Monday, May 31, 2004

It's my blog & I can lie if I a-want to

I said yesterday that I would write about the ELO concert I went to back in 1977, which was interesting in that it was not only a great show, but my first "date concert" as well. Well sorry, but I'm gonna change course and talk about a show I just saw last night instead. We'll save ELO for tomorrow.

Any "Toad" fans here, boys and girls? Yes, I see that hand (that was for you, Sam). Well if you know Toad the Wet Sprocket, you know Glen Phillips, the band's former lead singer. Glen played at a great little bar in Nashville that I frequent more than any other music venue here. It's an unassuming place in a strip mall called 3rd and Lindsley Bar & Grill, and I think I need to sit down sometime and come up with a list of the great bands I've seen there over the last 10 years — dozens. From Dave Mason to David Gray to Patty Griffin. It's a great place, and if you ever spend some time in Nashville, you really need to check it out.

As you may know, since Toad's demise in January of 1998, Glen took some time off and then embarked on a solo career. In the last couple years he has played here in Nashville fairly consistently, and last night was my second time seeing him in the last couple years.

Due to the fanaticism of Toad followers, which continues even now more than six years since they split, he always seems to draw an enthusiastic crowd that calls out a half a dozen requests for their favorite Toad song between every tune. Last night he played before a packed house at 3rd, along with a live local area radio audience, broadcast by WRLT Lightning 100 (the best radio station in town by far, IMO).

For the first hour (the radio broadcast portion), he was able to do a lot of his newer individual stuff (along with a few Toad standards) without interruption. After the broadcast was finished, He then continued to play for about 45 minutes, during which time the requests came in fast and furious from the crowd. From reading comments on the fan forum at his web site, apparently it kinda got ugly in Atlanta a couple of nights earlier, with a number of fans being pretty obnoxious throughout the show shouting out requests.

Fortunately that wasn't the case here. Glen took it all in stride and seemed happy to oblige as much as he could, although he did say he couldn’t do some of the songs requested (apparently there are some songs that he's either contractually prohibited from doing or just unwilling to play). However after the first song of the bonus set, while being bombarded with more Toad requests from the crowd, Glen made what I thought was kind of a telling statement, albeit good-natured. He said, "Okay, it’s gonna be a half hour of request madness, but we’re gonna alternate between Toad songs and the things I've written in the last several years...just so I don’t feel terrible...okay?” He was smiling as he said it, but I'm sure a good measure of truth is behind it. It's gotta be a double-edged sword for him have his older music be so adored, to near exclusion of the new stuff he's excited about.

Among the the Toad songs Phillips played were standards Walk on the Ocean and All I Want, along with All Things In Time, and Throw it All Away, from Toad’s final CD, Coil. On the latter tune, I was apparently the only person in the place shameless enough to throw the confetti on cue, causing him to momentarily crack up while singing the song. So to reward my nerdiness, Glen asked me to request the next song. Considering how embarrassed I felt being put on the spot, after freezing for 5-10 seconds, I requested the only song I could have at that moment: Stupid.

It was a great show and I'm especially looking forward to his upcoming album with the fabulous Nickel Creek, Mutual Admiration Society, and a tour to ensue in a couple months. No Nashville dates have been announced as of yet, but hopefully they will be soon.

Although they've worked together before, I've only seen NC and Glen individually, and both are incredible so I would highly recommend seeing this collaboration live if the tour comes to a concert venue near you.

Okay the hour is wee and I gotta go back to work tomorrow, so hopefully I'll get the ELO story you've all so anxiously awaited (sheesh...who am I kidding?) up by tomorrow night. TTFN.
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