Tonic #9 Wrap-up: All You Needed Was Love (And A Ticket)

5 min read

And so another Tonic has come and gone, and I have proved once again that I am not too old to rock and roll, although I would not have wanted to tell that to my feet on Saturday morning. They felt too old to live, let alone rock.

Were you there? If you weren’t, you missed the best Tonic ever. Here are a few of the highlights:

Biggest surprise: The fact that we sold out. My heartfelt apologies to all the good people who came down to Fountain Square expecting to walk into the show, just as they had in the past. We had no idea this was going to happen–

The sold-out crowd waiting to get into Radio Radio. It's 8:15 and the room is already overflowing.

seriously. On Tuesday we were worried that we hadn’t sold many tickets, but Tonic Ball has never been much of a pre-sale event. On Wednesday, we realized we might have a problem with ticket requests. By Thursday afternoon, we’d sold so many tickets that we cut off online sales. By Friday afternoon, we were nearly sold out and decided to release more tickets. By the time the show started at 7 p.m., even the extra tickets were gone. We put out the word in as many ways as we could that tickets were going to be a problem, but people still came out and were disappointed. I guess it’s a good problem to have–but we’re still sorry if you couldn’t get into the show.

Second-biggest surprise: The great success of Tiny Tonic, our first-ever Tonic for kids event at Square Rootz Deli. Lots of families, lots of fun. You can bet we’ll do it again.

MVP Matt Wilson played in five bands on two stages.

Biggest disappointment: The perennials who had conflicts and didn’t play Tonic Ball this year, including Otis Gibbs, Dale Lawrence, and Jennie DeVoe. We missed them.

Greatest bargains: The pieces that were picked up for a song at Tonic Gallery. It was a beautiful show at New Day Meadery, and lots of lucky art buyers found amazing works they couldn’t live without. I admit to being among them.

Worst moment: For me, it was when I was sure I’d lost my glasses. I took them off to put on my John Lennon sunglasses for the Yoko Moment set, and I could not find them anywhere. Fortunately, they were right where I’d put them: in my pocket, inside the plastic cup I’d used as a megaphone for that one part of “You Never Give Me Your Money.” I’d say it’s a pretty good night when your worst moment is thinking for a few minutes that you’ve lost your glasses.

Best moments: Where to begin? Giving an award to my friend Dr. Greg Sipes for his continuing title sponsorship of

Tad Armstrong lets us know that happiness is a warm gun. Brian Deer concurs.

Tonic. Seeing my son Nick and his band The Rodney Boys open the show. Watching my old college pal Chris Wirthwein rock Radio Radio with CW and the Working Glass Trio. Those are right up there.

Best moments, Yoko Moment division: Looking out into the room and seeing My Beautiful Wife smiling and dancing. Hearing the entire room singing along with “Golden Slumbers.” Looking around and seeing how much fun my bandmates were having. Realizing that, in playing the entire medley from Side 2 of Abbey Road, we’d accomplished 18 minutes of something pretty remarkable.

Proudest moment: The text message I got from Ben Shine of Second Helpings after our set, reminding me that the Beatles themselves had never played the medley from Abbey Road live, as we’d just done.

#9 rocks the Fountain Square Theatre. For those of you playing at home, that's Dana Spence, Matt Mays, Scott Woolgar, and Brian Deer.

Favorite bands: Again, where to begin? Everyone–everyone–at Radio Radio nailed it. I heard the same thing about the Fountain Square Theatre stage. If rock and roll were actual fire, the whole of Fountain Square would be a smoldering wreck. And although I am wont to name names because of all the amazing music, I would especially like to honor the last four acts at Radio Radio–Everything Now!, ESW, Tremendous Downtime, and Low Flying Helicopters–for keeping the show rocking like mad into the wee, small hours of Saturday morning.

Biggest mistake: Wearing the Beatle boots when Becky told me I should wear sneakers. Of course, she was right.

Most valuable players: All the Tonic Ball and Tonic Gallery volunteers who worked for months lining up bands and artists, hanging the Gallery, managing stages, preparing publicity notices, having amazing ideas–everything you need to do to stage a show of this magnitude. I get a lot of credit for this show, but I do a lot of sitting around nodding my head at everyone else’s great ideas. If you know any Tonic committee members, thank them.

Most delicious part of the evening: 3 a.m. Peppy Grill. Cheese omelet, toast, fried mushrooms, mozzarella sticks,

I take a nap onstage before awakening for "Sun King." Thanks for the Union Jack blanket, fellers.

onion rings. The perfect post-Tonic meal.

Biggest problem: What to do for an encore. What do we do to top the Beatles? Nothing, I suspect; you can’t top the top. But we can certainly keep the Tonic madness going. Who should we cover next year? I’ve heard votes for the Cure, the Smiths, Tom Petty, the Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell, the Jacksons, REM, the Cars, the Police–the list does go on. Steve Hayes of the Common lobbies every year for KISS and Neil Diamond. I love you, Steve, but you guys can do that one after I retire.

The view from the stage. We came. We saw. We rocked.