Yahoo! Outloud Tour
Featuring the Hippos, Luscious Jackson, and Smashmouth
The Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA • March 8, 2000
Roi J. Tamkin
Where did all these kids come from?
I don’t know who did the marketing for the Yahoo! Outloud tour, but it sure did attract a lot of preteens running amuck at the Tabernacle. All the corporate sponsors had booths, contests, and giveaways, giving a carnival feel to this once hallowed church grounds. I saw a lot of kids and adults wearing blue Yahoo! guest passes, which made me wonder if anyone actually paid to see this concert. But even with all the free tickets and extra children, this was a far cry from a sold out concert. Between American Express, Yahoo!, Doritos, and the other Internet sponsors, someone was getting paid.
The Hippos started the night with their brand of ska tunes and sarcastic banter. They did an interesting reggae-ish cover of the Kinks’ “So Tired of Waiting” and an upbeat version of the Police’s “So Lonely.” This six-piece was set so close to the edge of the stage, I kept waiting for the horn players to spill in the front row. They played songs off their first CD, I Lost It , and became giddy when announcing their first music video “Wasting My Life.”
After their half hour, a guy with a giant sombrero stacked with Doritos walked by passing out chips. The slogan “Do you Yahoo!?” appeared on the stage while the crew set up for Luscious Jackson. All around me I saw signs and posters for Yahoo! this and Yahoo! that. I guess the sponsors did not want the young ones forgetting why there were here. To become consumers.
The three ladies of Luscious Jackson took the stage accompanied by a DJ, keyboardist, and another woman who played guitar, bass, percussion, and sang backup as needed. Their set was short and tight, playing songs from their new release, Electric Honey . They got the crowd grooving to their tunes, which sound more rock than “trip-hop” when performed live. By the time they played “Lady Fingers,” there was a fair amount of dancing and singing along from the women in the crowd. Jill Cunniff and Gabby Glaser definitely had a great rapport with the audience. Jill chatted with some ten year old kids in the front row and promised to have them on stage later in the show. In between songs, Gabby kept asking if everyone felt the spirit of Queensryche in the Tabernacle, alluding to the fact that the band had just played there the night before. “Naked Eye” was the only song they played from their gold-record selling CD, Fever In Fever Out . I would like to have heard more from that CD, but they also played tracks from their earlier records, ending with Gabby singing “Citysong” from Natural Ingredients . For this song, Jill brought the kids from the front row up on stage and dubbed them “The Atlanta Dancers” She jumped around with the little boys and girls while Gabby worked the song.
Smashmouth came out accompanied by a percussionist and a keyboardist. They started their set very strong, playing a crowd favorite, “The Fonz,” for their second song. Next, they played “Who’s There,” which they said was going to be their newest single. But unlike Luscious Jackson, Smashmouth just didn’t have a stage presence. They had this enormous stage to play on, but Steve Harwell spent a lot of time walking back to the drum riser and singing to the drummer. He rarely involved the audience or spoke to the crowd. He spent a lot of time hanging onto the guitar player, Greg Camp. He would talk a little bit to the audience and stand out front to sing, but it seemed like a strained effort for him. And whereas most bands say “Thank you” when audiences clap at the end of a song, Steve apologized. And he swore an awful lot, considering the audience was made up of tiny, underage consumers. In an effort to connect with the little Dorito eating yahoos, he also brought kids onto the stage for “Can’t Get Enough of You.” But unlike Jill, who danced with the little monsters, Steve just abandoned them. While the band continued to play, Steve gave the microphone to one boy, set him in front of the stage and left him out there without any direction. For the next five minutes, we listened to frightened kid sizzling in the spotlight yell “um…ah…C’mon!” about a hundred times. But where was Steve? He just ran off stage. He must have run off for a Valium, because when he returned, the mood of the show changed drastically. For the worse. After grabbing the microphone back and kicking the kid offstage, the band pulled in this country version of “Walking on the Sun” and then slowed things down even more playing a new song which I sensed bored most people there. They broke into doing some hip-hop and reggae tunes, but by this time, the crowd was thinning out. The Tabernacle was not full to begin with, now just a skeleton group of fans remained.
At the exit, a sleepy group of Doritos reps were handing out bags of chips to people. I noticed they still had four unopened cases of chips to go. I knew there would not be enough people left for all those chips. Even though I offered to pull my car around and take those last four cases off their hands, they refused my kind offer. They let me leave the building with as many chips as I could stuff in my pockets and carry in my hands, though. So the show wasn’t a total loss in my eyes.