Wow, what a night! Two powerhouse bands Collective Soul and Gin Blossoms, hit the Stir Cove Friday (8/30) for one of the best shows of the season. Both bands are working their way across the country on the Now’s the Time tour. With only 3 more shows left on the tour, you would think these bands with many members in their 50s, might have shown some signs of road fatigue, but no, they had the place shaking!
Playing to a near sold out crowd, both Collective Soul and Gin Blossoms gave the people what they wanted, all killer no filler! In the 90s, you couldn’t turn on a radio without hearing Gin Blossoms’ “Hey Jealousy” or Collective Soul’s “Shine.” Heck, I still hear “Shine” on the radio constantly. That trademark chugging guitar “na nah na nah na nah na nah nah na nah, yea!” Even though the majority of these bands’ hits came from the 90s, they both have continued to produce new music and consistently tour large arenas, proving that alternative pop-rock still has a mass appeal.
For many people in the crowd (myself included) these bands were a huge part of their youth. I’ll never forget discovering Gin Blossoms music during my formative years. Their early albums New Miserable Experience and Congratulations I’m Sorry were always in heavy rotation when I was growing up. Like many folks my age, I first discovered Gin Blossoms through the soundtrack to the cult 90s film Empire Records. The film and the soundtrack just ooze 90s pop culture. The Gin Blossoms track “Til I Hear it from You” was the lead single, and it remains one of my all time favorite songs. From the three part harmonies to the bright guitar solos, it’s just a perfectly crafted pop-rock song.
Lucky for me the Gin Blossoms are still going strong today. They released a new album last year Mixed Reality, and I’m happy to report Robin and the boys can still write solid tunes. During Gin Blossoms’ hour long set they played several tracks from Mixed Reality, but also made sure to cover all the hits. I’m really glad to see that Gin Blossoms still enjoy playing songs that put them on the map all these years later.
Gin Blossoms started the set off with “Here Again,” the lead track from Mixed Reality, before moving to a deep cut from Congratulations I’m Sorry, “Competition Smile.” The crowd was bobbing along and having fun, but when the fourth song, arguably one of Gin Blossoms’ biggest hits “Follow You Down” started, the place went wild! Everyone was singing along and grabbing their friends to dance like they were back at the junior prom.
Over the next hour, Gin Blossoms played three more songs from Mixed Reality, the classic “Allison Road” and “Even the Losers” by Tom Petty. As the set came to a close, Gin Blossoms gave up the goods with three monster hits “Found Out About You,” “Til I Hear it from You,” and the track that sent them into the 90s stratosphere “Hey Jealousy.” I was so psyched during “Til I Hear it from You” when Jesse and Scotty kept the song going with a killer jam session. It was definitely the highlight of the night.
As if seeing one of my favorite bands wasn’t enough, I ran into lead singer Robin after their set and he was super nice! They say you should never meet your heroes, but once again, a hero was met and it turned out awesome. I was able to let Robin know how much his music has meant to me all these years and that I still follow his band! For me, it’s not just “I used to love Gin Blossoms back when I was in high school.” I still follow everything they put out and I’ll be there every time they come through the Midwest. If you’ve never caught a Gin Blossoms show, you’re missing out. But don’t fret, they still tour pretty consistently so there’s a really good chance you can catch them next summer.
Gin Blossoms’ new album Mixed Reality is available wherever you stream music.
After Gin Blossoms, the boys from Georgia, Collective Soul were ready to rock. The band stepped out to massive cheers and kicked things off with “Observation of Thoughts” from their new album Blood. Next, the band kicked it up a notch with the hit “Heavy” from 1999’s Dosage. The crowd was rocking as the guitars started to shred with post-grunge riffs. I’ve always liked “Heavy” as it reminds me of the Matrix movies, probably because they are from the same era.
Collective Soul kept the hit train going with “Why, Pt. 2” and their biggest song “Shine.” The house was rocking with people dancing from front all the way back to the lawn. Next, the band peppered in a few new songs from Blood including “Now’s the Time” and “Over Me,” before kicking out another smash hit “Precious Declaration.”
The rest of the set was filled with hit after hit including a killer cover of R.E.M’s “The One I Love” featuring Robin Wilson from Gin Blossoms!
Collective Soul closed out the night with two bangers “Where the River Flows” and “Run” again coming from 1999’s Dosage.
Overall it was an awesome show. The weather was perfect, I got to meet a hero, and tunes were rocking. What more could you ask for?
A huge thanks to Stir Cove management for setting up photo access and to Robin Wilson for writing several songs on the soundtrack of my life!
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Gin Blossoms Gallery
Robin Wilson of Gin Blossoms
Bill Leen of Gin Blossoms
Scott “Scotty” Johnson of Gin Blossoms
Jesse Valenzuela of Gin Blossoms
Scott Hessel of Gin Blossoms