SALT LAKE CITY — Better Than Ezra lead singer and songwriter Kevin Griffin is living his dream this summer by joining Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies on a six-week U.S. tour.

“It’s just kind of a dream come true — like summer camp for grown men,” Griffin said in an interview with the Deseret News.

Better Than Ezra is one of two opening acts for the Barenaked Ladies tour, with Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall also opening, and Utahns can see all three acts during their upcoming stop at Red Butte Garden on Monday, June 18.

Tunstall said Barenaked Ladies fans have been “incredibly warm” during the tour and that she's been happy with the “uninhibited” response of the audiences.

“British people, even if they’re having a really good time, they’ll kind of nod their heads and smile weakly,” Tunstall explained. “In America it’s like, you’ll play the bridge and they clap at the end of it when the chorus comes back in. I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is awesome!’ So they’ll be heckling and shouting stuff at you; it’s so much fun.”

For both Tunstall and Griffin, the tour has been an opportunity to see how their fan bases have changed over the years.

“When we play, you see our fans who started out with us who are in their 40s and up, and … they have young kids or their kids (are) in college and they grew up listening to us. So it’s a nice cross-section,” Griffin said, who also works as a songwriter for other bands, including Barenaked Ladies. “It’s funny to just watch the evolution of your crowd as you continue your career.”

The fan base isn’t the only thing that’s changed — both Griffin and Tunstall pointed to the tour as evidence of how their music has evolved.

Tunstall’s music evolution has a lot to do with the way she plays. Back when she first toured, she would play with a full band, but now she performs solo, recreating the sound of a full band with looping pedals. Tunstall said she started performing this way when she realized the power of performing solo and that she enjoys the challenge.

“It can go hideously wrong at any time. So from that point of view, it actually really keeps me on my toes and keeps me engaged and keeps me excited,” Tunstall said. “So, it keeps it fresh.”

And while many may say Better Than Ezra’s “heyday” was in the '90s, the band has continued to produce new music, and the setlists of the tour include a mix of both, such as the band’s latest single, “Grateful.” Griffin said he often assumes people want to hear the original songs from the '90s, but there’s a whole crowd of fans who are more interested in the newer songs.

“If people want to get nostalgic and pine for the '90s, I’m all for it, and if people are fans and want to hear the new stuff and see what the bands are up to … I’m all for that too,” Griffin said.

As for how the three acts work together, Griffin said it's been going well. Tunstall's sound is arguably different from that of Better Than Ezra and the Barenaked Ladies, but Griffin said Tunstall and her music fit “seamlessly," describing Tunstall as a “monster performer.”

“I’m so blown away. I’d never seen her live, I’d never met her until a week ago, and now we’re fast friends,” Griffin said.

“I get the feeling that with (Griffin), we could probably just write a song over lunch,” Tunstall said.

Both artists have performed in Salt Lake several times before. Griffin, who is looking forward to visiting Red Iguana, in particular had many positive things to say about his Salt Lake experience.

“We’ve been playing Salt Lake since the '90s,” Griffin said. “Salt Lake’s always been really good to us; some of our earliest radio success (was) because of the (radio) stations. (Our) songs took off out of LA, Phoenix and Salt Lake.”

Although times have changed since those first hits in the '90s, Griffin said he feels lucky to still be doing what he loves.

“For most bands you have a moment that’s your ‘hot moment’ then you kind of fade from the spotlight, but it doesn’t mean your career ends,” Griffin said. “We do more touring and it’s more successful than it’s ever been. … These shows are sold out. It’s a testament to just keeping it going and keeping the fans engaged.”

If you go …

What: Barenaked Ladies "Last Summer on Earth" tour with Better Than Ezra and KT Tunstall

When: Monday, June 18; doors open at 5:30 p.m., show begins 6:30 p.m.

Where: Red Butte Garden Amphitheatre, 2280 E. Red Butte Canyon Road, Salt Lake City

How much: The show is currently sold out

Web: ticketfly.com