As the purple skies over Happy Valley sunk behind Mount Nittany, a rock band from a different era strummed its first chords in State College for the first time in 15 years.
California '90s outfit Toad the Wet Sprocket played their trademark light rock and roll jams at Tussey Mountain Friday night for about 700 people. With
about 100 fans crowding the front of the stage, Toad strategically placed their hits among a set list of equally catchy and pleasant tunes. Some were deep cuts of old
albums, others were new songs.
From the first words of the opener, “Something’s Always Wrong,” lead singer Glen Phillips’ vocals were so recognizably Toad that the crowd cheered and enjoyed the early summer evening in the Tussey Mountain grass.
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The bass-heavy acoustic rock paired well with the calm, pinkish hues of the sky. As the half-moon shone from above, the campfire feel of the venue created an atmosphere tailor-made for Toad’s repertoire. Bassist Dean Dinning said the band was made for outdoor concerts, and the crowd at Tussey saw why.
The now middle-aged rockers reminisced about their last visit to State College, back when they were a touring college band. Although their college ways have transformed into family ways, their sound and style has not changed much.
Even the two new songs had the same Toad charm that fans are used to.
As the final light from the sky dimmed, Phillips commented on the mosquitoes rising from the Tussey lawn. The bugs didn’t stop the crowd from dancing and singing along and it didn’t stop Phillips and his band from jamming out tracks every person there remembers, including “Nightingale Song,” “All I Want” and “Good Intensions.”
The main set lasted about an hour and each tune seamlessly meshed with the next with little talking in between, other than to admire the peaceful Happy Valley evening.
The quartet moved, played and sang like they were really into the music and honored to be on stage. They closed with their mega-hit “Walk on the Ocean” and Phillips, almost 15 years removed from his band’s last visit the area, hoped they’d be back sooner this time around. After the show, the band shook hands with the exiting crowd.