concert freaks rock to Toad and Hootie and the Blowfish
Carpenter and Jonathan Cohen
Lux magazine, April 7, 1995
OK, so we're groupies.
We've traveled more than a 1,000 miles in the
past few months to see bands of all types: from The Dave Matthews Band
quaint theater in Cincinnati, to Letters to Cleo at a rowdy bar in
Last week, our adventures
encompassed both of these cities and the two
bands we have both come to adore. Toad the Wet Sprocket, touring with
and the Blowfish, were the object of our desires. Courtesy of Troy's interview
with Toad bassist Dean Dinning, we attended the duo's show Thursday at
Murat Temple's Egyptian Room in Indianapolis.
Arriving five minutes
before showtime didn't get us off on the right
foot. Further, we had no idea that the Egyptian Room had no seats. As
prepared to take the stage, Troy took off for the bathroom. When he returned,
the lights were low and Hootie was already ripping into "Hannah Jane."
Jonathan was nowhere to be found.
Hootie looked sharp,
performing every song from its smash-hit album
_Cracked Rear View_, except for "Look Away." Members of Toad
stage to assist in the instrumentation for several songs. "Drowning"
Dinning, guitarist Todd Nichols and Toad's lead singer Glen Phillips.
played keyboards on three other songs while the remaining member of Toad,
drummer Randy Guss, was in the back of the room, running the lighting
show, no less!
"I've been experimenting
with the lighting since we toured with the
Gin Blossoms," Guss said. "One time a couple of weeks ago the
light board was
locked up, and I couldn't get any lights on for Hootie's set. They were
wandering around in the dark."
When Guss raised
the lights to indicate the end of Hootie's 60-minute
set, which closed with radio-darling "Hold My Hand," we finally
other amidst the crowd.
Toad the Wet Sprocket
took the stage at 9 p.m. and opened with "Is It
For Me," "Fly From Heaven," and "All I Want."
Hootie's lead singer Darius
Rucker then took the stage to sing "Woodburning," the first
time he had ever
performed the song live.
This kind of musical
chair atmosphere is common of late on this tour,
as the two bands have become good friends and often accompany each other
select songs. Rucker told the crowd during his band's set that the two
wanted to do a compilation album similar to Pearl Jam and Soundgarden's
"Temple of the Dog."
Toad added further
zaniness to its performance by playing the theme
song from Phillips' favorite television show, "Battlestar Galactica,"
of the Neil Young song "Cinnamon Girl," and a botched attempt
at the funky
"Wild Thing." Rucker came onstage again to join with Phillips
in a duet of "I
Will Not Take These Things For Granted" as the last of four encores.
Toad seems like just
like the band next door; they are just plain
nice. Fan Sherrill Cederlund's husband, Jerry, drove Toad's tour bus during
its first U.S. tour. She views them almost like her own children.
had a heart problem, they came to the hospital to visit
him," she said. "They're wonderful guys."
Wonderful guys indeed,
as we found out when we went backstage after
the show. We decided to hit up Nichols for tickets to the band's performance
two nights later in Cincinnati.
No problem," said Nichols in response to our request.
So, two days later, we were on the road again. This time, it was the
harrowing 160-mile drive to Cincinnati's Taft Theater.
We arrived on time
for this one. But the tickets we were expecting
were conspicuously absent. We could already hear the din of scalpers selling
single seats for upwards of $60 at the theater's entrance.
Finding our way to Toad's bus, we summoned our pseudo-pal Todd
Nichols. Boy was his face red as he fished Troy's name and address out
"You guys are
going to kill me," he said. "Let me go inside and see
what I can do."
Within minutes, but
not before Hootie had started playing for the
evening, Todd had worked his magic. We were ushered into the theater via
proverbial back door and onto the stage itself. Then the manager of the
place brought out two folding chairs and planted them on the right side
theater, within 10 rows of the stage front.
Hootie varied its
set a bit in comparison to its performance two nights
prior by playing "Use Me," which Rucker said the band hadn't
played live in
more than six weeks. Oddly, when we asked Rucker for a set list after
show, he said the members don't use set lists and make up their set as
Again, Hootie closed
with "Hold My Hand," and Toad was back in front
of us some 20 minutes later.
After the opener,
"Fly From Heaven," Phillips told the crowd, "Good
night Cincinnati! It's been a great show," and, with that, he and
band and the crew left the stage. Even the house lights came on before
band immediately returned to the stage as Dinning said, "Happy April
We'd been duped just
like everybody else. But we didn't care. Toad put
on another amazing show, including songs from albums days past. "Don't
Away," was sung by Rucker and "Know Me" was also performed,
the latter from
their 1988 debut album _Bread and Circus_.
They also launched
into a few jams, which yielded some unlikely
covers. Phillips sang "Staying Alive" supported by Dinning's
funky bass, as
well as the appropriate "My City Was Gone" by the Pretenders.
Glen Phillips told
the crowd about the analogy between the band's
single "Something's Always Wrong" and the common problem of
finding gum on
one's seat at concerts. "If you take gum as an allegory for life,
get all screwed up, this is a gum song," he told the crowd.
Toad ended its performance
in the same fashion as it did in
Indianapolis, with Rucker and Phillips collaborating on "I Will Not
Things For Granted."
After the show, we
wanted to chat with Nichols for finding us seats,
folding chairs or otherwise. We waded through groupies and security folk,
not before encountering some Toad fans from IU like us.
Nichols finally showed
up at the aftershow meet-and-greet. He looked
relieved as he saw us and took our permanent addresses to keep us informed
future performances in the area.
Wearily, we passed
through yet another sea of backstage-passless
groupies and headed for home with memories galore--without having spent
dime. An amazing week was coming to its conclusion, and we had the pictures