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”

  1. HarryHood Says:

    I ended up with a ticket upgrade at Fenway (behind home plate to A6) so I was ready to throw down. The sound on the field was pretty good but I think I would have enjoyed partying with the pholks in the stands more. I’m wondering if the price of the field seats contributed to the snobbiness that I encountered. That would be an interesting thing to analyze. Do ticket availability and prices affect the vibe of a show???? Hmmmm……

  2. HarryHood Says:

    ^^^ It seems as if the small intimate shows that we all expect to be tour highlights have proven to be just the opposite as of late. The Fox from this summer would be a perfect example. Low ticket availability and higher prices = snobbier overprivaledged kids.

  3. HarryHood Says:

    Not to say that EVERYONE that makes it to the smaller shows is overprivaledged, but there might be a connection here.

  4. BTB Says:

    @ Tela, you got a couch or a friend who could hook me up with a place in Cinci? Native Clevelander, needing place to crash for those shows. My buddy graduated from UC DAP program in 04. I always had a place to crash for the Cinci shows, but now I’m screwed!

    I’ll buy all the beer you can drink for both nights!

    Being at all of these shows, just from memory, the Bathtub Gin from 2003 sticks out as stellar, although I haven’t gone back and listened.

  5. Little Buddy Says:

    Interesting idea, Hood. Interestingly, I think there is evidence that the trend is opposite of what you propose. Hampton and Red Rocks were probably the two most expensive shows, and the crowd was pretty rocking at both. Maybe up to a certain cost your theory would hold true, but then when the ticket price crosses a certain threshold its only true heads that are willing to shell out that kind of cash.

  6. sumodie Says:

    Guy on the green board has uploaded a passable recording of Phish Festivalography Part 1 (the Sirius broadcast)

  7. kenny powers Says:

    Little Buddy – the sound DEFINITELY had an adverse effect on my section (a bit deeper than the foul pole in right field, even though i was near the lower edge). As soon as Trey started singing the opening verse of Sample people looked at each other and were like “it’s really quiet”.

    I knew the sound was supposed the suck there since it’s totally not made for concerts but it was especially painful with Phish since we’re used to such perfect sound. I heard it was 100x better on the field in the center.

  8. tela'smuff Says:

    BTB – i’ve already got a ton of people coming in man. give me your email and i’ll keep you in mind as the time approaches.

    sumodie – any chance you can get that so we can listen through this site? i can’t access PT at work. That would be a fun listen today!

  9. BTB Says:

    btbuckeye @ gmail – thanks

  10. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    Thanks sumodie. Was going to ask if anybody has a recording of the festvalography.

  11. sumodie Says:

    Duh! You mean post the dl link directly:

    Festivalography Part 1 (the Sirius broadcast)

  12. sumodie Says:

    I must admit, the Fenway sound was great just above 2nd base. I hope they never play there again given the sound issues for most folks.

  13. llamalee Says:

    hood, i’m going to have to disagree with you, i went to show in asheville, and that was the best browd of all the shows this tour, everyone i met knew the music well and was there just for the music. to get those tickets you have to either get lucky or be dedicated to band

  14. m00nshake Says:

    RE: It seems as if the small intimate shows that we all expect to be tour highlights have proven to be just the opposite as of late.

    While the Fox was said to be a disappointment, Asheville was 2nd most intimate venue (around 7000 seating) and that show off-the-rails smokin, IMO. Still the best Story of the Ghost that I’ve ever hex-perienced live.

  15. sumodie Says:

    also read a rumor saying that the final 8 albums will be used to name 8 different campgrounds at FEight. Better not be any ice/snow issues the day I fly (first snow flakes fell today in central MA).

  16. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I floated around Fenway to a few different spots and saw the full range of celebratoryness out of the folks I encountered. I think part of the reason you had sections of people seemingly not rocking the fuck out was that the place holds like 30,000 people and that large number increases the odds that there will be many first timers or people there for reasons other than Phish (this obviously doesn’t apply to festivals but does in big cities). I think the sound played into it as well, as in some parts of the park it was rocking and the people reacted accordingly while others seemed quiet both musically and in the crowd.

  17. BTB Says:

    Campground idea makes sense.

    What’s great about his band is that they get conference call all this stuff and talk about it just like we do. Basically, sitting around talking about what would be fun or exciting to do.

    I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when they debated the album choice. Of particular interest would be Fishman and what he had to say.

    Couple people mentioned Pork Tornado yesterday and gave them the thumbs down. I saw them in my hometown and I think 9 people were there. I stayed for 5 songs (guitarist did kind of suck) and went to another bar. I remember Fishman saying at the time that he needed to go do something b/c he couldn’t “let his chops go to waste”

  18. beepaphone Says:

    1999 Palace blowout > Crown standouts
    2009 Cobo > Crown

    All I can manage for this fall tour…if history serves right, should be a nice little mini-run 🙂

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    sumodie, it’s been snowing out here just west of Boston too! I can’t wait to get to Indio. 80s and sunny sounds great right now. Of course, I say that while I am also jonesing to go ice climbing. Need a lot more cold rain and snow before we are ready for that though…

  20. HarryHood Says:

    I would think that in order to shell out the kind of dough that it took to get great seats for any show this summer, you would have to be somewhat dedicated. Its just that I myself have a lot more fun around the pholks who can throw down in the last row of the arena and just be happy that they are at the show. I can still remember all the hype surrounding the Fox and how it was “the” show to catch this summer and people were giving their first born or their least favorite testicle to get a ticket. I have to believe that there were a lot of one nutted phans that were pretty let down after that night.

  21. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    anybody in the Boston area headed to YMSB at the HOB tonight?

  22. SJC Says:

    sumodie, thanks for the festi DL link. Anyone listen last night?

    Re: Fenway – Loads of folks in my section (field just in front of SBD) not really into it. The lack of response to Destiny by just about ANYONE in my section was disappointing. agree with Kenny on the socially cool thing. Lots of folks seemed to be there for the nostalgia too.

  23. halcyon Says:

    The lossless ambient mix Miner uploaded is great. Thanks again.

    Type3 & Sumodie…..I was in Worcester, Charlton, FItchburg areas a couple of weeks ago, real beautiful this time of year.

  24. sumodie Says:

    Listening to the Festivalography show that I dl’ed -sound is quite good in fact. So far very interesting comments from the boys.

  25. JerryTimber Says:

    Ah yes, The Crown, um.. I mean The Firstar Center, er… Riverfront Coliseum, no….. US Bank Arena! Ah, there it is! I’ve said it before, but the Split from 12/4/99 is 2nd only to Big Cypress. That is all.

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