The ’90s Summer


So I didn’t mean to take a month-plus hiatus, but between work busyness and the fact that every time I pulled the site up to write something I played the Game 6 video and promptly forgot my other thoughts….that’s what ended up happening.

What finally pushed me off the sidelines? The fact that I have seen the following live acts this summer:

The Goo Goo Dolls
Matchbox 20
Vertical Horizon
Gin Blossoms
Sugar Ray
The Spin Doctors

Good god. I think I’ve got representation spanning from 1992-2002 there. This was quite unintentional – the first seven acts on that list were on the Ravinia slate this year, and that picture was taken after The Spin Doctors essentially fell into my lap at The Maine Lobster Festival (!!).

Either way, it’s been quite ridiculous and fun. I should also note that I only caught Smashmouth from the train platform, as Sugar Ray’s performance preceding them was so bad it (and rain) caused us to flee. Sugar Ray was recording a live album at Ravinia, allegedly. This is likely unnecessary guidance, but I would strongly urge you to not purchase it.

Other than those two dumpster fires, though, I was kind of surprised at how good the rest sounded. I was also surprised at how awful Gin Blossoms’ stage presence was (the lead singer yelled “Hands up!” repeatedly and exclusively, as if the only metric of whether or not a concert is indeed in front of a live audience is hands in the air).

Other items:
Was Vertical Horizon the most under-the-radar band of the ’90s? There were like three instances of “Ohhhhh, this was them?”

I’m so shaken by the relentless barrage of “Hands up!” that I’m considering stripping “Hey Jealousy” of it’s Song of the Decade title that my friend bestowed upon it in 2004. Taking new entries/suggestions/arguments.

As a country, we’ll have to answer for Smashmouth at some point.

If I asked you “From this lineup: Fastball, Vertical Horizon, Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray and Smashmouth…which band’s roadie would creep out the crowd with uncomfortable dong jokes?” You would absolutely answer “Sugar Ray”, right? You’d be correct.

2 thoughts on “The ’90s Summer

  1. Boy, some of the names on this list take me back to a time when we were enjoying Double Magnums and serenading German students to the tune of Billy Joel.

    Also, I’m curious as to which song(s) by Vertical Horizon prompted reactions of surprise from the audience.

    • Re: Vertical Horizon, it was more for me specifically – I was surprised how familiar the openings to “I’m Still Here” and “You’re a God” were. I probably would have remembered/guessed who did those songs, but I guess I was surprised by how instantly I recognized them.

      Side note: surely you’ve noticed how prevalent Magnum is now…we even have them in our office (which results in a weekly standoff between me and future diabetes).

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