Any compilation of 1990s rock wouldn’t be complete without the music of Gin Blossoms. The Tempe, Arizona based band reunited in 2002 after breaking up in 1997. Even though they have done ‘90s nostalgia tours with acts like Sugar Ray and Smash Mouth, they proved to be more than that during their sold-out show at the Seneca Niagara Bear’s Den. This was the first of 9 shows on the East Coast portion of their current tour.
Opening with “Don’t Change for Me” from their most recent album 2010s No Chocolate Cake, the band’s set was comprised mostly of songs from that disc and their 1992 breakthrough New Miserable Experience. Lead singer Robin Wilson got the crowd involved from the start, asking everyone to get their hands up and handing out tambourines to some female fans. He was in fine voice throughout. Except for drummer Scott Hessel (who joined the band in 2012), these guys have been playing together off and on for over 20 years. It showed in the interplay between guitarists Jesse Valenzuela and Scotty Johnson.
All songs had been well-received (I was especially pleased to hear “Lost Horizons” ) but the crowd really started to respond when the familiar intro to “Found Out About You” began. Wilson introduced “Competition Smile” as the most requested Gin Blossoms song which was surprising to me. “I’m Ready,” off the newest album, was a definite highlight as the most extended jam of the night. The band just tore it up on this tune.
It was at this point that Wilson urged everyone to stand up and move down even closer to the stage. “Hey Jealousy” closed the regular set and with everyone singing along, it felt like I was seeing the band at a bar in 1993.
Even though they haven’t had a major hit since 1996, Gin Blossoms still have a devoted following. It’s easy to see why.
Don’t Change for Me
As Long as It Matters
Found Out About You
Learning the Hard Way
Dead or Alive on the 405
Wave Bye Bye
‘Til I Hear It from You
Until I Fall Away
Follow You Down