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. Brimley Says:

    Two songs that are very deserving to be busted out in the desert will be Vultures and Sand…which are both have a desert vibe to them also!

  2. HarryHood Says:

    @ butter

    Yea, I realized when I said overprivaledged that I might be stereotyping and that wasn’t my intention. I guess that my frustrations lie in the fact that in order to get within 50 rows of the stage at Fenway (or other venues) you essentially needed to shell out in excess of $300 per seat. Now I work hard and make decent money, but I still find it ridiculous to have to spend that amount of $$$ to have good seats to see a band that I’ve followed for years. In years past, part of what made Phish Phish was that you could get a ticket at a local outlet the day of a show and it was like you were in on this secret that only a handful of people knew about. I personally think that we have just lost a bunch of great people that were true “heads” due to the difficulty in obtaining tickets and the prices involved. I have a great friend that I used to see shows with that gave up this year because the work involved in getting tickets was just too much and too depressing.

  3. Mr.Miner Says:

    fyi. torrent tracker is still down.

  4. beepaphone Says:

    wtf people on StubHub are already charging 300% for fall tour tickets

  5. kenny powers Says:

    i’ll give you a stub hub.

  6. kenny powers Says:

    stub this.

  7. punkmug Says:

    If the Lottery ends tonight, when do we know if we got tickets?

  8. fat bastard Says:

    harry hood-thats why i just assume shit seats/lawn and maybe i get lucky. i want the best possible but i still have a budget to maintain

  9. fat bastard Says:

    miner superb work as always. guys dont worry about tickets, you’ll get ’em come game time.

  10. Pence Says:

    @brimley, and for a more halloween type feel, “saw it again”

  11. Little Buddy Says:

    pnukmug – by 11:59 PM on October 21st, I believe.

  12. Little Buddy Says:

    I bet you get an Albuquerque in Indio too. I love that song. That tune provided some great “cool downs” in the past.

  13. Josh Says:

    Let’s not forget the epic Cincinnati Zoo show as well as the Cincinnati Music Hall show. Both stellar in their own rights. The boys love Cincinnati, and it will be incredible to have them back again.

  14. beepaphone Says:

    not that i’m worried about getting tickets, fb, I’m worried about the salvation of the souls of these fucknut asshole scalpers

    the scalpers post their tickets right away with way jacked up prices, but a week or 2 before the show, you can tell there are fans who got tickets and can’t make it. With venues over 15k seating you can usually find em at or below face in the weeks before the show if you’re diligent.

    Then of course the lot – where miracles happen.

  15. punkmug Says:

    The plan is to rock the Detroit>Cincy shows. Since I’ll be driving from Minneapolis, I am slightly paranoid on making sure I have tickets in hand before I get there.

  16. Lycanthropist Says:

    yay for last minute pick up gigs.

    love going into a gig with no promotion


  17. Mitch Says:

    The ’03 weekend was my first true Phish experience. Everything changed after that weekend and the obsession blew into what it is today.

    What a way to start things off! I try and listen to these two shows every february.

    Might wanna mention the fire alarm going off in the band’s hotel on friday night. I forget how it was mentioned on sat night’s show but I remember that vaguely right now as well. They sure brought some fire those nights. My first Phish show is the only Phish show I’ve ever been late to. My friends will attest that I’m OCD about getting to a show on time now and it comes from that show. Had to wait on my ride to get out of class on friday and we got lost finding the venue. Walked into the show at the tail end of Boogie and the first song I saw live was this Antelope. I think to this day Antelope might be my fav Phish song and it too comes from this night. I remember the glow sticks and thinking they were really cool cause I’d never seen them at a show and also how easy the pat down was. An old lady asked me if I had everything I needed or anything I shouldn’t have. I said I was good and she told me to come on in. Such a relaxing and fun weekend!

  18. beepaphone Says:

    @ punkmug – i feel you on the paranoia. I usually do everything in my power to get the tickets beforehand at a reasonable price. If you get there empty handed you just have to be tenacious and someone will help you out.

    Cobo should be the harder of the 3 to get into. First of tour, only 12k seating, first and last ever at the venue, etc.

    Hard to predict with accuracy but you should be fine just showing up to Cinncy.

  19. fat bastard Says:

    all the haten on pearl jam got em axed yesturday. maybe it works! elton john blows

  20. MakisupaSecurity Says:

    @ kenny powers

    The translator actually had a laptop with all the song lyrics available except the new songs. He had an earpiece and someone backstage would tell him the names of the songs. He said he did know some of them though. There were actually two translators that would take turns, one of them had a tie dye and scruffy head, but he didnt seeme emote the signing as well as the other guy.

  21. beepaphone Says:

    i’m going to go ahead and hate on Metallica

    Just noticed they changed ACDC black to ACDC Bag. Duh.

  22. flarrdogg Says:

    Makisupa- great story, man. I wonder if they’ve ever had signers before? Shows me that they are a compassionate band and are trying to cater to everyone. Rad.
    Miner- thanks for the loss-less ambient mix. Really enjoyed waking up to it this morn.
    I was at the Cincy shows in ’99 and ’03- as has already been said, the first night in ’99 KILLED. I love both shows from ’03 and they remain in the rotation now. I believe they finally got the their groove back and were starting to feel comfortable after hiatus around this time. Thanks for the reminder.

  23. KWL Says:

    lol fat b

  24. HarryHood Says:

    Scalping sucks.

  25. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    Been a long time since you were able to walk up and gets tickets at the door. I was able to do that at the early ’90s Knoxville shows but not much more after that. Reminds me of the Dead in the early ’80s. Mail order was a sure thing and you could actually get tour booklets of tickets that you tore out each nights ticket. Pretty freaking cool I must say.

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