Live From Toronto, it's Hootie & the Blowfish
Jonathan Sammy, Webmaster Johnson
August 6, 1999
Okay, first off, I gotta state the obvious - last night's concert in Toronto kicked major ass! I had originally intended to post the customary review that appears in the paper the day after a show. However, upon the realization that the article wasn't written, I decided to submit my own. So here goes...
The story doesn't flow if I tell it in chronological order, so I'll just give you all a list of events.
Re: Getting into the show
Jdog is THE man, let me tell you. The show was a 19+ show, and as luck would have it, I was just slightly under 19. Not a good sign. But to increase my chances of getting in, I spoke to Jeff, who was conveniently standing near the venue's entrance. He told me that he would try his best, but he couldn't make any promises. That didn't sound like such a good sign. However, a few hours later, I hear someone calling my name, "Hey Jonathan, come over here for a sec." It was the pleasant voice of one Jeff Poland. He told me that he hooked me up... I was stoked! He actually did try, and suceed! But then again, who's got the sac to stand up to Jdog? But, for legal purposes, I couldn't go to the bar - and to make sure I didn't, my hands were tagged with big "X"s. Stupid looking, yes. Did I care at that point? Absolutely not. So the doors open and all of the TFJs enter in first ('cause we were there first). When my friend Nelson showed them his ID, they thought it was fake! What the hell? They wouldn't let him in. Normally, we would've looked for someone from the crew (top candidate, my man Jeff), but they were still at the hotel (they went there after soundcheck). Being the friend that he is, he insisted that we go to the show and have a good time. He left about 10 minutes after he was denied entrance. About another 10 minutes after his departure, the band arrived at the venue. One TFJ (Kim, Canuk Johnson) told soundman, Billy Huelen "The Squirrel" about what happened and he was pissed. Yet another reconfirmation that the guys actually do care.
Re: Meeting the guys
When people post about how easy it is to meet the band and how approachable they really are, you think it's full of crap. It wasn't until yesterday afternoon that I totally realized they were right! On the way to the venue, we saw four limos parked in a nearby parking lot. We figured it had to be them, but out of courtesy, we decided not to ambush the limos. But while we were awaiting their arrival, this Ford Winstar pulls up. We figured that it was just more fans arriving at the venue. Low and behold... we saw Dean. He came out with a bunch of other guys. We thought, "Hey look, it's Deano and some of his friends." Well, turns out his friends are Mark and Soni. We were floored. At that moment, the thought of even asking for an autograph or even for aKodak moment escaped our minds. These guys were damn right classy men. When I saw Darius, I couldn't approach him. He almost intimidated me... after all, it's Darius! But I introduced myself to the others and told them the usual fanfare - I'm a big fan, I look forward to tonight, etc. As fabricated as the comments sounded at the time, they still responded with enthusiasm. After sticking around for a little bit, they went inside to do soundcheck. It was at that moment that I realized I blew my opportunity to get documented proof that I actually met them. But I overheard Soni promising us that they'd be back out. My second chance! They all returned at different times, I garnered enough confidence to ask them for the usual favors - autograph & photo op. It wasn't until then that I realized how approachable they were. So amazing. When we met Darius, my friend Nick asked Darius if they would play "Sunday Bloody Sunday" tonight, Darius was like, "No, we don't play that anymore." But we all, incl. D, got a laugh out of that one. We all eventually got all four autographs and were even more psyched for the show (if that was even at all possible).
Re: Opening Act, Train
Right before their act, Jeff went up to me and said, "You better give me props for what I did for you."
THANK YOU JEFF... YOU TRULY ARE AN AMAZING PERSON! COOL?
Onto Train. These guys are alright. But I must admit, their guitarist definitely feels the music. It was like he was having effortless orgasms during the solos. If you love their stuff, then you'd definitely be into the show. The lead singer sort of reminded me of Robbie Williams because of his on-stage presence - the facial expressions, the sporadic dancing, etc. The second into their set "Free" was awesome. I know the title because we were standing so close to the stage, I could see their setlist. For the last song, they did an awesome jam. They played about 9 songs. Their drummer was cool... very cool solo near end of set. But it's hard to judge whether I really like this band or not, because live show create an atmosphere that heightens my interest for any band. For what it's worth, I'd make it early to the show to give these guys a shot.
