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. voopa Says:

    Another F8 poster, on sale later today:

  2. bl68300 Says:

    check your cc or bank account statements if you wanna know about tix erly. generally youll have a hold on your account w/in a day or two of the lottery ending, at least thats how ive always gotten a sneak peek

  3. Little Buddy Says:

    While you can no longer buy tickets at the door due to the elevation in scalping, most shows this summer were a relatively easy ticket if you were willing to put in the work (hit up blockbuster or the lot). For each show I went to (Fenway, Starlake, DC, Alpine, Darien, Merriweather) I was with at least one friend who needed a ticket. No one was ever shut out and only once (Merriweather) did someone pay much more than face. I think there are certain shows this fall tour that will be a tough ticket (Cobo – maybe, Syracuse – definitely, Albany – since its Thanksgiving weekend, and the Friday MSG show). I’d be surprised if it was difficult to get tickets to anything else. I bet the Wednesday and Thursday MSG shows are pretty easy when it comes down to it. Tough gigs for college kids to make – toward the end of the semester and mid-week. And,, MSG is f-ing huge. I guess we’ll see though…

  4. beepaphone Says:

    Wear your Phishthoughts gear while you’re out there looking for a ticket.

  5. Chuck D Says:

    I second beeps’ motion that phishthoughts tees get priority on lot tix

  6. punkmug Says:

    Thanks for the calming words peeps. I need them. Miner’s post today really gave me the butterflies. My excitement to make these shows sky rocketed into another plane of existence today.

  7. beepaphone Says:

    ah good ‘ol parliamentary procedure

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    there have definitely been signers at past shows. I know I saw them at several MSG NYE shows over the years. The best ones are those who actually incorporate the signing into dancing.

  9. Mr.Miner Says:

    So if I wanted to be online at 8, what is my best way to go about that? Some sort of wireless card? Little help please…

  10. Mr. Completely Says:

    tour books were the best

    that was the sign you had arrived as a tour dog

  11. beepaphone Says:

    @ miner

    it looks like att’s g3 has most of that area covered

  12. Mr. Completely Says:

    Is there free wifi onsite? I have no clue

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I have a funny story about someone not getting tickets at Red Rocks this summer. A friend of a friend had Saturday tickets but not Friday and decided to try to find them in the lot. As we all know, that was tough sledding this year so he ended up getting shut out and walking the lots during the show. When the rains came (and they came hard for a while there) he took shelter in a port-o-potty. Turns out he ended up spending over an hour in there getting trashed on warm beer and listening to the setbreak and eventually the beginning of the 2nd set. I guess in his drunken state he figured it was better to be dry and smelly than wet and cold.

    We made him sit in the way back of the car on the way back to the hotel.

  14. Prince Nabby Says:

    I *love* the fact that there are ASL signers at Phish shows, both because it shows immense consideration for Phans and for sheer performative richness it adds to the show experience. Signing is dancing with the fingers! Also, it might finally resolve what they are singing in Llama!

  15. beepaphone Says:

    a verizon or att g3 card should do it

  16. Mr.Miner Says:

    ^ pick up at a t & t mobile store?

  17. beepaphone Says:

    no no no upon closer look, the att coverage looks spotty…go for verizon

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    some of the cell phone companies (like Verizon) require a contract for the air cards. If you go into a store, make sure to find out what the commitment is.

  19. beepaphone Says:

    sorry i came out of the gate with 3 different answers there

  20. KWL Says:

    Miner, the camping page on the F8 website says there will be ‘cyber cafe/wireless internet’

    There is also cufflink rental, in case you forgot.

  21. SOAM Says:

    I’d rather be pissed on my mother nature than imbibe in the foulness and stench of others waste in port o ass…

    Did they play Waste that night-that tale gives it a whole nother meaning.

  22. Chuck D Says:

    whats cufflink rental?

  23. Little Buddy Says:

    ^ HA!

  24. Little Buddy Says:

    The Ha was for SOAM, not you CHuck D.

    I think the cufflink rental is just a joke, since its unlikely many phishies will be showing up in tails…

  25. fat bastard Says:

    2 weeks yeehaaaw!! flyin in thursday to palm springs at high noon

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