Hootie & The Blowfish
(Jerome-Duncan Ford Theatre, Sterling Heights, MI - July 30th, 2005)
Hootie & the Blowfish's mainstream pop variation of blues-rock brought the band to the top of the charts in 1995. Formed at the University of South Carolina, the group - lead vocalist/guitarist Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, Dean Felber, and Jim "Soni" Sonefeld - quickly realized that the following chart years were ones where they were not able to replicate that success ... but live, they are a whole different beast!
Cracking open the can of Hootie from the off, the band strode through older songs like 'Time' and newer ones such as both 'Leaving' and 'I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You' - the latter a signal for drummer "Soni" to leave his set and play guitar front of stage.
Making everyone aware of their South Carolina roots, the band quietly rock their way through 'Let Her Cry,' 'I Go Blind' - which finally gets the sedate crowd up on their feet and off the butts! - and the bathed-in-red 'Running From An Angel'. New track 'Get Out Of My Mind' is followed by 'Old Man & Me (When I Get to Heaven)' and - as usual - is inclusive of a major rap interlude by guitarist Mark Bryan.
Bringing the set into its final bend, new songs, 'Hey Sister Pretty' and 'One Love' are sung, before 'Country Boy' slips quickly into a solo-Darius mixtape that includes such songs as: 'Ride Wit Me,' ' 'Hot in Herre' and 'No Diggity.'.
'Hold My Hand' ends the set, but the band are quickly back and burst straight into a wonderful Cheap Trick cover of 'Surrender' before bringing the night to an end with 'I Only Wanna Be With You.'.
Review by Russell A. Trunk