Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Toad The Wet Sprocket

Tonight my past caught up with me, and I sat through what was simultaneously the most beautiful and intensely painful concert I've seen since that Marillion show back in '85.

I'd never seen Toad live before. When they were touring back in the day, Samantha and I were raising kids and working hard. It's really a shame we never saw them, seeing as how they were one of our shared favorite bands of the era. Within six months of showing up in Seattle, Pearl Jam Ten and Toad the Wet Sprocket Fear were on a cassette in our car that tended to stay in the deck and play over and over and over. To this day, I consider Fear their magnum opus, and one of my all time desert island discs. "Walk on the Ocean", "Nightingale Song", "Hold Her Down", "Pray Your Gods", "All I Want" and "I Will Not Take These Things For Granted", all from a single record. Rarely is the alternative music scene treated to such a feast of songwriting and technical prowess.

The concert was held at the Moore theatre in Seattle. We found parking for five bucks. The opener, Matt Nathanson, was one of those really good coffee-house-singer-songwriters-who-play-a-twelve-string-with-a-capo-on-the-third-fret-and-sing-about-relationships-and-sex trying to go from coffee house to a band tour. He was good - very good. He was really funny between songs, and his lyrical content reflected that sense of humor.

With six albums to choose from and almost two decades together, I was surprised that most of the set list consisted of stuff from Dulcinea and Coil. But when they hit any of the Fear material, starting with "All I Want", I found myself weeping. Most of the show was one rockin' single after another, and yet the memories the songs stirred were so powerful I could not help myself. "Nightingale Song" found me singing through a veil of tears and when the first encore consisted of "Walk on the Ocean" and "Fall Down", I thought I could maybe pull myself together.

Then they got called back by a passionate Seattle crowd for a second encore, which consisted of only one song, "I Will Not Take These Things For Granted" the final track on Fear and a real tear-jerker for me (for a host of reasons). I managed to dry my face by the time the lights came up.

Although I'd fronted for 8 seats in the mezzanine, somewhere along the line I found myself 2 tickets short. That and one friend who had actually bought one of the tickets ended up not showing. So we had my brother & his wife, my actress friend, and my LMP friend. I guess we ended up with those two extra seats for Sam and my dad. I know they would have enjoyed it. Several times I could almost feel Sam sitting right behind or "around" me, singing along to the music.

Aside from the drunken idiot who thought it would be cool to wear his Microsoft uniform (yellow polo shirt tucked into his beige shorts with his cell holster and a pair of LL Bean sandals, shades hanging from the undone neck of his shirt), sneak his cocktail into the theatre and stand up to do air guitar solos, attempt to incite some bizarre form of cheering by waving the Nixon victory fingers and/or generally make an ass of himself, the evening went without major incident. I dropped my car load of people off in West Seattle and came home to process the emotional flood.
Crazy what some music can do.

I thought I'd posted the lyrics from "I Will Not Take These Things For Granted" previously, but it looks like not... so here.

One part of me just wants to tell you everything
One part just needs the quiet
And if I'm lonely here, I'm lonely here
And on the telephone
You offer reassurance
I will not take these things for granted

How can I hold the part of me that only you can carry
It needs a strength I haven't found
But if it's frightening, I'll bear the cold
And on the telephone
You offer warm asylum

I'm listening
Flowers in the garden
Laughter in the hall
Children in the park
I will not take these things for granted

To crawl inside the wire and feel something near me
To feel this accepting
That it is lonely here, but not alone
And on the telephone
You offer visions dancing

I'm listening
Music in the bedroom
Laughter in the hall
Dive into the ocean
Singing by the fire
Running through the forest
And standing in the wind
In rolling canyons
I will not take these things for granted


Anonymous said...

"Crazy what some music can do."

How true that is - happened upon your blog spot through one of the young widow sites. Lost my husband in May 2005 - sudden, unexpected heart attack - am learning to carry on with my two boys (19 and 16 now) not an easy thing as you know.

Have found myself over the past 15 months totally connecting to certain music - it is a needed release sometimes I think. Have you listened to Something to be by Rob Thomas? It has picked me up and pulled me down at different times.

I remember Marillion - Kayleigh was the name we were going to use if we'd had a girl - never got the chance to use it as we had two boys!

Anyway - hang it!
: )

tbone said...

Hi Molly,
Welcome to the Drowning. I have heard much Rob Thomas (and Matchbox Twenty) over the years, as Sam was really into him. I never shared her enthusiasm, which turns out to be fortunate. It gives me plenty of music I can use as an excuse to turn the radio off and not feel ripped off.

As it is, Toad, Marillion, Peter Gabriel, David Sylvian, Sarah McLachlan, The Police (and Sting) are all very painful for me, and that sucks.

We chose Kayleigh for my daughter's name primarily from the Old English meaning "rejoice", and had only seen it spelled that way from the Marillion song. Now we see it all over the place, spelled a myriad ways.

Thanks for checking in, from one crazy widda to another. :)

Be well,

Anonymous said...

Hi Todd!
I hear ya on some of that painful music - it does suck! My older son actually made a cd of music for Mark that we played at the wake - he touched on a lot of stuff with what he chose with everything from Queen to Mott the Hoople, Boomtown Rats, Modest Mouse, old Pink Floyd, Meatloaf, etc. etc. etc. I listen to it now and then - some of it is hard to hear because I have a memory associated with it while some of it is okay for me but Mark and Matt must have connected with it.

Thanks for being a voice at the other end!
: )

Anonymous said...

I'm a friend of Gavin's (which is funny because we've only met once. Some people just leave that sort of impression) Hi. I'm Renae.
Anyway, Fear is one of my desert island discs (along with In Light Syrup, actually), and I was just telling my husband how for some reason, right now I can't listen to any of their music without crying. They're in my top ten bands of all time for sure.
But, sadness aside, I am still SO jealous of those who got to see them this time around. I saw them once as part of a benefit show with like 10 other bands, so that's my only live Toad experience...and it was phenomenal.
Some music just gets you right in the heart. Anyway, Hope you are well. Take care.

Anandi said...

Sorry to hear about your loss. (Yes, I know it doesn't mean much coming from a stranger.) But glad you got a chance to see Toad live. Last night's show was the 7th time I've seen them, and they never fail to amaze me.