions of the year. The only other significant jam came in the blistering “Bowie” that closed the set. This Saturday-night-special catered to the weekend crowd with a lot of songs, and not a whole lot of improv. Even when they broke out a first set “Tweezer,” it remained quite contained with a simple build and peak. Nonetheless, the other-worldy “Split” defined this show, and provided another indelible memory at The Crown.

February 21 & 22, 2003

The next time Phish pulled into their Cincinnati home in February of 2003, the game had completely changed. Phish had taken their hiatus, and were now on their first tour since Fall ‘2000. As Phish regained their groove over this Winter tour, the Cincinnati weekend immediately stood out as the strongest nights of the tour up to that point. With another Friday / Saturday combo, The Crown instantly became a winter weekend destination for Phish fans across the nation. And when the band completed their fourth and fifth shows at The Crown, there were many outbound travelers leaving the city blissed out.

2.22.03 (Unknown)

2.22.03 (Unknown)

The first night boasted an exciting setlist from start to finish. Highlight jams in the opening frame included a massive mid-set “Disease” and the hottest “Antelope” that had reared its horns in the 2.0 era. But Phish upped the ante in the second set, as they came out with the tour’s first “Mike’s Song” – a raunchy 15-minute rendition that destroys anything the band has produced from the song in 2009. Without choosing a classic “Groove” connector, they instead used a monstrous segment of distorted music to segue into “Free;” a bombastic combo that almost blew the roof off the place.

After stopping off in “Waste,” the band continued the fireworks, crafting an intro to “2001” in which Trey quoted Bach as the band blasted into the first “2001” of tour – totally surreal stuff. Infusing the set with a consistent danceability, Phish let loose in a session of serious collaborative grooves that kept the venue bumping. The band already possessed tight communication – a far cry from their comeback run – as they sculpted a superb set. Merging celestial soundtracks, Phish moved from the peak of “2001” into the always-ethereal “Harry Hood,” completing a phenomenal segment of Phish. The set continued with “All Of These Dreams,” “Possum,” and ended with “Cavern.” No “Weekapaug?” A “Velvet Sea” encore left the vicious “Mike’s” hanging without a “Weekapaug ” – a very rare occurrence in Phish history. The Crown’s ’03 reunion had commenced, and as people dispersed to the downtown hotels, spirits soared.

2.22.03 (Unknown)

2.22.03 (Unknown)

A “Sloth” opener on Saturday gave an aggressive kick-start to the opening of the show, foreshadowing bigger things to come. A third-song “Piper” blossomed into a scorching piece of improv, making it seem like we were deep in the second set. The band carried the fast-paced jam into even quicker tempos, immersing themselves in an exploratory piece that organically, and seamlessly, wound up in a wild “Weekapaug,” closing out the “Groove” from the previous night! Believe it or not, this is the only time “Weekapaug” has ever appeared in a show without “Mike’s,” and this nugget of Phishiness pumped the already excited crowd into a frenzy. The band was clearly embarking on a very special show.

The second set of Saturday night’s affair still stands out as one of the best frames of the entire Winter ’03 tour, highlighted by a crack-like ‘Tube” jam, a centerpiece “Bathtub Gin” that broke electro-ambient ground, and a late-set “Bowie” that showcased the band’s intricate connectedness. With a distinct flow from start to finish, this five-song frame concluded with the reflective denouement of “Bug.” A “Suzy” encore put a fun cap on two very significant nights at The Crown.

To honor Phish’s history at The Crown and their upcoming visit, I have compiled “Miner’s Picks: The Crown,” totaling over five hours of Cincy jams. The links and track listing are below.




