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Permalink Posted by Ryan Bartosek on , attached to 2000-09-18
Phish.Net contributor(Published in the second edition of The Phish Companion...)

It's a shame that it took Phish almost 400 shows to return to the beautiful Blossom Music Center. Sure, it's a smaller venue, but it's such a great place to see live music. Not many people were at this show, as tickets were all over the lot and the Shakedown was pretty miniscule. However, the police were in full effect; mounted officers on horseback were everywhere, and a rumored ninety-three kids got busted selling or trying to buy drugs from undercover cops wearing tie-dyes that said Kmart on them and wearing fanny packs. The parking lot at Blossom is very nice, grass covered and big, yet easy to maneuver. As show time approached we started the walk to the venue, which is an adventure in itself.
You walk along this paved path that is surrounded by trees and forest. Then you come to this stone bridge that you mush walk across. The venue's gate is made up of logs and looks almost like an old fort from colonial America. As you pass through the gate you come upon a sort of nature walk that features stone trails that lead through a pretty flower garden hidden amongst a group of trees. As you walk further down the trail you come to a small hill, and as you come to the peak of it you realize that it is the back of the lawn. You can look down the slope and see the pavilion that is shaped just like a spaceship and very retro looking. As you enter the pavilion you can see that the whole stage and backdrop is made out of the same wood that made up the front gate, and it is easy to tell why this venue is one of Kuroda's favorites to light.
As the show began, a quick look around revealed that the lawn was half empty and there were plenty of seats available in the pavilion. For some reason this show didn't sell very well, apparently. The band took the stage and opened the show with a standard version of "Carini" that was quickly followed by "The Sloth". Getting the metal out right away, the band launched into a fast paced version of "Maze" that served as the highlight of the first set. Overall the set was quite strong, featuring a diverse song selection despite the fact that each version of the tunes was for the most part standard (aside from "Maze"). The rarity "Guelah Papyrus" showed itself and was followed by the bluegrass Phish favorite "My Mind". "Sample In A Jar" once again found its way into my life; however, if they band wanted to play it I was thankful they were playing it in the middle of the first set and not encoring with it.
After "Sample", a standard version of "Rift" led into "Sleep". Although this version didn't sound much different from the studio version, it was still nice to hear, since the band rarely played this tune. "Caspian" followed and thankfully this version was an extended one, with Trey taking the reins and turning it into a genuine set closer. After "Caspian" the band left the stage and house lights came on. I ran to use the bathroom and get water and I noticed that even though the venue was less than full, the lines were longer than ever. I finally got back to my seat as the house lights dimmed yet again and the band kicked into the ever-popular "Boogie On Reggae Woman".
The song proved to be the song of the night, as it got extended into the 1997 style funk and featured a dark and brooding jam that lead its way somewhat awkwardly into "Twist". "Twist" also featured an extended jam that touched on the realm of darkness before coming to a close. The only "McGrupp" of the year 2000 followed and was highlighted by Page taking a beautiful piano solo during the jam while Kuroda bathed the stage in purple light.
"McGrupp" was received by a roar from the audience who wondered what the band was going to bust out next. There was a mixture of screams and laughter while the crowd began to jump up and down as Mike started the vocal intro to "Halley's Comet". This is one of the most fun songs Phish does and is by far a huge fan favorite. The band erupted into an extended funk jam that went way, way out there, abandoning the main theme as Trey wailed and wrestled notes out of his guitar. The jam climaxed and stayed there for awhile and just as it seemed that the band was going to take it in a new direction and possibly even further out there, Trey bowed to the audience and walked off stage in mid-jam, leaving the rest of the band standing there confused. Page, Fish, and Mike held the groove for a few moments since it was obvious they hadn't planned on Trey leaving and they didn't know what was going on. Finally, as there was no sign of Trey coming back the band brought "Halley's" to an end, bowed, and walked off the stage. A very unprofessional ending to an otherwise great set.
The band came back out for the encore and launched into a standard "Axilla Pt. I" before segueing into a monster "Taste", a version so good that we left the venue forgetting all about the peculiar way Trey had left the stage in mid-jam.
Score: 1

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