So, it was America’s birthday recently (Love you Murrica!) and there were all kinds of celebrations going on. Fireworks? Check. Dance parties? Check. American flag muscle tees? Check check check. While America gets better with every year, there are some times in the past that stand out as epic.
The times of the American Revolution, the roaring 20′s, Civil Rights… and snap bracelets. Yes, the early 90s. A time when cut-off jorts, turtlenecks, and crystal tattos were worn proudly and without irony. A time of big hair, bigger attitude, and great music. The soundtrack to this epic time was dominated by two great names who my sister (Celeste, another prestigious Panic Manual correspondent) and I were lucky enough to see on a beautiful summer day in the lovely Wolf Trap Park: Toad the Wet Sprocket and Counting Crows.
The experience was absolutely delightful for many reasons (not least of all because, for once, I was not the oldest person in the venue). Toad the Wet Sprocket was the first reason – the group obviously had many hard core and loyal fans in the audience who gave the band HUGE love for classics such as All I Want and Walk on the Ocean. The band’s latest work also got a ton of applause. Fun fact: Toad the Wet Sprocket funded its latest album, New Constellation, on Kickstarter. The band hoped to raise $50K in two months. Fans contributed that amount in two hours. NBD.
After Toad the Wet Sprocket got the older, super sated (Wolf Trap allows any manner of food and drink to be brought in and people were snacking like champs) crowd primed, Counting Crows took the stage. They gave the crowd everything we wanted: old tunes, no political banter, and a great encore. To be fair, it’s pretty easy to please a super homogeneous, older crowd on a beautiful summer day – but still, Adam Duritz and his crew hit the mark. Even without Mr. Jones in the set, the band gave the fans tons of favorites, including Holiday in Spain, Rain King, and several new tunes from their album Somewhere Under Wonderland.
If a return to the 1990s means more of the likes of these bands, I’m all for it. If 8 and 10 year old Celeste and I used to rock the turtleneck-and-saddle-pants look back in 1995, I’m sure we can do it today too.