It’s with a tinge of sadness that we enter the Glasgow O2 Academy doors to see Bowling For Soup’s Bid Farewell tour. In truth it should be called the “Never Say Never but We Won’t Be Back for Ages” tour, but that doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so well. Luckily though, any sombre thoughts are quickly laid to rest by both Bowling For Soup and protégé Patent Pending who are first to take to the stage.
Blessed with a boundless energy and a front man who knows exactly how to get a crowd going, Patent Pending obviously already have a hefty following as evidenced by a packed crowd who already know the majority of their songs and are bouncing their way through their whole set; a mixture of older material and tracks from new album Brighter. They paused between songs for some jovial banter, singer Joe Ragosta introducing new single ‘Hey Mario’ by telling us that on their last visit to Glasgow he cracked a joke that no-one laughed at suggesting Mario should give up on the princess, thus inspiring the song.
If that’s the case he should have a few new memories to draw from in future as the always lively audience were on top form just as the band were. They also noted they’d be returning to the city in April 2014 with People on Vacation, Bowling For Soup front man Jaret Reddick’s side project. They finished their set to rapturous applause but it wasn’t the last we’d see of them before the night was through.
If Patent Pending had a lot of support, Bowling For Soup got a great response simply walking on stage and they hadn’t even played anything yet. Kicking off with ‘Critically Disdained’, opener to new album Lunch. Drunk. Love, and following it up with fan favourite ‘Almost’, the band was on fire from the outset. They might be leaving the UK touring circuit behind but it certainly isn’t due to any inability to perform. Although understandably promoting the new record, the set list included a healthy mixture of tracks from the back catalogue as well as a couple of unexpected covers such as Britney Spears ‘Baby One More Time’ and Fountains of Wayne’s ‘Stacy’s Mom’, a track they apparently often get the credit for so why not use it in their set?
Back to back drinking anthems ‘Let’s Go to the Pub’ and ‘Hooray For Beer’ saw Patent Pending take to the stage again, initially hanging around at the on stage bar where a Mexican chap was mixing cocktails, then taking the instruments from Bowling For Soup to finish off ‘Ohio (Come Back to Texas)’. They reintroduced themselves stating they were there “…to fuck up the end of this song”. They didn’t. Not that the headliners would have minded as they’d gone to the bar.
There was a lot of great chit-chat with the audience, at one point turning the traditional Glasgow “Here we, here we, here we fucking go!” chant around into “There we, there we, there we fucking went”. The chemistry with the audience has always been a high point of a Bowling For Soup performance and continues to be so tonight.
It’s clear these guys are all having a blast on this tour, support and headliners both, and so I leave with a hint of displeasure that Bowling For Soup won’t be back any time soon, yet sporting a wry smile at Patent Pending’s engaging performance and looking forward to seeing them again. Perhaps we’re simply trading in for a younger model?
Regardless, Bowling For Soup’s UK touring might be coming to a halt but as they announced some new albums and two DVD’s to come next year as well as each night of this tour being available to buy soon, they’ll be around for a long time to come.
As a final note, we had the great pleasure of speaking with bassist Erik Chandler before the show who elaborated on the reasons for the farewell tour, so keep your eyes on Musicscramble in the next few weeks for the interview.