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The main stage, in front of the Denver City and County Building.

It was a hot, 100-degree day in Denver, which is a record high for September. And the temperature (in the shade) was 97 degrees. I was panting a bit, trying to stay with the shade of the tree, inching back a little every few minutes as the merciless sun kept moving lower in the sky. So, what was I, a self-professed hater of heat and sun (and crowds of people) doing outside, downtown, among a throng of people? I was there to hear a live (and free) concert by Toad the Wet Sprocket at Denver’s annual Taste of Colorado. Toad the Wet Sprocket has been one of my favorite bands since their album “Fear” came out in the early 1990s, and I know the words to several of their songs.

My husband and I, with two of our friends, were near the main stage at the west side of the Civic Center Park. Today was the last day of the three-day Labor Day weekend, the final day of the Taste of Colorado festival. Earlier in the long weekend, on Saturday, my husband came here to listen to Kool and the Gang and then KC and the Sunshine Band. The Taste of Colorado traditionally, had pretty good concerts, booking some big acts — groups ranging from REO Speedwagon, Joan Jett, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Smashmouth, Everclear, and Blues Traveler, to name a few throughout the years. As far as actually tasting the dishes from many restaurants, it’s not nearly as good a deal. Like many festivals, it has a system of buying tickets, and then exchanging those tickets for really expensive, average-tasting food. So, we usually eat before or after, and just stick with the free concerts.

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The view of the Colorado State Capitol from the Civic Center Park.

So was hearing Toad the Wet Sprocket worth getting sweaty and nearly heat-stroked in the middle of a hot, noisy crowd? Hell to the yes! It was good music that I loved, and I sang along with full voice. Hearing them live also mixed in with a heavy dose of sweet nostalgia.

Plus, one question kept popping into my head, “Wow! How is it that this band looks like they got much older, but I stayed exactly the same?” What can I say? It was the question for the ages, or the Sphinx. Some things should just stay a mystery.

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