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. sumodie Says:

    @halcyon: If you thought central ma is great, then try to check out northwestern MA sometime -incredibly beautiful back roads with some spectacular views (I lived almost 10 years in Amherst MA). I’m ready to move on from Woosta…

  2. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    gotta agree with lamalee, sorry hood. Asheville was the best crowd by far. Hampton was kick ass as well. I somehow knew that Fox would be over hyped.

  3. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    sumodie, have you ever done one of the canopy zipline tours in the Berkshires? Kind of like the ones you see in rain forests except you are cruising over the fall foliage. absolutely brillant this time of year. I know a couple of the ski areas have them going for like $20 a day.

  4. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    Seen every Crown show and always had a blast in that city.

  5. halcyon Says:

    @ Sumodie….I lived in upstate NY for about 5 years during college, would go to Northampton to see shows all the time. I have always wanted to explore NW Mass more. I wanted to check out Mass MOCA in adams the day before the SPAC show to see Josh Ritter, but didn’t have any time to do so.

    I visit the NE frequently so I am sure I will be back to check out NW Mass.

    Does anyone remember the 2 or 3 “dance” mixes posted on the green board, and I think even here a while ago. The title was something like sho’ nuffs mix?

  6. BTB Says:

    Cinci is a perfect location if you think about it. Perfect for a two-night stand in the midwest. Has the ability to draw people pretty easily from 11 or so states.

  7. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    “You there, with the burritto! Pack it up!”

    This should be a bumper sticker.

  8. sumodie Says:

    sumodie, have you ever done one of the canopy zipline tours in the Berkshires?

    No, didn’t know they had any around here -that would be a blast!

  9. bhizzle Says:

    Amen Berzerker, Amen. I’d buy one.

  10. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I highly recommend it.

    I’ve done the one through Deerfield Zipline. The other one is at Berkshire East Ski Area.

  11. Robear Says:

    re: JOTD, ’99 was truly the space odyssey.

    All this talk today, you guys have me searching for flights now to hit Cobo > Cinnci.

    Cinnci = furthest show south this fall?

  12. EL Duderino Says:

    Charlottesville VA I believe is the furthest south Robear.

  13. beepaphone Says:

    Good thing Who-dey will be in Oakland that weekend. Bengals fans can be bad vibes.

  14. Robear Says:

    ^Dude, I was thinking that, I need an Atlas! It takes too long to compare these things on Mapquest.

    Robear’s JOTD: Don’t front or loan more than you’re willing to give someone; you may never get it back due to a million or so reasons. (this is for everyone, me included, it’s not directed at anyone in particular, I’m living it right now)

  15. Leo Weaver Says:

    @llamalee, the Asheville show was a great crowd for an intimate (and super) show

    I met Marshall last night, he’s a quality guy (no fronting Lycan 😉 )…I’ve now met a handful of folks from this board one way or another…all definitley fall under the category of “good people”…looking foward to meeting more of you! Guess I’ll just have to join the Robear IndiOasis in spirit since I won’t be there in person.

  16. sumodie Says:

    Finished listening to Festivalography just now. About half talk, half music over 60 min. Really cool to hear phish 3.0 reminisce about the Ball and Went. Never knew the Went was named after a quote from Twin Peaks. And they mention the naked photo too, which I participated in 8)

    Here’s hoping Limestone reappears in our 3.0 phishtory.

  17. Robear Says:

    I’m feeling some Reggae tunes coming out of Indio;

    Mellow Mood
    Have Mercy
    Stir It Up

    Yeah, Leo, my buddy should have his laptop with wireless scamerizon @ Indio. We’ll be posting from the Oasis.

    Any requests for supplies? Open to suggestions.

  18. butter Says:

    Hood – interesting topic to debat : ticket prices/ availability/ snobiness of fans/ dedication/ vibe/ quality of show.

