These are the facts:
- A few music thoughts tonight. I'll start with a sort of somber one. Of all the versions of "Little Boxes" played on "Weeds", the most famous actual recording of the song is the one by Pete Seeger that plays as Agrestic burns at the end of the third season. Pete Seeger will always have a special place in my heart. When I was 12, my father passed away while we were away at an annual folk festival that Seeger runs in upstate New York. My mom sent a letter to Pete Seeger telling him about how much my father had liked him. Seeger wrote back personally, a long letter. He's one of the great classic American singers and obviously a good person as well.
- My wife won tickets through a radio station's website to tonight's Hootie and the Blowfish concert at Wolf Trap. It had been, to my best recollection, almost three years since I had been to a real concert (the last one was Ben Folds playing with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra).
- The opening act was the Drew Davis Band, a country rock band from LA. I was a little hesitant about a country band, but they were actually pretty good. This country rock sound, popular now from bands like Big & Rich or Rascal Flatts, is based on the sound of classic rock, Southern or otherwise. In fact, this set included covers of a Skynyrd song and an Eagles song. After their set, they signed autographs (under a small overhang in the pouring rain, no less) and we went by after buying their CD. I was a bit taken aback when they all stuck out their hands, unprovoked, to introduce themselves and shake hands. Nice guys.
- Then came the Hootie set, and they were freaking fantastic. I'm a big fan but it was my first time seeing them live. You forget how many huge hits they've had and they played everything you'd want, including my two favorite of their songs (both from 1998's Musical Chairs), "Desert Mountain Showdown" and "Wishing". They played for a long time, ending the main set with "Hold My Hand" (the set also included a cover of "Losing My Religion" that brought down the house), ending the first encore with a great cover of "Champagne Supernova", and then closing the show with "Only Wanna Be With You". Strong, strong performance. As my friend said, they'll be one of those bands that can tour forever. Their music is poppy enough to be relatively timeless and they had enough hits that people in a certain age group will always want to hear them.
- One funny note on the show. Fans of Tony Kornheiser's radio show know that he's very good friends with the guys from Hootie and the Blowfish (they recorded a version of his mailbag song). Fans will also know that Mr. Tony hates Led Zeppelin. Right before Hootie played their famous version of Zeppelin's "Hey, Hey, What Can I Do?", frontman Darius Rucker said something along the lines of: "My favorite person in the sports world is here tonight, Tony Kornheiser. This song is for you." For the probably very few at the park that were in on the joke, it warranted a laugh.
- I have to go to more concerts. It was too much fun.