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CD Review: Toad The Wet Sprocket’s ‘Welcome Home Live’

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[ music | Toad the Wet Sprocket ]

Toad the Wet Sprocket was not known as a must-see live band. The earnestness and gentleness in their music did not inspire a generation of radio listeners to flock to small amphitheaters and clubs when this Santa Barbara, CA quartet hit the stage. A live album would not seem obvious or necessary from Toad. It is curious for such a release to come several years after the band’s initial breakup and subsequent ill-fated (although thoroughly enjoyable) reunion tour.

But this is the show they released and while it might not have everything a Toad the Wet Sprocket fan could hope for there is plenty to enjoy on this album. The show opens with hit single “Walk on the Ocean.” The performance on this night has a ragged quality (particularly to Glen Phillip’s vocal) absent on the cleaner, smoother studio version of the song.

Other highlights from this show are “Stories I Tell” and “One Little Girl.” Toad in the studio tends to downplay the guitar. On these two tracks, Todd Nichols is given a little more room and the variation is welcome. The only disappointing track on the disc is “Fall Down.” “Welcome Home” features a similar yet different version of the song that would later be released on “Dulcinea.” Phillips’ vocals sound less confident than they do on other songs throughout the performance. “Fall Down” sounds like the new song being road tested that it was.

They wrote some great songs but this live album is a snapshot of a band still learning to deliver those songs in a concert setting. It also captures them at a period in their history before some of their best songs were written.

GRADE = C+

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About Josh Hathaway

  • http://www.iamcorrect.blogspot.com Lono

    Toad the Wet Sprocket are absolutely one of my favorite bands. I find them really terrific live, and have seen them several times over the years… dating back to the Fear tour.

    However, you are right. Their live shows come across pretty poorly on just audio. I have buches of bootlegs and you can tell the mix is never good in the hall.

    The good thing is, they are totally open to bootleggers and trading. You can find high quality soundboard downloads of many of their shows online.

  • http://www.livejournal.com/users/djradiohead DJRadiohead

    I got to see Toad on their reunion tour and there was a lot more energy than you hear on this disc. Plus… the set list was better because they could pull from their entire history.

    I have heard some bootlegs that were at least as good as this if not better. I agree.

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Toad in the Hole !!!!!!!!

    DJR,

    I’m sticking my two Drachma here to let you know I posted your review of this to the Advance.net Web sites.

    The review can be found at a few different places on the Advance network around the country, but here’s one of them.

    Thank you
    Temple Stark

  • Singer

    This album has a lot of stuff at different ends of the spectrum. “Walk on the Ocean” by far one of the most easygoing, light-hearted songs I’ve ever listened to, tempered by “Stories I Tell” which has a slow, creeping feel to it that I think defines the album’s title. Listen to this song and it will do just that- put you in a state of fear.