    We’ve seen it go both ways. Fox is an example to support your argument. Along with when they Played the Filmore in SF. (i think it was 98) Both super tough tickets with lackluster shows . We should be careful to deem the fans in attendance “over privileged” and snobby. Maybe they worked really hard and and can afford expensive tickets. Or maybe they spent their last 400 bucks on a ticket. Either way expectations seem to run really high when paying that much for a Phish concert.

    As Little Buddy says RR and Hampton were pretty much as tough as it gets tickets wise, but fans rocked hard with a great vibe, and the shows ruled.

    Interesting to see what this fall brings , ticket crunch wise. I think Feight will be spacious and heady.

  19. SOAM Says:

    SING ME BACK HOME- a song I used to hear….sing me away and turn bak the years-sing me back hoooome before I …….

  20. Chuck D Says:

    w00t – U2 got hacked yesterday. Pretty much the only album I really didn’t want to hear. Bono blows.

  21. MakisupaSecurity Says:


    I scored a wheelchair accessible section ticket which was right in front of the speakers at stage left, just past Fishman. To say there weren’t any sound issues was an understatement for me, I heard everything crystal clear and LOUD. My crew however was up in the back stands and they said the worst part of the show was the sound. As the wind blew the volume would cut in and out, never getting truly loud. Their entire section more or less “watched” the show instead of participated. I think this was pretty much the way it went for a lot of people.

    Our little section was wide open with an obscene amount of room to dance, but I have to admit I wasn’t driven to do so until at least DWD. I don’t always dance just for the sake of dancing, I like the music to MAKE me dance. And I guess I was also going in with a cautious ear, like I wanted them to prove they were still ready to tear it up. I think a lot of people were doing the same thing. We weren’t going to just take them as they are with open arms and let them “piss in our ears”. Hampton this wasn’t, it was time to show us that not only did they still have IT, but what they had up their sleeves to add ot IT.

    The heads around me were receptive for the most part, but there was one dreadie that was just kind of leaning back against the fence and seemed to be trying REALLY hard to be the “been there done that jaded disinterested too cool for the room but here I am” kinda fan. Or maybe he was just too crispy to do much else. He may have been an example of the too cool Boston money fan mentioned earlier

    I’m a fan of Destiny Unbound and was excited to hear it. But something was different about it, the ascending base drop after “we got to get out of town” didn’t seem to have the force it normally does. I don’t know, just sounded “off”. So I’m not surprised if newbie’s weren’t into it.

    Now the best part of Fenway for me was the sign language translator for the deaf fans. You read that right. There was a reason our section was right in front of the speakers, it was so the deaf fans could feel the music while the translator signed the lyrics. I have to say it was one of the most trippiest things I”ve ever seen at a show. We’ve all seen spun dancers twirling their hands to the music (or done so ourselves) , except this time that hand twirling actually meant something! It was even more of a trip to see the fans react to the signed lyrics. The girls were beaming at the translator during Velvet Sea, and it was funny to see him sign Limb by Limb, specifically “peel my fingers off the rim” He held one hand out and pretended to pluck his fingers off with the other. Two of the fans turned to each other and giggled when he did it. He also signed Tweezers “gonna be cold cold cold cold cold” by making a shivering motion while mouthing “cold cold cold” and bending lower with each “cold”.

    So yes I enjoyed Fenway, but I can understand the mixed feelings throughout the venue.

    *sorry those of you that dont like long posts 🙂

  22. Mr. Completely Says:

    mapquest still exists?

  23. voopa Says:

    @ EL Dude

    Yeah, that was the anniversary of the tragedy of 12/3/79…eleven people crushed. I still remember it like it was yesterday, even though I was tucked way up in the Sierra Nevadas at the time…

  24. m00nshake Says:


  25. kenny powers Says:

    Maki, that sounds like an absolutely amazing experience w/ the sign language translator. Move over interpretive dancing! I wonder though, that translator must have been a fan in able to effectively do that. Pristine sound quality or not, sung lyrics can be tough to decipher when you don’t know the band, especially if the lyrics are as bizarre/unconventional as many of Phish’s are.

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