We were delighted to get an opportunity to see another classic band, the Gin Blossoms, perform on the stage in East Falmouth, MA. The cost was a modest $10 admission to the Barnstable County Fair. And unlike the lead singer Adam Duritz and the Counting Crows’ disappointing performance, the Gin Blossoms delivered a concert that was worth vastly more than the small amount charged.
Relevance is fleeting in the world of music. An absence from the scene or a single album that fails to make the charts can, for most, decimate all chances of ever having another successful music release.
Of course, we have all heard of the one hit wonders, those bands or individual artists that seem to possess the ability to hit the radio with one, and only one, hit song. Many later know the hit, but cannot remember the band from whence it came.
The Gin Blossoms from Tempe, Arizona are no one hit wonder. Their first album was monstrous and generated hit after hit for the band going platinum four times over. The album had an array of memorable and captivating songs like “Hey Jealousy”, “Found Out About You” and “Allison Road”. The mix and flow of the album promised these would be absolute superstars.
Behind the scenes, circumstances were not as bright. The co-founder and guitarist that had written the two biggest hits on the album had been forcefully terminated from the band by A&M Records. In 1993, shortly after the release of this phenomenal work, Doug Hopkins committed suicide.
As often happens when a great first album is released, the sophomore album determines the fate of the band. A moderate success is not enough. It is almost expected that the second album be as good as or better than the first. Fatefully and unfortunately, this was not the case for Gin Blossoms without Doug Hopkins. Their second album, “Congratulations, I’m Sorry” went platinum, but it was baron of hits except for “Follow You Down” and did not have the impact of the first. The smash hit song “Until I Hear It From You”, was released before the album for the “Empire Records” soundtrack. Had the song been on this album, it may have spelled the difference between a huge success and the mixed reviews it instead received at the time.
In 1997, one year after the release of “Congratulations, I’m Sorry”, the group disbanded, and it appeared, sadly, that what started as a powerhouse addition to the music scene was to be just a memory.
In 2001, after 4 years, the band reunited to tour the nation. We had a chance to see them perform in Barnstable. And we are here to tell you all, if you are a fan, you will be hooked and thrilled with their performance. If you are not, you will likely be a fan after you watch them perform. They still possess their captivating sound and grab your attention from the outset.
As the concert progressed, we watched around us as young and old alike danced and screamed with joy to song after song. The lead singer, Robin Wilson, immediately got the audience to move forward and stand, and the audience never returned to a sitting position. This is something so few bands possess, the ability to maintain an audience’s attention throughout a performance, over the gravity that draws their derrieres to their seats.
Yet, despite getting the audience excited and enthused, Robin remained totally personable. He exchanged tambourines with some audience members and commented on their musical prowess. When he requested an audience member throw him back the tambourine, however, another fan was beaned on the noggin. He gracefully ensured she was well and gifted her the tambourine adding his personal autograph. (Video 5, during “Learning the Hard Way” song.)
Videos from the concert. Complete set
The play list is below and was a fantastic mix of old and new. At first, the band somehow seemed lethargic on the first oldie song – “Follow You Down”. Scott Johnson, one of the two lead guitarists, skipped over the famous guitar lick we have come to love in the song and that is a signature of its greatness. Robin’s signature vocal was left to carry the song and made it seem like a solo performance. Great still, but not quite enough to get the audience pumped up just yet.
This changed dramatically as the concert progressed and the band captured the audience’s hearts. As the audience gained enthusiasm, so did the band, and the lead guitars began to belt out the riffs we have come to love. And the bassist, Bill Leen, added that background sound we all recognize. Bill’s stage presence is muted by Robin, but his intensity is obvious and makes a major impact on their performance. He playfully fiddled with Scott’s guitar right before the encore, leaving Scott to quickly get his Gibson retuned.
Jesse Valenzuela, also with the band from nearly the beginning, seemed rather subdued. He appeared happy to hide behind the lights and just play music. Jesse was the original lead singer of the band and has written many of their songs. including Mrs. Rita and their more recent single, “Learning The Hard Way”. Jesse appeared to be more enthusiastic when belting out recent tracks than the older classics.