Re: Hootie's set
A huge Quebec fan beside us, Alex, was taking down the setlist. He was supposed to give me a copy of it, but we forgot to do it. They opened with Wishing... which is a really rocking opener. I don't know about the rest of the crowd, but it got me moving. As the show progressed it got better. The guys loosened up a bit more (thanks to Budweiser) and D's onstage antics were hilarious. for some reason, he reminded me of one of my late uncles. I think it was because of all of the faces he was making. Very funny. For "Interstate Love Song", Darius went into the crowd and sang on top of a huge amplifier. We knew that the band knew where all the TFJs were because for most of the solos and the quote-unquote cool lines, they did them right in front of us. One of my friends saw Mark's underwear... that was something I was glad I did not see. The girl that Darius invited on stage to dance with him during Get Down On It did a fairly good job, but she wasn't letting D do the full grind. Nervousness, I guess. There was a point in the show where some drunken fuck was bothering people, forcing himself into places that he couldn't get into. During one song (or maybe it was during a break) Darius and Mark told the dude to chill out or else he'd have to leave. Darius was like, "Why the hell do you wanna push at a Hootie concert?" One point, during the set, the crowd quieted down enough for me to yell a request... "SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY!" immediately followed by a "WHOOOOOOO!" Darius heard it and mocked me. On the mike, he was like, "Sunday Bloody Sunday... wooo..." That moment was so hilarious. Regardless, Darius started the lick and even went into the "oh-oh-oh's" and the first verse. I was stoked. He then looked right at me and Nick (my friend, who asked if they were gonna play it eariler) and said, "You thought I was gonna play it." During "Hold My Hand", Darius did "Tyrone" and "Doo Wop (That Thing)". During Tyrone, Darius was impersonating Badu. It was so funny. He then said something to the effect of, "That Badu acts like such a bitch." That one warranted my hooting and hollering! When they came back to do their encore, they did another U2 song. Damn, the song title doesn't come to mind. I know that it was off "Joshua Tree". Nick and I still can't help but wonder if we influenced them into playing that one. For this one, it was just Darius on acoustic guitar and Mark on mandolin. Those were the events that I found to be highlights of the night. I'll probably be able to come up with some other afterwards. And, oh yes, they did indeed play "Only Wanna Be With You".
Re: Be The One
Oh my God, Darius actually told us what the song "Be The One" was about. Before Mark broke into the riff, Darius gave a little monologue about how he wrote this song for Dean about Dean's break-up with one of his ex-girlfriends. Regardless, the song ruled.
Re: The live covers
Okay, they played a fair number of covers. But several of them were incorporated into the songs. But for one or two of them that were done on their own, there was good reasoning. Darius had to adjust his knee brace, so Mark took over lead vocals. As interesting as it would have sounded, it would not have been right for him to sing Hootie songs. I personally found that the covers made the evening even more enjoyable for those who were there on the selling power of "Cracked Rear View" and/or ticket winners. In my opinion, the covers seem to fit so perfectly into the set. I loved them!
Re: The After Show Party
This never happened for the TFJ crew because the venue's guards were really getting on our backs. This one guy was really pushing it. Even his own boss came up to him and said, "You don't have to force them outta here." After in denial of the fact that we're not allowed to attend the after show party, we decided to leave. When we got to the parking lot, we still waited outside. We saw the drummer for Train - his name was Scott. He was cool, talking about the show and how he was the only one who stuck around. We then saw Jeff again and told him how we totally dug the show. I thanked him a million times. We said goodbye to him a dozen times because we never really left. One TFJ, Kim (Canuk Johnson) asked Jeff if he could get Soni to come out so she could give him a gift (beenie baby, right?). Jeff's like, "I'll see what I can do." He then left. I was just thinking to myself, "Why would Soni come out?" Boy was I wrong. About 10 minutes later, out comes Soni and he talk to us a little bit. I asked why Darius REALLY teased us with "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and we got the lowdown... none of them can reach the high note. Soni was really great. As with Jeff, we must have shaken Soni's hand a dozen times. Truly awesome.
As I am writing this first thing in the morning, very minute details may have been incorrectly stated. For this, I apologize.
To Hootie & the Blowfish and their crew - especially Jeff - thanks for making this Canadian's dream come true! I can't belive that my friend Nelson missed this one.
If you all got this far, I must say, "Thanks for caring!" :)