INDIANAPOLIS — Last night saw one of the defining acts of the 90’s shine under a disco ball at the TCU Ampitheater. “An Evening With CAKE” featured two sets from the band responsible for hits like “Short Skirt / Long Jacket” and “The Distance.”
Seeing CAKE live was this great blend of fans new and old. Plenty of younger fans were interspersed among older concert goers who were dripped in bucket hats and large jeans, almost as if the 90’s never died. One thing that was apparent from the opening notes of their performance is how well lead singer John McCrea is able to work the crowd. During the ending chorus of “Sheep Go To Heaven” he compelled the crowd not only to sing along, but to keep singing until the end. A problem so many artists run into on stage is asking the crowd to clap or sing along only to allow the sound to fade away moments later. McCrea would not allow this as he verbally encourages the crowd to maintain their energy.
“An Evening With CAKE” is just that, there was no opening act. After “Sheep Go To Heaven” concluded, McCrea comedically pointed out that “if you got here strategically late to try and miss the opener, you may have missed a few songs.”
As the night rolls on fans are slowly introduced to the slight pageantry that goes into the band performance. A disco ball lights up the walls to encourage dancing. A bubble machine works overtime keeping the air constantly filled with bubbles. Lastly, a T-Shirt cannon is fired off every few songs as McCrea advocates for people to contact their congressman and ask them to allow bands to fire hot dogs at crowds the same way sports teams can.
CAKE not only tries to send the fans home happy with their music, but during the intermission the band made sure to send one fan home…with a tree. As intermission concluded McCrea took to the microphone and asked for fans to politely raise their hands and guess which kind of tree was on stage. After five or six guesses one fan had the answer and was invited on stage to collect his prize. This has been an ongoing gimmick of CAKE concerts for years now. You can even view all the trees the band has given away on their web site with fans submitting photos on each specimen’s progress throughout the years.
After the lucky fan departed with their new prize, the bad picked up and resumed rocking where they left off. The set list picked up in popularity until finally with their last two songs the band flew into their two most noticeable tunes of “Short Skirt / Long Jacket” and closing with “The Distance” The crowd, who had been singing along all night, only got louder with each chorus of these two iconic rock songs.
The best part of seeing CAKE live is that for a band whose music is so significant to the time it comes from, that fact does not come through in their performance. The band is not phoning it in or trying to hide from what they used to be with some new sound. It’s a group that takes their catalog and forms an experience around it. Fans are treated to less of a performance and more an experience meant to unite all those in attendance.
Other Acts Coming to Indy:
Thursday, Sept. 14th – George Thorogood and The Destroyers @ Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
Friday, Sept. 15th – Noah Kahan @ TCU Ampitheater
Saturday, Sept. 16th – Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors @ Vogue Theater
Wednesday, Sept. 20th – The Gaslight Anthem @ Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
Friday, Sept. 22nd – Queens of The Stone Age @ TCU Ampitheater
Friday, Sept. 22nd – Greta Van Fleet & Surf Curse @ Gainbridge Fieldhouse
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