Toad Meets Hootie

Toad the Wet Sprocket - Hootie & the Blowfish

Aragon Ballroom - Chicago

March 24, 1995

First Appeared in The Music Box, April 1995, Volume 2, #4

Written by John Metzger

gif

Toad the Wet Sprocket and Hootie and the Blowfish teamed up for a sold-out show at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago on March 24. The Aragon was much nicer than expected, with a large floor area that is designed to look like the courtyard of a castle. Even the ceiling gives the appearance of a starlit sky, though it's hard to appreciate the ambience when one is crammed into the venue tighter than a pack of sardines.

Surprisingly, Hootie and the Blowfish stole this line-up, with singer Darius Rucker singing his heart out on song after song. The Blowfish were musically intact as well, adding uplifting musical jams to the already upbeat tunes like Hold My Hand and Running with an Angel. As crowded as it was, one just couldn't help but dance! Even the ballads, such as the perfectly performed Let Her Cry came across quite well in the cavernous Aragon. Just for laughs, Rucker threw in an a cappella version of the Barry Manilow-penned Even Now. Strangely enough, it worked.

Toad the Wet Sprocket, on the other hand, was a bit too polished and rehearsed. The band pounded out song after song, and surprisingly the hits from the new album (Something's Always Wrong, Fly From Heaven, and Fall Down) came across the best. It wasn't until the encore, however, that the band loosened up a bit, playing a few riffs from Jimi Hendrix's Foxy Lady, a good chunk of U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday and all of Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl, which sadly was one of the few highlights from the set. The other big moment was when Darius Rucker joined Toad the Wet Sprocket to sing I Will Not Take These Things for Granted. With Rucker's strong voice, this song came across much better than anything Toad singer Glen Phillips could have achieved. At least he recognized this and was willing to pass the torch and allow Rucker to steal some of his glory. Not many performers can set aside their egos long enough to do something like this, and Phillips had no trouble at all! Overall, Toad the Wet Sprocket's set was enjoyable, and what was performed was done well, but for a note-by-note interpretation of a song, a CD will certainly suffice.

Toad the Wet Sprocket's Dulcinea is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

Hootie & the Blowfish's Cracked Rear View is available
from Barnes & Noble. To order, Click Here!

gif

Copyright 1995 The Music Box