The band’s signature sound was maintained throughout and is still as engaging as ever. In a later conversation with Scott, he was quick to agree that it is this signature sound that identifies any band and makes them successful. Sometimes it is just the voice of the lead singer. And with Gin Blossoms, there is no question that Robin has a unique and distinctively familiar voice. But this band has a sound well beyond Robin’s vocal ability, and that sound is not only their own; they only make it as a band of five. So we were ecstatic when, by the third song, the band was playing as a tight unit, and the concert really took hold over the audience.
By the end of the concert and the finale, the audience was screaming for more. The band obliged. For the encore, they first performed a classic Eddie Money song, “Think I’m In Love,” in which Robin proved he still has great range with his vocals. Then they finished with “Hey Jealousy” and left an audience dazed with satisfaction at having come to see this classic band live.
The band has had two major studio album releases since reuniting. There were released singles, like “Learning the Hard Way” and “Miss Disarray”, but neither has been hugely successful. The songs they performed from those albums, however, are strikingly Gin Blossoms in their sound and quality. Any one could be a top of the charts hit song and each had the audience bobbing with glee. But promotion appears to be what is lacking. And perhaps the band’s relevance is doubted by a fickle industry inundated with fleeting talent. Our only comments on the more recent singles is they do not capture Robin’s familiar vocal sound in the same fashion as the earlier hits and they seem to miss the clever lyrics like “If you don’t expect too much from me, you might not be let down”.
This concert is not one to miss. The opportunity to see this classic band perform with almost all the members of the band that participated in the “New Miserable Experience” is just too good to pass up. It is not an opportunity missed by the band’s earlier break up because their performance is still stellar. And the cost is modest in a world of unaffordable musical extravaganzas that tend to never live up to the hype.
Gin Blossoms performed as a tight unit and delivered a solid performance that will rekindle the love of their music by every fan, and that will likely make fans out of those that do not know how great they are. We want more.
Gin Blossoms Set list :: Falmouth, MA
“Follow You Down”
“Found Out About You”
“Until I Fall Away”
“Goin To California”
“Long Time Gone
“Don’t Change for Me”
“Wave Bye Bye”
“‘Til I Hear it From You”
“Learning The Hard Way”
“Think I’m in Love”
New for this year! VIP Packages and they’re available starting with the presale:
SUPERSTAR PACKAGE – $250.00
*One top price reserved ticket in the first fifteen (15) rows
*One Meet & Greet with select members of American Idol Tour**
*One Exclusive autographed American Idol Tour photo***
*One Official American Idols Tour Program
*One Official SUPERSTAR American Idol VIP laminate & matching lanyard
**Please note American Idol Member Participation in meet & greets can vary by show
*** Autographed photo to be picked up at meet & greet
It is not common for us to review concerts. We attend and usually enjoy most concerts because we get, in general, what we want. They can be too short; they can miss your favorite song; they can even just be plain off the mark that night, but rarely is any concert we attend worth mention in any exceptional way.
The Counting Crows concert at the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis, Massachusetts on August 14th is a true exception. We therefore feel we have to provide a review so those planning to attend can assess if this concert is worth the price of admission.
We eagerly anticipated this concert and paid much more than we have in the past to see the Counting Crows, because we expected to see a spectacular band and a man with an amazing voice belt out a few of our favorites combined with some jamming, twists and magic. In all the shows we have attended in the past, half a dozen in total, we always experienced pretty much what we expected, without fail. They would deliver on their talent and allow the audience to enjoy many of their superb selection of songs while also demonstrating their diversity and personality in their live performance. In all of these shows, it was evident; you were seeing the Counting Crows at their best.
Sadly, in this show in Hyannis, the band was almost nonexistent. Their music became static noise in the background on a radio station. It disappeared like the parts painted over in an errant piece of artwork. It was as though the Counting Crows weren’t even present, and we were at the concert to listen to bad rap music by rapper NOTA and karaoke vocals of Counting Crows tunes by guest band Augustana.
