Martin and Scott’s Toad Road Trip

Martin and Scott's Toad Road TripIt has finally all come together. We got the flights. We got the hotel. And now we finally have the actual tickets for the gig… Scott and I are going to see Toad The Wet Sprocket in Boston–in just three weeks from now!

After splitting up in 1997, the boys from Toad decided to get together again at the end of last year to play a couple of benefit concerts. Then there came a rumour of a small tour in 2003. I was extremely excited. Scott and I are both big Toad fans, but we never got the chance to see them play live. Perhaps if they hit the East Coast of the US, we could get some cheap flights, and see them play!

Word of individual tour dates started leaking on the Glen Phillips and Lapdog message boards out during December. The official dates were released just before Christmas, and yes, there were plenty of East Coast dates to choose from. We looked at New York, Boston, Norfolk VA, Washington, Philadelphia, and Chicago, before we settled on Boston.

But although the Toad site listed dates when most of the shows would go on sale, they didn’t say when tickets for Boston would be available. We didn’t want to get flights before we had tickets for the show. We also noticed that some of the shows that went on sale early were selling out fast. So as January wore on, we were getting terribly worried that the tickets would be released without us knowing, and they’d sell out before we could buy any.

I watched the ticket site like a hawk, and just after I caught word that the public on-sale date was Saturday 18th, there came a helpful message from the Glen Phillips mailing list to say that fans could buy pre-sale tickets from Thursday 16th. I tried to buy tickets that day, through the Next Ticketing web site, but found that I couldn’t. Apparently they won’t issue pre-sale tickets to addresses outside the US. Fortunately, Abi’s family lives in California, and they were happy for me to get the tickets sent to them, so they could forward them to me. Phew!

Once that was sorted, we could go ahead and book flights and hotels. I’d previously found that Expedia gives excellent deals on holidays to the US. Oddly enough, though, you get a consistently better deal if you avoid booking at a weekend. The flight and hotel combinations were consistently £50-£80 more expensive on a Saturday or Sunday than if you book them during the week.

The first time I noticed this was at the start of January. I’d checked the prices mid-week, then gone in on a Saturday to look at them again. “Bugger,” I thought when I saw the increased prices, “we’ve missed all the cheap deals.” But this turned out not to be the case. When I showed Scott the prices again the following Wednesday, they were back down to their lower levels. And when I checked again the next weekend, they were back up.

It’s possible that cheap holiday deals are continuously being released in mid week, then all getting snapped up by the time the weekend arrives, but somehow I doubt it. I reckon they’ve found that most people book their holidays at the weekend, and so are trying to make the most of this. (So let that be a warning.)

Anyhow, with the concert being at the start of March (not exactly tourist high season), we got a fantastic deal on flights and a hotel. We’ll be flying from Edinburgh to Boston via Amsterdam on Friday 28th February, staying three nights at the Wyndham Boston hotel downtown, and then flying back again on Monday 3rd March. Toad are playing at the Avalon Nightclub on the Saturday evening.

Oh boy, am I looking forward to this.

Which is why I was marvellously surprised when I turned to Tantek Çelik’s blog this morning, and found that he’d been to the Toad gig at the Fillmore in San Francisco last night! Neat.

“The crowd was hilarious. I think we saw maybe one person under 30. Lots of sedated 80s styles–is big hair coming back? Guys should not wear white pants. Saw one guy who thought he was at a Pearl Jam concert and a few hippies too. Then there was tie-dye drunk guy that looked like he was having a seizure but it turned out he was only bopping his head and dancing.”

Yikes. I know I was never young and hip, but I guess I’m going to have to face the fact that I’m not young any more, either. On the other hand, being a thirty-ump professional means I have enough financial stability and flexibility to occasionally do wild stuff like fly across the Atlantic for a weekend.

I’m going to have to get my hair bleached again before we go, though 😉