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Two concert freaks rock to Toad and Hootie and the Blowfish
by Troy Carpenter and Jonathan Cohen
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 in a
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 Hootie
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 the
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 Hootie
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." But
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 meandered on
stage to assist in the instrumentation for several songs. "Drowning" featured
Dinning, guitarist Todd Nichols and Toad's lead singer Glen Phillips. Dinning
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 for the
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 spotted each
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 in
select songs. Rucker told the crowd during his band's set that the two groups
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," a cover
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.

"When Jerry 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.

"Sure guys! 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 of his

"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 the
proverbial back door and onto the stage itself. Then the manager of the whole
place brought out two folding chairs and planted them on the right side of the
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 the
show, he said the members don't use set lists and make up their set as they

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 the whole
band and the crew left the stage. Even the house lights came on before the
band immediately returned to the stage as Dinning said, "Happy April Fools'
Day, everyone!"

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 Go
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, when things
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 Take These
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, but
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 of
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 a
dime. An amazing week was coming to its conclusion, and we had the pictures to
prove it.