Nothing But the Moment

DSC06412I headed south to The Observatory North Park in San Diego, CA on July 9, 2016 to see one of my favorite bands, Toad the Wet Sprocket, on their summer tour. I’ve been a fan of Toad since my first year of university and saw them in concert a couple of times at the height of their popularity in the mid-90s. As they are local to Southern California, it has been easy for me to catch their shows multiple times over the past few years. This summer they are on the road with Rusted Root, co-headlining shows and taking turns with the opening and closing slots. On some stops of the tour,  The Voice performer from the 2014 season, Luke Wade, joins them to play a short opening set.

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Luke Wade Performing at The Observatory North Park

Luke Wade took to the stage with his guitar and filled that cavernous space with six of his original songs and one cover. When he sings you can understand why he was on The Voice, his vocals being well-controlled and resonant, with a slightly raspy quality that distinguishes his sound. He played a pleasing set and helpfully introducing each song, saying a few words regarding what they were written about. He played:

  1. Passenger Side
  2. This Fire” — from Tomorrow’s Ghosts (as Luke Wade & No Civilians).  Luke commented that this one came to him in a dream, in which the dream people were requesting songs he didn’t want to play, and he began writing this song in a dream. When he woke up part of the song was fresh in his mind and he felt that it was a good one, so sat down to write it.
  3. Kiss and Make Up” — He prefaced this one by noting, “The more you can show people who you are, the more you’ll find yourself surrounded by the right people.”
  4. Morning View” — Luke remarked that this one is based on that striking feeling, “When you see someone for the first time and you know you want to wake up next to that person for the rest of your life.”
  5. “Runaway” — The most recent song that Luke has written that he performed and which will be on his next album, is a reflection on dating in your 30s, at a time when people have gone through previous relationships. It conveys the idea that this time things will work out differently, “This time its going to be okay.”
  6. Maybe I’m Amazed” — A cover of Paul McCartney’s classic song, which Luke said was one of his favorites to sing and which he also performed on The Voice.
  7. ‘Til the Fighting is Through” — from his most recent album The River.
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Rusted Root Performs at The Observatory North Park

Rusted Root is one of those bands that managed to fly below my musical radar for nearly all of the 26+ years they’ve been in existence. When they took the stage, I was most impressed by the skills of the musicians and how tightly the sounds of the instruments and vocals were woven together. Their incorporation of various percussion instruments and rhythms into their songs made their tunes infectious, even on hearing them for the first time. A few of their songs seemed fairly lengthy and being new to their music, I wasn’t sure if they were going for the long jam or if they had segued into the next tune and I’d missed the transition. I struggled to understand the lyrics from lead singer Michael Glabicki and I am not sure if it was clarity of singing or the poor sound mix at the front. Regardless, if you were there to get pumped up by some groovy music or bust out some dance moves, then Rusted Root delivered the goods.

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Rusted Root Lead Singer Michael Glabicki

Drummer Cory Caruso kicked off their set in high gear as the rest of the band (also including Liz Berlin, Patrick Norman, and Dirk Miller) made their way on to the stage. Songs played included:

  1. Drum Trip” an abbreviated version
  2. Martyr” from Cruel Sun
  3. Cover Me Up” from The Movement
  4. Suspicious Minds” cover of the Mark James song made famous by Elvis
  5. Save Me” new song
  6. Blue Diamonds” from Welcome to My Party
  7. Laugh as the Sun” from When I Woke
  8. Rebel Rebel” David Bowie cover
  9. Drum Trip” full version from When I Woke
  10. Ecstasy” from When I Woke
  11. Rain” from When I Woke
  12. Voodoo” from Remember
  13. Send Me On My Way” – their best known song that everyone in the audience seemed to know the words to except me, from Cruel Sun and When I Woke
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Lead Singer of Toad the Wet Sprocket, Glen Phillips

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Todd Nichols of Toad the Wet Sprocket

There was much anticipation as to what Toad the Wet Sprocket would cover in their set as they celebrate the 25th anniversary of their breakthrough album fear. The band continues to be comprised of its original line-up of Glen Phillips on lead vocals and guitar, Todd Nichols on lead guitar and vocals, Dean Dinning on bass, tambourine, and vocals, and Randy Guss on percussion, and supported by regular utility player and good friend of the band, Jonathan Kingham, on multiple instruments. Their last full album, New Constellation, is already three years behind them and last summer saw the release of their EP Architect of the Ruin. They ended up playing a few more songs from fear than usual and a mix of tunes running through the back catalog (though nothing from their first album), as well as one off of Glen Phillips’s brand new solo album Swallowed By the New (now available for pre-order), and a cover from a forthcoming Roger Miller tribute album by multiple artists. It is near impossible for me to write about Toad’s set in an objective manner, having met and talked with the band members a few times after shows, so I’ll just get on with sharing the set list. The set was comprised of:

  1. Fly From Heaven” from Dulcinea
  2. Good Intentions” from In Light Syrup
  3. The Moment” from New Constellation (borrowed a line for the post title)
  4. Something’s Always Wrong” from Dulcinea
  5. Butterflies” from fear
  6. Architect of the Ruin” from Architect of the Ruin
  7. I Will Not Take These Things for Granted” from fear
  8. Nothing Can Stop My Love” Roger Miller cover
  9. Amnesty” from Swallowed By the New, link from the title is to the official video, there is also a video of Toad playing this song from this concert
  10. Crazy Life” from In Light Syrup

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    Happy Birthday Jonathan Kingham!

  11. Before You Were Born” from fear
  12. Come Back Down” from Pale
  13. Nightingale Song” from fear
  14. “Happy Birthday” in honor of Jonathan Kingham’s birthday
  15. All I Want” from fear
  16. Fall Down” from Dulcinea
  17. New Constellation” from New Constellation (first song of the encore)
  18. Windmills” from Dulcinea, my favorite Toad song, any way it is arranged
  19. Walk on the Ocean” from fear

 

 

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