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. VTsnowboarder802 Says:

    sorry, missed that.

  2. Little Buddy Says:


    Wow! Oh yeah! I totally forgot about that. I actually had the poster in my bedroom when I was like 10 or 11: LT, Carl Banks, Leonard Marshall, Jim Burt… Awesome!

  3. bhizzle Says:

    In Pee Wee football my number was 64 after Jim Burt. My father’s influence.

  4. Little Buddy Says:

    My friends phone number was xxx-6433 and I always remembered it as xxx-jim burt/larry bird

    Remember when he squashed Montana in the NFC championship game in ’86?

  5. bhizzle Says:

    All I remember is one minute my pops was praising the Giant and two minutes later he was swearing up one side of them and back down the other side. I think that’s why I became a Skins fan. How could Ibe a fan of a team that made him schizo? Would I end up with two personalties if I became a fan?

  6. GuitarPicker420! Says:

    @miner – I use bluetooth to hook my laptop up to my blackberry and then pull internet off of that. The software was only like $15 and as long as you have cell coverage, you have internet. Breaking the rules with ATT, but what do I care, I already pay them $175 a month!

  7. Robear Says:

    Subbing this week, these kids taught me the meaning of “TGIF”.

  8. halcyon Says:

    I remember the San Fran game … Remember the fake punt that game!

    @bhizzle….. All my teams make me schizo, either that, or they bring the schizo out of me.

  9. Mr. Completely Says:

    glad you like that Dark Star, Miner – I had fun putting it together and still enjoy listening to it

  10. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Has anyone of the usual suspects attending the festival completed the volunteer work and consequently the form?

    I actually completed my volunteering and have some more slated. Working a Soup Kitchenis a great way to see where some of your poorer decisions could have lead to… When my daughters are old enough they will be getting some shifts to see how blessed our meager lifestyle is.

    I want to know what other folks will be bringing to the festival as far as music to liten to in the down times and late night. I have alway enjoyed the Butthole Surfers late night as you power into reality as the chemicals where down and the booze kicks in, specific album Locust Abortion Technician. My bet is my wife won’t have it so I’ll be looking to commandeer yours. Let’s hear yours.

  11. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    George Carlin had a bit where he suggests teaching kids the wrong word for things. Hilarious.

  12. Pence Says:

    This is sweet….

  13. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    Major Festival announcement!!

    Holy Guacamole!

    Sorry for the folks who will not be there. 🙁

  14. Phamily Berzerker Says:

    SIerra Nevad has brewed a special pilsner for the festival FOAM

    While not necessarily a pilsner guy. That is pretty cool.

  15. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    Miner, the recently released info says there will be wi-fi throughout the site. you should be set without having to shell out for an air card…

  16. Little Buddy Says:

    I just realized that if I get tickets for the Syracuse show it will be my 100th and that is the same venue that I saw my first show in when I was 18.

  17. SOAM Says:

    sorry for the folks who won’t get 7 shows in 10 days within 3.5 hrs of their old home places

  18. SOAM Says:

    Bloody Mary’s and Beer-I thought 3.0 was sober city..MFNOT

  19. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    wow. the donuts will actually be shaped like 8s!

  20. Little Buddy Says:

    Amen to that, SOAM.

  21. Little Buddy Says:

    I’ll miss being at the festy, but I love me some indoor Phish.

  22. spike2518 Says:

    check out phish festival news i m so pumped up

  23. kenny powers Says:

    holy moses…

    “In addition to his usual duties behind the console, lighting designer Chris Kuroda is overseeing lighting throughout the site – at the entrances, in The Overlook, on the field. You’ll never see a more stunning collection of 140 lit palm trees. That’s the Kuroda Promise.”

    looks like i might have to reneg on that personal vow 11 years ago never to take Lucy again…

  24. halcyon Says:

    I just read the festival 8 news, and I am calling my boss to see if I can take the time off. I am sure I can. However, the problem is filling 5 night shifts. One of my coworkers has picked up numerous shifts for me, so this might be asking too much.

    Wish me luck!

  25. morecowbell (aka jay) Says:

    god, this is bumming me out

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