Monday, April 8, 2013

Glen Phillips (of Toad the Wet Sprocket) in Roanoke

Glen Phillips is one of my favorite musicians. He has one of my most favorite singing voices in the world. I remember listening to Toad the Wet Sprocket on the radio when I was a kid playing with my brother outside. I was 9 when their album Fear came out. Then Dulcinea was a staple of my teeny bopper years. I learned how to play the bass line to "Fall Down." I also have a soft spot for the album of their rarities, In Light Syrup. "All She Said" on that album is one of the most gorgeous songs that displays his voice. That one hits me right in the heart.

I remember hearing the announcement on the radio that the band was breaking up when I was in high school and I was upset! But then luckily I got the pleasure to finally see them in concert at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach on their reunion tour during my early 20s. They played a 3 hour set nonstop, it was awesome.

I followed Glen's solo projects as well. Live at Largo was my favorite CD that he did, and the DVD for Abulum was my lullaby during a period of time when I had trouble falling asleep. His voice and acoustic guitar were so soothing to me. His lyrics are raw, heartfelt, twisted, clever and poetic, making him one of my favorite songwriters.

Glen Phillips is one of the few musicians I kept up with who were connecting to their fans online before all the social media sites came about. I remember him sending out emails to his mailing list that he had personally written. And I ordered his solo stuff directly from his website through an independent label. He was one of the first ones I remember doing that.

I've wanted to catch one of his solo shows live for years, and he's passed through this area a few times, but I never made it. So this time I finally got to see him play at Kirk Avenue Music Hall in Roanoke, Virginia. My friend conveniently lives there, so it worked out to go to the show and have a weekend visit.

We got seats front and center, it's a little hole in the wall kind of place, but considering he did a bookstore tour before, I knew it would be small and intimate. It was just Glen, his guitar, and a microphone. He is a very entertaining guy, even besides his music, his witty banter in between songs made the atmosphere that much better. He's got a different way of looking at things and a warped sense of humor, as all of the best artists should.

He played an even mix of solo material and Toad songs, going by his own setlist and then taking some requests as well. There were two solo songs I don't think I've heard before, that I now love, "Blue Sky" and "Blood Pressurize." You can listen to and download a lot of his solo stuff at

I got videos of about 75% of his set. I wish I'd recorded them all, I regret missing a few of them. But I got the most popular ones and my favorites of his solo songs that he played. "Darkest Hour," "Sleep of the Blessed," and "Back On My Feet" are some I would have loved to hear too. But as he responded to a moment when several requests were shouted out from the audience, he said, "There are so many songs to play..." Which was so true haha, he couldn't play them ALL.

As with a few other favorite musicians of mine that I feel a special connection to, it's always a rush the first time you make direct eye contact during a performance. I was sitting right in front, so it was pretty inevitable haha, but I still felt that intensity when he looked right at me during the first song of the evening. According to my friend, I was smiling the whole time haha, and the best way I can describe how I felt, is what I posted in a comment to him later on facebook, "You made my heart happy."

I was also happy that he came out to mingle afterwards. I bought his most recent solo CD there for him to sign. And it's kind of funny that he wrote "be happy" on it. He's very mild mannered and kind of shy and sweet. I'm glad I got to finally meet him and get a picture with him. It was a heart warming experience.

And here are my videos of the show:


"Dam Would Break"

"Small Dark Movies"


"Solar Flare"

"Walk on the Ocean"

A NEW Toad the Wet Sprocket song from their upcoming album!

"Fall Down"

"Rise Up"

"Whatever I Fear"

"Duck and Cover"

"Something's Always Wrong"


"All I Want"