A long time back I began a series of posts about the different live concerts I’ve seen since the eighties. A student of mine who happens to be a Glen Phillips fan dug up an old post about a Toad the Wet Sprocket concert in the early nineties. It got me thinking that I never did finish my concert reminisces. So, here I am, picking up approximately where I left off.
Mojave 3, North Star Bar, Philadelphia, 2001
I first heard Mojave 3 in a coffeshop on Pine Street — the Last Drop Coffeehouse I think. I was there with John, and Mojave 3 was playing softly on the shop’s stereo. This was back when Napster was a revelation operating under the radar, and I went back to my apartment and downloaded whatever Mojave 3 songs I could find. I fell in love with “A Prayer for the Paranoid.”
A few months later Mojave 3 was live in Philly, at the North Star Bar. I went with Matt and Stephanie, about the oddest trio you’d ever seen. But then, put Stephanie with any two people and you’d end up with an odd trio.
I remember Matt saying that no band deserves to sing such gorgeous songs and look so gorgeous on top of that. And they were gorgeous. I smuggled a pint glass out of the bar. Seven years later it’s the only memento I have from that evening, the only memento from that entire spring.
The early nineties are hazy, for no particular reason, other than that they were so long ago. Still, I’m determined to continue write about every concert I ever attended. The eighties were easy because attending concerts was a new thing for me, and I saw “big” acts like The Who and The Kinks, all near my hometown of Akron, Ohio. The nineties were more diffuse and I saw a mix of big and small acts, all over the Midwest and East Coast. You can track my migration east simply by looking at the venues I found myself in. But I’m still not done with my undergraduate years. One last show:
- Toad the Wet Sprocket (1991 or 92, Shriver Center, Miami University)Toad was the rage, and this was even before “All I Want” was all over the radio. Oxford, Ohio was home to the now defunct alternative radio station 97X (as heard unforgettably in The Rain Main), and this station had been playing tracks from Bread and Circuses and Pale for several years already.
The concert was fabulous. I remember the crowd left their seats as soon as the show began, and rushed the stage. We were crushed, just about, only a few feet from Glen Phillips and company. I was surprised to see that it wasn’t Glen who sang “Nothing Is Alone,” my favorite song from Pale, but guitarist Todd Nichols.
I was there with Wendy. I can’t remember if I introduced her to Toad or if it happened the other way around. Or maybe it was neither, since Toad was in the air, literally, all the time, on the radio and frat house porches and green grass quads. Wendy and I, we traded music a lot. Fifteen years later, I still owe Wendy a few good mix tapes. But these days, who knows where she is and what she listens to?