It appears that the lead, Adam Duritz, was completely hammered drunk during the performance. He appeared barely able to stand, stumbling about the stage like a boob. This man that we had respected so, that had belted out unbelievable vocal performances in the past demonstrating how great he can be, could barely remember a single lyric.
The combination of noise led to the destruction of even the best of songs this band performs. They even destroyed “Rain King” by interjecting a bad Beatles sing-along with nearly 2 dozen noisemakers singing along on stage. We never got to hear the actual lyrics, only the chorus used to play out this sadly hysterical presentation.
We paid $60 per ticket for this concert, when, in retrospect, it wasn’t worth going out of our way to attend for free. A drunk, a rapper and a much lesser band all combined to create a horrific and boring experience. Had we been asked, we may have paid even more just to make them stop.
This lazy group of untalented noise makers may have fooled some of the audience, but this long time fan will never attend a Counting Crows concert again. They were, in the only word that can describe their performance in the English language, LOUSY, and it was primarily because they were also lazy and either didn’t care about their audience or took them for granted at $60 a pop.
The top 10 finalists: Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, Anoop Desai, Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud, Megan Joy, Michael Sarver, and Scott MacIntyre, take the stage on a 50 city tour beginning July 5th.
Don’t miss your chance to be there! Tickets for all performances go on sale Saturday, May 9th.
Here is the complete list of dates and locations.
Please note: All tickets go on sale on May 9th at 10am with the exception of the July 8th date in Vancouver, BC. Tickets for that show go on sale on May 9th at 12pm. (Tickets tend to sell out fast so plan well and mark the date!)
DATE MARKET VENUE
July 5 Portland, OR Rose Garden
July 7 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome
July 8 Vancouver, BC General Motors Place
July 10 Sacramento, CA ARCO Arena
July 11 Oakland, CA Oracle Arena
July 12 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion at San Jose
July 14 West Valley City, UT The E Center
July 16 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center
July 17 Ontario, CA Citizens Business Bank Arena
July 18 San Diego, CA San Diego Sports Arena
July 20 Glendale, AZ jobing.com Arena
July 23 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
July 24 Tulsa, OK BOK Center
July 25 N. Little Rock, AR Alltel Arena
July 26 Memphis, TN FedExForum
July 28 Tampa, FL St. Pete Times Forum
July 29 Sunrise, FL BankAtlantic Center
July 31 Duluth, GA Arena at Gwinnett Center
August 1 Charlotte, NC Time Warner Cable Arena
August 2 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Coliseum
August 4 Washington, DC Verizon Center
August 5 Baltimore, MD 1st Mariner Arena
August 7 Atlantic City, NJ Boardwalk Hall
August 8 Newark, NJ Prudential Center
August 11 Long Island, NY Nassau Coliseum
August 14 Hamilton, ON Copps Coliseum
August 15 Rochester, NY BlueCross Arena
August 16 Hartford, CT XL Center
August 18 Boston, MA TD Banknorth Garden
August 19 Albany, NY Times Union Center
August 20 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Center
August 22 Pittsburgh, PA Mellon Arena
August 23 Cleveland, OH Wolstein Center
August 25 Columbus, OH Schottenstein Center
August 26 Auburn Hills, MI Palace at Auburn Hills
August 28 Milwaukee, WI Bradley Center
August 29 St. Louis, MO Scottrade Center
August 30 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
September 1 Minneapolis, MN Target Center
September 2 Rosemont, IL Allstate Arena
September 4 Madison, WI Alliant Energy Center
September 5 Indianapolis, IN Conseco Fieldhouse
September 6 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
September 8 Reading, PA Sovereign Center
September 9 Wilkes Barre, PA Wachovia Arena
September 10 Bridgeport, CT Arena at Harbor Yard
September 12 Portand, ME Cumberland County Civic Center
September 13 Providence, RI Dunkin’ Donuts Center
September 14 Syracuse, NY WarMemorial at OnCenter
September 15 Manchester, NH Verizon Wireless Arena