1.”Reba” I

2,3. “Tweezer > Moma” II

4, “David Bowie” II

5.”Something” II

6. “You Enjoy Myself” II

7,8. “So Lonely > Tweezer Reprise” E


9. “Slave to the Traffic Light” I

10. “Down With Disease” I

11. “Antelope” I

12. “Sand” II

13. “Limb By Limb” II

14. “Harry Hood” II


15. “Split Open and Melt” II


16,17. “Mike’s > Free” II

18,19. “2001 > Hood” II


20,21. “Piper > Weekapaug” I

22. “Tube” II

23. “Bathtub Gin” II

24. “David Bowie” II

(Note: I had to pull low bitrate versions of good sources for the post-hiatus stuff, since I only have the SBDs archived. My apologies.)

Winged music note=====

Jam of the Day:

Limb By Limb” 12.3.99 II


Check it out.



11.14.98 The Crown, Cincinnati, OH < Torrent

11.14.98 The Crown, Cincinnati, OH < Megaupload

I: Funky Bitch, My Soul, Reba, Bouncing Around the Room, Tweezer > The Moma Dance, Sparkle, Character Zero

II: David Bowie, Something, Piper, Golgi Apparatus, Guyute, Hold Your Head Up > Sexual Healing > Hold Your Head Up, You Enjoy Myself, Julius, Hello My Baby

E: So Lonely* > Tweezer Reprise


Source: M.Gefell m210->Lunatec V2->AD1000->DAP-1 @48khz

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247 Responses to “Tour Stop: The Crown”

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  1. babito Says:

    this setlist isn’t 11.14.1998.

    the unmentioned fifth song was a set murdering friday before saving the day with that killer bowie on 2.22.03.

  2. MGStreak Says:

    The ONLY time Weekapaug has appeared without Mike’s? What about December 2nd, 2003?

    I know, I know… Trey sang the Mike’s lyrics over Tweeprise… but still!

  3. Twiggy Says:

    Setlist is from 12/3/99. Sick show. Check out the SAND.

  4. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ thanks Twiggy. Fixed.

  5. Twiggy Says:

    Fall ’98 was amazing!

  6. Twiggy Says:

    Thanks Miner for the Cincy! Went straight to Sexual Healing and remembered about HAGAR the GREAT.

  7. Leo Weaver Says:

    12.3.99 is tasty…GREAT Sand and AMAZING LxL. Someone recommended that show on here a few months back and it’s been one of my favorites since.

  8. Leo Weaver Says:

    Ha…my post was at 4:20…wish a wake n bake were in order…damn work gettin’ in the way again…

  9. Robear Says:

    Show up to your next show in style, with a ‘Phishthoughts’ T-Shirt. Click my name and be amazed!

    Awesome way to wake up, Miner. The ‘Crown’, fall ’98 was my first show since the ’96 NOLA Jazz Fest. I blew past the gate with an unused ticket from Cleveland the night before. I had an absolute blast! I thought ‘Moma’ was just an extended ‘Tweezer’ jam at first. The evolution of the band blew me away, and I realized instantly what I had been missing: A band that pushed itself to new heights and boundaries, even after reaching mini ‘peaks’ in their career.

  10. Lewis Says:

    12/3 Limb!! thanks for the reminder. sickies!!

  11. Brimley Says:

    Just listened to set II from 12/3/99 last night on a road trip and I agree with everything stated Miner…Don’t sleep on the Bug “breather” though as it has a sick little solo…

  12. pages_sandwich Says:

    Does anyone else remember the spun naked chick from setbreak on 11/14/98. She had the whole arena going. The state police had to come wrap her in a blanket and escort her away. Crazy night for sure.

  13. tela'smuff Says:

    A Cincy local here – All the Crown shows have been great. The naked girl from ’98 should be mentioned as many in attendence witnessed her being hauled off. I am convinced she is what motivated the band to play Something, Sexual Healing, and So Lonely that night!

    Also – The Split from 12-4-99 isn’t just one of the best from that tour, I feel it’s one of the best versions period. It won’t match the sheer insanity of early ’90 versions, but it was one of the better grooves I’ve seen the band fall into during that ’99 era. It was a special jam that you can still feel the crowd recognize when listening to the tapes (about the 15 min mark or so if memory serves) .

