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. Ocelot42 Says:

    Don’t know if this has been mentioned, but the radio station that will be taken over as the Bunny radio station has live streaming on the interwebs. Don’t know if they’ll cut that for the Phish shows, but if not, holy live stream, Batman!

  2. ColonelJoy Says:

    I must say, the one thing I miss about Iraq is this site, meaning I had the time to really dig in….I miss it so, but I’m psyched for 8 and my Philly B-day show…..8 will be the sickest ever

  3. Mr. Completely Says:

    “We’re also making each show from the weekend available on slotMusic micro SD cards, so that you can grab them on your way out of the concert field and listen back right away.”

    holy fuck.

  4. Ocelot42 Says:

    I hate when I get the last post on a page. I feel like people will miss it. Since this one actually had something possibly important in it… here it is again!

    “Don’t know if this has been mentioned, but the radio station that will be taken over as the Bunny radio station has live streaming on the interwebs. Don’t know if they’ll cut that for the Phish shows, but if not, holy live stream, Batman!

  5. bhizzle Says:

    That’d be sweeeeet if that holds true Ocelot.

    Peace out all..The weekend is here!

  6. Mr. Completely Says:

    “That’s right – those Sunday morning donuts will be commemoratively shaped in a figure eight, and glazed. We did it, America!”

    if they can get bacon involved in that somehow, they might win a nobel prize

  7. Ocelot42 Says:

    @Mr. C – Maybe make some of these with the leftovers?

  8. ColonelJoy Says:

    I suspect you will be able to listen live….stream…for sure, but they won’t announce until the very last minute

  9. ColonelJoy Says:

    Maybe Kuroda will use that Balloon Boy Balloon as a prop…

  10. ColonelJoy Says:

    Mr. C,

    Sean raved about how knowledgable you were compared to most customers….btw

  11. Mr. Completely Says:

    as a longtime event production worker and manager I have always been in awe of what I hear about Phish festivals and that was one reason among many I hoped to go this year – but this is really taking the cake – or the donut – the amount of thought and effort (and MONEY) that’s going into this up front is absolutely staggering.

    if they’re worried about ticket sales, they’re certainly not showing it by backing off the awesome. they want you to be HAPPY, goddamit, and if you’re not it sounds like you won’t be able to blame it on anyone but your damn self

  12. Ocelot42 Says:

    I wonder how far ahead of time the set-up for previous festivals took. Giving themselves a full two weeks to get everything right is certainly a good sign. Wish I could go.

  13. Ocelot42 Says:

    Well, over two weeks in preliminaries, but it sounds like they’ve completely taken over at this point.

  14. Mr. Completely Says:

    nice, Colonel. that dude was a trip. definitely knows his shit. I would buy speakers from him in a second.

    @Ocelot, you can get that burger in downtown PDX no problem – some of the guys from Voodoo Donut split off and are now running the “Can Haz Cheezburger” cart and the “Side Cart” where they will literally deep-fry any food product you bring them – I heard them blow this one’s guy’s mind, he thought he would stump ’em and asked “oh yeah how would you fry gravy” and they just sneered and said “we’d freeze it first, just like fried ice cream” and the dude just about had an orgasm standing there on the street as he realized he could have deep fried gravy

    so if you go to Voodoo first and get a donut and bring it to the cart, they’ll put a burger in it for ya no problemo….

    ah the seven deadly thrills, as Mighty Mos Def calls ’em

  15. Mitch Says:

    Just jumping in here so excuse me if I’m behind but 2 things of note:

    Think you can do a better job mixing Phish? The House will feature mix-your-own-track stations complete with skilled instructors from ProMedia, and you’ll be able to re-mix tracks from this Summer’s Tour

    haha guess they got the memo that we werent happy and they are throwing it in our faces if we can do better. seems cool but snarky at the same time. hard to remix something after the fact is it not? remaster yes but remix? I guess if they give it to you in multi-track format you can just put Mike on 11 and we will all shut up.


  16. Mr. Completely Says:

    ^^^ fwiw I consider Can Haz Cheezburger to be “stunt food” – it’s funny that it exists but I don’t eat there…Side Cart is cool though

  17. Ocelot42 Says:

    I cannot even describe how awesome a business model that is.

  18. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    I cannot even put into words the new level of excitement this information has brought upon me. I am glad I have YMSB tickets for tonight, otherwise I might explode for lack of working off this energy.

  19. Pence Says:

    hopefully some pics of the site come out soon….EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeee

  20. Mr. Completely Says:

    @Mitch – of course they should be able to do better – the whole issue is that they’re trying to get the shows out too fast, so they’re plainly *not* remixing them after the show. They’re mixing from multis on the fly, which means some nights come out much better than others.

    I’m much less impressed with most of the 2nd leg mixes than I was at first impression.

    Playing with multitrack mixing boards is a damn hoot. I got to listen to solo jerry and phil tracks one time – amazing. Would be fun to be able to do that with Phish as well.

  21. Mr. Completely Says:

    so I dunno if *I* could do better – but no one’s paying me for it, you know?

  22. Selector J Says:

    The only Cincy shows I went to were in ’03 and they were definitely my favorites from 03-04. The Tube + Gin should be required listening. And as far as ‘Friday’ goes, Phish can play whatever the hell they want after that Gin. The snow after the second night was pretty awesome, too.

    The only negative thing about the place is the parking garage lot. After driving straight through from the Cackalack, I was pulling into the garage at 5:00pm and still need to find a ticket. The first 2-3 floors of the garage were filled with people making it impossible to drive through and who predictably did not respond to repeated horn tapping and headlight flashing.

    Everything worked out. I got in and didn’t commit vehicular manslaughter but it was touch and go there for a minute.

    Festival 8 looks so incredibly fun. Very jealous of those going.

    (Been a while since I been posting on here…)

  23. Mr. Completely Says:

    Selector J!

    Very nice!

    now we just need the old dude

  24. voopa Says:

    Yo Selector! Good to see you!

  25. kenny powers Says:

    @ Type III,

    me too! i should’ve known better, i was somehwat worried that this festival might not have that same Phish festival magic due to the following:

    instead of commandeering an air force base in the middle of nowhere where they can create their own sprawling universe, they’re holding this fest at an exisiting festival site which is actually a friggin polo field…which, upon looking at by satellite imagery, looks like it is in a pretty condensed area smack dab in the middle of busy streets and neighborhoods. So i was worried there wouldn’t be much in the way of interactive stuff, art exhibits, random wierdness etc. But then again I’ve never been to the Coachella fest and for all I know they have all sorts of stuff at that too.

    Anyway, I was wrong and glad! This band rules.

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