August 23, 2008

Gin Blossoms @ Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

First, a word to all of you Outsidelands ticket holders who comprised the huddled masses of churning humanity paying gobs of money and straining to hear Radiohead last night: suckas.

Paying only for our tall boys from Days Market, Awmercy (to whom I apologize for the length of this review), Brasilliant, Ancientindianwizard, and I were joined at the Boardwalk by our friends Lacy and Greg (and many other amazing folks) to get rocked by Tempe, Arizona's own Gin Blossoms. In case you lived in an Eastern Bloc country during the early 1990's, and somehow missed out on this band, do yourself a huge favor and download their hits "Hey Jealousy," "Found Out About You," "Til I Hear It From You," and "Follow You Down." You will probably listen to these songs and say "Wow, despite living in the former Yugoslavia in 1993, I totally remember Hey Jealousy!" And it is this infectious pop sensibility that made last night so amazing.

The (disturbingly long) Wikipedia entry on the band reports that "Frontman Robin Wilson is best known for his interaction with the crowd. He often hands off a tamborine to a lucky fan in the front row to strike in sync with the drum beat." And last night was no exception. The band came on around 8:30, and proceeded to spend a boring half hour playing songs no one knew, while Wilson handed out a tamborine, encouraged the rest of the crowd to clap rhythmically, and repeatedly thrust his tamborine-free hand skyward in the shape of rock horns. Then things got interesting.

Wilson disappeared from the stage, leaving his band to engage in an extended jam sesh. It was incredibly boring, but my heart was pounding: where had Wilson gone? Was he having a breakdown? Would I get to hear Hey Jealousy? Whatever it is that Wilson does when he disappears backstage (seems like it might be a regular occurance, as the band barely seemed to notice), it is totally worth it. When he remerged on stage, the Gin Blossoms proceeded to blow us away with hit after hit, touching the adolescent rocker in all of us.

Then their allotted hour was up and the 'Blossoms left the stage. Thoroughly satisfied, the ladies headed to the bathroom before taking off. But they weren't done!! As I emerged from the filthy Boardwalk bathrooms, my ears were seduced by the sound of.... Rocket Man. Yes, the Gin Blossoms were covering one of my favorite songs, apparently for a bride-to-be who was spending her bachelorette party at the Boardwalk (awesome). They finished off with "Follow You Down" a song whose existence I had forgotten. This encore left me deeply rocked, and a two time loser (I bet the Wizard that I would only recognize 3 songs, and that they wouldn't perform any covers. Who knew?). But really, there were no losers last night at the Boardwalk, only people who walked away totally awed by the majesty that is the Gin Blossoms.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review!

Since you missed some of Rocket Man...enjoy this one.

Thecranewife said...

Awesome! Too bad he's not rocking the cowboy hat like last night, but still fantastic.

awmercy said...

I hope Smashmouth eventually makes the Boardwalk circuit. They seem unlikely to engage in unnecessary jams.

Tex said...

As to what Robin Wilson was doing backstage before delving into their old hits.....probably something to help him cope with playing a handful of marginally popular songs he and his bros wrote in the spare room 15 years ago. While I'd be delighted if said coping mechanism were a bit of tai chi, I'd put money on it being coke.