    And babito is right, the 2/22 show could have been Epic. It could have been one of the best shows I’ve seen out of 74, but then they layed down that Friday and it just came to a halt. I hope they never play that shit song again. Please.

    Anyway, it’s on the Nov in the Nati!

  14. tela'smuff Says:

    ha! pages_sandwhich! nice timing!

  15. Pencilneck Says:

    The Fuzz was out in full force coming outta that joint in 98. Fuzz on horseback, fuzz in copters. Fuzz yellin “You there, with the burritto! Pack it up!”.

  16. HarryHood Says:

    This Limb by Limb brought to mind a memory from Fenway that I wanted to share with this forum and see if anyone else had the same reaction when it occured. In the past, the build-up to the “Up or down it’s up to you” line in Limb usually resulted in the crowd yelling the line with the band in almost a frenzied state. When they got to this line at Fenway, I was almost jumping up and down and when I yelled the line, almost everyone around me looked over at me like I was nuts and no one else seemed to even have sung along. Did this happen everywhere, or was I just in the lame section of people who had no idea what was going on!?

  17. kenny powers Says:

    @ hood, i didn’t have the same exact thing happen but i will say Fenway was a much more fair-weather crowd than usual, as was the ’03 Boston show. I think it’s just the sheer number of college students, and a Phish show has always been pretty “cool” thing to be at socially in this town, whereas in the deep South it might be more of an underground thing where most the peeps there are truly into the band and the music.

    Lycan and others, would you agree? Not sure what the vibe was like in places like Oak Mountain, Memphis etc.

  18. kenny powers Says:

    ^also i know Memphis isn’t really “deep” south a la Hattiesburg, but you know what i mean…places that don’t have a prevalent artsy/liberal/drug-culture-friendly population.

  19. EL Duderino Says:

    I was @ this venue in ’99

    Wasn’t it an anniversary of the dude who got crushed @ a Who show? They had a makeshift memorial out front of the venue, candles, pictures and cards.

  20. EL Duderino Says:

    Unfortunately the B & K source is not very good from the ’99 run. We definitely could use up-grades.

  21. Little Buddy Says:

    Kenny and Pence – Fenway definitely had a different feel. My whole crew was in section A1, right up front on Fishman’s side. We had all this space and we were going nuts dancing and partying. The people around us didn’t know how to react, which was weird. It seemed like it may have been the first show for a lot of folks there. Or, maybe it was just a lot of people’s first show back, not having been to Hampton, and they forgot how to have fun after getting married having kids, etc. during the breakup years. Didn’t find this to be the case the rest of the summer. But the one thing I did notice – TALKING. Anytime the boys broke into a new slower tune (Joy, Let Me Lie) even TTE, the crowd just talked and talked. Merriweather was the worst example, but there ere plenty of others. At least on the East coast. Damn molly talkers! Close your eyes and listen, people. Maybe you’ll hear something cool!

  22. danno Says:

    The ’98 show was one of the couple I got shut out of that tour, or so it seemed. During set break a few of us were wandering around the venue and at a couple places there are huge sets of stairs that you have to go up in order to enter the venue (if I remember correctly). Well, at the top of one of these was the outside smoking section and there was one, just one, kid guarding the bottom. We were like, “Come on, man.” Finally, after some coercing, he let us up. We intermingled with the smokers and then into the venue with no hassles for the second set. Nice.

  23. HarryHood Says:

    I was just really surprised at the lack of enthusiasm at Fenway considering that it was the first time the band had ever played there and that it was the first official tour opener in almost five years. Like I said, maybe I was just in a lame section, but it just felt weird

  24. m00nshake Says:

    just checking for the avatar…

  25. Little Buddy Says:

    The rain didn’t help. Although you’d of thought that the beam of sun that poked through when Trey hit the opening chords to Sample would’ve knocked off the cobwebs for folks. Maybe the sound being a little rough in most sections didn’t help either. I had a complete blast at Fenway though. The sound was fine where we were and I’ve never had so much space to dance with the whole crew. I think there were 12 of us!

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