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Hootie & The Blowfish Group Therapy Tour Comes to Tampa w/special guest Barenaked Ladies

 

Tampa, Florida (June 9, 2019)

On a steamy Sunday evening with threatening storms in the distance, the capacity crowd was pouring into the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheater to catch a concert that has been almost ten years in the making. Yes, it has been that long since Hootie & The Blowfish have gone on tour. Of course, this why it brought out everyone in droves, from the casual fan to the diehard ones that have caught every show. Supporting them on this tour is another blast from the 90’s, the Barenaked Ladies.
At seventy thirty on the nose the stage lights lit up and recent inductees to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Barenaked Ladies came out to a large welcoming crowd. After thirty years in the music business, these guys know how to entertain a crowd while have a good time themselves. Throughout their hour long set they were all smiles and joking with the crowd. At one point they even said they’ve been doing this so long that you used a pencil to rewind a cassette tape. The fun continued when they talked about famed Canadian songstress Sarah McLachlan, leading the crowd to believe she was there then letting everyone know she wasn’t there but thanking her for the support. Of course, this quartet with eight Juno Awards to their names also delivered with the music as well. With beautiful harmonies, a variety of instruments from the stand-up bass to an accordion they showed everyone that they are truly masterful musicians as well. Playing a setlist that was chock full of fan favorites like “It’s All been Done”, “Pinch Me”, “Brian Wilson”, and of course their mega-hit “One Week”. A fun unexpected bonus that played well to the fun and goofiness that Barenaked Ladies embrace was a clever medley of “Shallow/ Old Town Road/ Sicko Mode/ High Hopes”. As with everything they do, there is always a wry touch, and they nailed it with closing out their fun filled time on stage with a cover of the Queen song “Another One Bites The Dust”.

06/09/19 - Barenaked Ladies
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Since 1986 five presidents have come and gone, but Hootie & The Blowfish have remained. While they may have been on an extended hiatus to the tune of nearly ten years, they never said that they had parted ways to the relief of their fans. So now that they were mere minutes from performing for their adoring fans, the air was more electric than the approaching thunderstorm. When the house lights dimmed the iconic Samuel L. Jackson Ezekiel 25:17 speech from Pulp Fiction was played through the house PA, then curtain raised, and Darius Rucker and company launched into “Hannah Jane”. For a band that hasn’t toured together in many years, you would never know it. There was an ease and comfort between the band that couldn’t be denied. Darius Rucker’s signature baritone voice has definitely stood the test of time. You couldn’t tell the difference between the voice that recorded the iconic album Cracked Rearview twenty five years ago and the one coming from on stage. When they played the classic Beatles song “With A Little Help From My Friends” it was fitting that the guys from Barenaked Ladies came out and joined them on this classic song, and what a performance it was. This was the turning point in the show. After this song, the energy level took off. All the nuances of Darius Rucker’s voice were on full display during “Let Her Cry”. When he sang the words “And just let her cry if the tears fall down like rain” as if on cue, the rain started to fall as though this was part of the show. Rain be damned, this didn’t stop the crowd from the very front of the stage to those outback on the lawn from dancing in any space they could find to hits like “Hold My Hand”, “Time” and a rousing cover of the Led Zeppelin classic song “Hey Hey What Can I Do”. When it came time to play “Wagon Wheel” Rucker laughingly told the audience that one of the guys from Lady Antebellum threatened to throat punch him if he didn’t perform this song. Not being one to enjoy a throat punch he happily obliged the request! After a brief break, Just Rucker and the bands piano player came out to play a beautiful stripped down performance of “Goodbye”. Of course, they saved the best for last. It wouldn’t be a Hootie & The Blowfish show if they didn’t play their monster hit “Only Wanna Be With You”, which they spiced up by playing parts of the Kool & The Gang hit song “Get Down On It” in the middle of the song. This was a perfect way for the packed crowd to have one last good dance before everyone left for home, tired from all the dancing but satisfied in a way only a great concert could provide.

06/09/19 - Hootie & The Blowfish
06/09/19 - Hootie & The Blowfish © Mark Matson
06/09/19 - Hootie & The Blowfish © Mark Matson
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While time must march on, tonight the calendar was turned back more than a few pages for everyone that was there. All the fans got to relive some of their most favorite music by two incredible bands. But for the Barenaked Ladies, and Hootie & The Blowfish time has stood still as both bands sound just as good now as they ever have. This tour has been long in the making and after seeing live, it was definitely worth the wait.

Barenaked Ladies:

Hootie &The Blowfish:

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