Summerland Tour Takes Over the McGrath Amphitheater [Photos, Videos]
Great trip back to 90s tonight at the McGrath Amphitheatre with the Summerland Tour. Couldn't make it? Check out the photos, videos, and recap of the show.
Definitely a rock show and rock crowd tonight, but still a great trip down memory lane.
The night started out with Spacehog, who's major hit was "In the Meantime", which, as predicted, was their final song. Next was Eve6's turn, which we found out is still making new albums. There were also quite a few in the crowd who came just for them. Max the frontman, spent a good amount of time professing his love for Cedar Rapids, heading right to the front rail many times. And the crowd loved every moment, singing right along to hits like "Inside Out" and "Here's To The Night". After the set, they headed to the merchandise tent for autographs. I'll gladly support any band who loves the crowd. They still sounded pretty good too!
Soul Asylum took the stage next, as Everclear front man, Art, introduced them as his favorite band from college. He also took a moment to comment on the comedy of all the lawn chairs at a rock show. (Art was the emcee for the whole show by the way, as he was the one who put together the whole Summerland Tour with Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, back in 2011.) As for Soul Asylum, singer Dave Pirner hasn't lost a beat, still with a strong grovely voice. I admittedly had forgotten about many of their songs. Of course "Runaway Train" was well received, but so were singles "Black Gold", "Somebody to Shove", and "Misery". Almost 20 years later, and they haven't lost a beat.
Finally, it was Everclear's turn to take the stage to close out the show. The band was introduced by Eve 6 singer Max, who once again professed his love, but this time for Everclear, stating he loved them more than the crowd. Good thing the fans played along. I'll give the guy one thing: he certainly has a knack for playing with the a crowd. He closed by making reference to "swimming past the Cedar Rapids breakers", a reference to Everclear's 1995 breakout single, "Santa Monica." The band then took the black stage under a white spot, to acapella the song's chorus, until Art asked the crowd if they were "wanted a little guitar rock and roll." Of course the crowd raucously agreed, and the band launched into a rocking jam.
Eventually, they finally broke into their first single of the night, "Everything to Everyone" a couple minutes later.
A couple of things stuck out to me. First off, Art is the only remaining member of the original 3 piece that was Everclear, and it shows. It was very strange that the other 4 members, including the drummer, were pushed off to the side leaving Art with full control of the center of the stage. Also, he just doesn't have the "chops" he used to. He wasn't hitting the notes, or singing with the intensity Everclear songs are known for. Thankfully, the crowd didn't seem to mind, as they sang right along. In fact, many times, he just let the crowd sing it for him. (Maybe more than just a voice saving trick...)
No doubt, they absolutely put on a rock show (minus any traditional 90's mosh pit or crowd surfing), utilizing plenty of random guitar riffing. Although, with such a limited time, and being a band with numerous hit singles, I swore I heard a powder keg of frustration ticking away. They did perform "I Will Buy You A New Life", "AM Radio" (horribly in my opinion), and "Wonderful" (which was not), among others.
The set finished without the band ever performing "Santa Monica" in full. So it was no surprise when they came out for the encore, although they spent a good portion of this time just riffing on some cover tunes, showing off each band members skills. Then finally, Art invited the other 3 bands on stage to join him, as they closed the show with "Santa Monica". Again, Art just didn't have it in him to pull off the song properly. Unfortunately, when he handed the mic off to Max of Eve 6, it wasn't any better. Also, only the guitarist for Soul Asylum cam out to play, leading us to wonder if there's a "rock feud" going on during the tour. We wouldn't be surprised.
All in all, it was a fun, rocking, flash back show that the crowd really seemed to get into, despite any flaws. All the bands knew how to keep the crowd going. And when Art asked is they wanted the 2015 installment of the Summerland Tour to come back, it was a resounding yes. For the nostalgia, I'll definitely be there if it happens.