I Went to Go See Spin Doctors and Smash Mouth at a Local Festival. This Is My Story


I am not cool to admit that when I discovered that I had a chance to experience Smash Mouth AND Spin Doctors live a few weekends ago I got VERY excited. I was finally going to be able to cross “Hear the generation-defining songs “Two Princes” and “All Star” performed by the rock Gods who created them” off my Bucket List. 

You would probably expect to pay hundreds of dollars to see artists of that caliber perform their most cherished hits in some manner of arena but for some inexplicable reason Smash Mouth and Spin Doctors were performing on the very same afternoon bill for free. At a modest local festival, no less! This represented nothing short of a glitch in the matrix, one I was determined to take advantage of. 

But I am a dad with a four year old and a nine month old so on weekends I just kind of go along with whatever my wife wants to do. Thankfully, this blessed Sunday that meant going to this miraculous festival of arts and culture where the band behind that song that was in all the trailers for about a solid year or so and the band that did the song from Shrek would be performing for their adoring fans for free. 


Alas, when you’ve got kids you’re subject to their rhythms and their whims yet through sheer luck we ended up at the festival, not far from the stage early in the Spin Doctors’ set. 

When we reached the music I experienced a surge of pure exhilaration when I realized what was happening. The Spin Doctors were segueing from “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” to “Two Princes.” 

“Two Princes!” That was their fucking song! Their big hit! That song everyone knew by heart whether they liked it or not. I had subconsciously always wanted to see once moderately popular 1990s band Spin Doctors perform their hit song “Two Princes” in a context such as this and now I had my opportunity. 

What luck! What good fortune! Oh, but the Gods of rock and roll were smiling upon me that afternoon! Then, to my mortification I realized that the crowd really wasn’t into it. I couldn’t believe my eyes or my ears. Here were a bunch of corny-ass middle-aged white people like myself, people who, whether they are willing to acknowledge it or not, secretly live to hear The Spin Doctors perform “Two Princes” at a local festival while buzzed on cheap domestic beer yet they somehow seemed to think that they were above singing along to “Two Princes.” 


Granted, the band’s performance was on the lethargic, arbitrary side. It almost felt as if they had performed this song so often, for so long, and for such nakedly commercial, financial reasons that it had lost all meaning for them. Even more horrifyingly, it seems to have lost all meaning for the crowd as well. 

But how could that be? This was “Two Princes” after all! If THE Spin Doctors performing their big song can’t sustain the interest of middle-aged day drinkers at a free festival would could? 

The lead singer pointed the microphone for the call and response part of the chorus at the crowd and these fucking chuckleheads acted like they were too goddamn good to yell “Go ahead now!” at the appropriate time. 

Brother, that filled me with shame. I felt humiliated. The hippie guy from Spin Doctors was trying to get the crowd to joyously, unselfconsciously shout “Just go ahead now!” and the Poindexters in the crowd were all, “Uh, I’m not sure if I’m familiar with this particular song.” 

I was so disgusted that we left before Smash Mouth came on. As much my soul longed to hear a perfunctory rendition of “All Star” the prospect that this stupid, lame crowd would pretend they didn’t know the words to that modern classic either was just too horrifying to face. 


My dream of experiencing “Two Princes” in the blinding sunlight, surrounded by the people I love best in the world had turned into a nightmare of apathy, disappointment and mediocre musicianship. So before you attempt a similar feat be sure you don’t end up flying too close to the sun because the disillusionment I felt that afternoon I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. 

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