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Bryan Rodgers
Bryan Rodgers
A veteran of over 1000 concerts and festivals, Bryan Rodgers has been writing about music since 1992 and recently began writing about beer and food. He graduated from East Carolina University in 1999. Editor and content manager at Best Thinking, he also works in social media and music merchandise.


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Concert Review: Last Summer On Earth Tour, Raleigh Amphitheater, July 12, 2012

Aug. 2, 2012 3:04 pm
Categories: Music

If you attended college in the 90’s, there’s a good chance that the bands comprising the Last Summer On Earth Tour could be heard emanating from a dorm room or apartment near you, if not from your own. There’s an album’s worth of hits to be culled from the catalogs of Cracker, Big Head Todd And The Monsters, Blues Traveler, and Barenaked Ladies, and nearly every tune was trotted out at the Raleigh tour stop. With three H.O.R.D.E. Tour alumni present, that heady time was reminisced over by more than a few attendees. But though the crowd was of a certain age and the music was nostalgic, half of the bands actually performed recent material.

A large crowd slowly filled the Raleigh Amphitheater, peaking in size near the end of Blues Traveler’s set and giving only half-hearted love to the first two bands. Cracker’s set was so short, one could forgive the crowd for blinking and missing it, though the band sounded just fine. All of the involved bands had, for the most part, stuck to a stern rotation of songs during the tour, and Cracker doled out an expected trio of gems to end the set: “Get Off This,” which inspired the first signs of life from the arriving throng, “Teen Angst,” and the ubiquitous “Low.”

Big Head Todd and The Monsters’ set blew by just as quickly but proved more engaging. Offering their AOR crowd pleasers “Broken Hearted Savior” and “Bittersweet” along with the comparatively new “Rocksteady,” the band also took time to send up LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It” (jokingly dubbing it “the first blues song ever”) and tear into a boisterous, solo-laden cover of John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom.”

By the time Blues Traveler hit the stage near sundown, the venue was full and ready for action. The set had its moments, good and bad, as the band spiced their normal checklist of hits with new tunes. Favored closer “Hook” was preceded by the bright, bouncy “You Don’t Have To Love Me,” making for an energetic climax, but the band played it close to the vest as far as improvisation. The odd John Popper solo surfaced here and there, and the Kinchla brothers (Chan, guitar, and Tad, bass) cut in where they could. But time proved a factor as the band made sure to get around to standard versions of “Run-Around,” “But Anyway,” and “Carolina Blues,” all of which intermittently challenged Popper’s vocal abilities.

Headliners Barenaked Ladies stepped into rarified air as far as song selection, breaking out the seldom-played “Moonstone” and dedicating an interpretation of Oasis’ “Wonderwall” to the Raleigh Convention Center Shimmer Wall. Opening with an all-too-appropriate version of “It’s All Been Done” and following with fan fave “Old Apartment,” they loaded their performance at each end, using their most beloved tunes as bookends for deeper cuts like “Maybe Katie” and “Blame It On Me.”

Naturally, the show’s stretch run showed off the band’s admittedly impressive cache of sing-alongs. As far as maintaining relevance, “Big Bang Theory Theme” might be the most crucial 105 seconds that they’ve recorded since “One Week,” and the two songs were juxtaposed neatly. The quick “Theme” served as lubrication for the song everyone came to hear and fail at singing. The delirious aural effect of a few thousand people botching the lyrics to “One Week” was a splendid way to start bringing the show to a close. A quick “If I Had $1,000,000” raised the level of jubilation, making way for a playful medley of overexposed songs like “Somebody That I Used to Know,” “Forever Young,” and yet another unfortunate nod to “Sexy And I Know It.” (Two in one show is too many.) The show closed with a poignant “Brian Wilson” encore – the song’s namesake had graced the same stage less than 90 days earlier – and the threatening rain never actually happened. The crowd got to walk home dry. Just another night in 90’s radio heaven.


Used only with express written permission

Todd Park Mohr of Big Head Todd And The Monsters


Used only with express written permission

John Popper of Blues Traveler

Originally published at Glide Magazine, July 2012

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