John Popper is Still Awesome (and More from the Last Summer on Earth Tour's Philly Stop)
On Wednesday, the ‘Last Summer on Earth 2012‘ tour made a stop in the city of brotherly love, performing at Philadelphia’s River Stage at Great Plaza (i.e., Penn’s Landing). Although it looked like the night would be plagued by storms and rain, the clouds parted, the air cooled down, and everyone got to see some truly excellent performances.
Starting off the evening was Cracker, which I admittedly didn’t get to see, as I was walking my DLSR back to my car. I don’t know why I thought they’d let me bring it in; my mistake. Up next was Big Head Todd & The Monsters. They did a killer blues rendition of “I’m Sexy and I Know It” that got the crowd going. I can honestly say that the blues version is far superior to the original (it’s all over youtube, go see for yourself).
Of course, the two biggest draws for the evening were Blues Traveler and Barenaked Ladies. Blues Traveler was up first, and proved that after 25 years together, the band is still rocking the hell out like a bunch of 20-somethings. John Popper can still wail away on a harmonica like no one else I’ve ever seen. I remember buying their album, four, when it came out in the mid 90s, and I am just so impressed at how great the band still sounds live. The audience was singing along and cheering for Popper every time he killed another awesome harmonica solo. Damn talented bunch.
The final performers were, of course, Barenaked Ladies. I had seen them in Florida back when they were touring for their album Stunt. I remember being totally amused by the fans (admittedly I was just a casual one), and their interaction with the band. I also remember being perplexed by a sign barring Kraft Macaroni. Needless to say, not much has changed since 1998. Instead of throwing macaroni on stage, fans came prepared with softer items, like stuffed animals and women’s lingerie. BNL’s Kevin HearnÂ even modeled a few of the garments ‘donated’ by the fans. I love it when a band can play a nice full set like BNL did, because it gives them time to tell stories, play some of their lesser known songs (or new material), and even perform some fun covers. The band got to do all of the well loved classics, but still give the audience something extra (like a medley including “Call Me Maybe”). With a band as comedic, energetic, and fun as BNL, you hope for more than just a few classics shoved into a tight set, because part of what’s so great about seeing them live is everything that can happen in between.
The Last Summer on Earth Tour has just a few more dates left, so get out and see all these great bands together while you still can!
August 17 in Bethlehem, PA at the Sands Event Ctr
August 18 in Boston, MAÂ at the Bank of America Pavilion
August 19 in Bangor, ME at the Bangor Waterfront