Exclusive Concert Review of Gin Blossoms, Tonic, and Vertical Horizon at The Paramount in Long Island, NY
This concert was my first summer show of 4 which consists of almost all 90’s bands. A lot of fans from the 90’s would probably be happy with this lineup, as was I. There have been a lot of good 90’s pairings over the past years, but this I think was one of the first times I saw 3 bands at one I show I like a lot (at least in a while). Although I was born in 1988 and when I was in high school, not many people were listening to this music, though I was (at least for Gin Blossoms and Vertical Horizon). I like Tonic a lot too, but I didn’t get into them until I was in college for my undergrad study. It was definitely a good show overall, even though I went with someone who is not into this music at all.
Vertical Horizon started the show going on at 7 and we got there a little late at around 7:15. I think were at the end of the song “Send It Up” by when we got to the seats. I think the singer (Matt Scannell) was even having the audience sing along at that time of the set. I don’t know for sure what was played before that, but according to a setlist at the show in Columbus they only played one song before that. I don’t know if they played the same exact and same amount of songs though. If it was the same though then we missed “Written In The Stars” which would be a shame because that is one of my favorites from their new cd they put out in February called “The Lost Mile.” I never saw Vertical Horizon live before, but one thing I noticed since I got there is that he has a lot of energy live, especially when his vocals were strong during parts of songs. One song they played which I was happy about was “The Lucky One” because that is from one of my favorite albums by them called “Burning The Days” which I don’t think got as much attention as the two albums before that. That album is not even on Spotify at the moment. I like it though and how it kind of has a little bit of an independent music kind of feel to it. One thing he said about the next song “Best I Ever Had” after is how it was covered by a country artist which I didn’t know. A couple of songs after that they played “I’m Still Here” which he said relates to how he needed Advil one time (not sure if he was joking). “I’m Gonna Save You” (lead single from new album) was up next. Although a lot of the new album is different from the band’s popular albums, but this song isn’t as different and seemed to fit well in the set with the songs from their popular albums. One thing I wasn’t sure about before I went was if they were going to play songs from the new album that had that different vibe. Maybe they planned it this way so the new songs they played wouldn’t feel out of place from their other songs and even the other two bands. They played their two biggest hits as the last two songs. For those who don’t know which those songs are, they are “You’re A God” and “Everything You Want” and the audience sing-alongs were back for these songs.
Tonic came on next after a seemingly quick break. They opened with “Open Up Your Eyes” from their first album “Lemon Parade” which is probably their heaviest album. I think they play this at most of their shows and they seem to thrive on it. Without really any sort of break in between songs, they went into “Liar” from the album “Head On Straight.” I was happy they played this song because I used to love listening to this song, especially in college. Some of this album has a soft side, but this is a harder one and kind of punkish. I wasn’t sure if they would still play a song like “Liar” as they didn’t the first time I saw them (6 or 7 years ago) and I don’t think they were playing it that much since they were done touring for that album. Sometime soon after that they played the deep cut “Where Do I Fit” off their self title album which I didn’t expect them to play. Lead singer Emerson Hart even said they usually don’t play it live, but he said this night was special. Another song from that self titled album that was played was “Bigger Than Both” which I think is a song they like to play a lot judging by other setlist’s since that album came out. They probably like to play it live so much because it has kind of a jam feel to it. It is still a rock song and sounds somewhat like their other songs, but has that influence of a jam song seemingly. Another deep cut they played was “Top Falls Down” from the album “Sugar.” The band really played a lot of deep cuts I like by them. This is was one of the more rock songs from that album. I think out of all the bands who played on the bill, Tonic sounded the heaviest in terms of sound. Another one of those more heavy songs that was played was “Mountain” from “Lemon Parade” which as said before has a slot of songs like that. They seem to like this album the most which might have something to do with how hard it sounds. Supposedly the next album they are working on has a more rock vibe to it too. Emerson dedicated the song “On Your Feet Again” from “Head On Straight” to this young girl who he recently met at a hospital who just beat cancer. It’s a slower song that is kind of inspiring to someone in a situation like that girl. Surprisingly they didn’t close with their biggest hit “If You Could Only See.” Before they played it, he talked a little bit of the story behind it which was about this girl he pursued when his mother was telling him not to. He talked about how you should not give up on something you love no matter what. Instead of closing with that song, they closed with another song from that first cd called “Casual Affair.” This might even be their heaviest song they played. A song like “Mountain” is hard too, but that one becomes heavy in parts when “Casual Affair” is just a straight up rock song all throughout.
Gin Blossoms were next after a longer break than the first one. They had something on their stage which the other bands didn’t have with some glass dividing the drum area from the rest of the stage to make the stage look nicer. One side not is that all the bands didn’t have a big background logo. I think for some reason Vertical Horizon had the most boldest look for the logo, but they all were not that bold or big. Gin Blossoms opened with first song from their first popular album “New Horizons.” This is a classic Gin Blossoms song and is a decent opener. One thing I noticed since the beginning of the Gin Blossoms set is that the lead singer Robin Wilson walked around stage more than the other two bands. Emerson from Tonic and Matt from Vertical Horizon didn’t move too much, but that probably had something to do with how they played guitar in I think all of the songs when Robin from Gin Blossoms only played guitar for some songs. When Robin wasn’t playing guitar he used a Tambourine which he uses a lot of the time. He was really engaging with the crowd saying “cmon” in the middle of the songs to get the crowd to sing along more even in a song like “Lost Horizons” which I don’t even think was a single. One song they played which I don’t think I ever saw them play live before was “Hold Me Down” from “New Miserable Experience.” The band recently played all of their songs from the “New Miserable Experience” album on their anniversary tour of that album, but I’m not sure if they were playing it a lot before that. Maybe that tour got them into playing the song more. This album has a lot of upbeat songs, but this song I think is even one of the most upbeat ones on the album. Soon after this, they started playing songs from their new album coming out this upcoming Friday, June 15th. I for one like when bands play new songs from a yet to be released album, but I think some fans don’t like when bands do that and just want to hear songs they know. Like I said though, I thought it was cool and they played I think like 5 new ones. The crowd didn’t seem as engaged during these new songs, but they were probably hearing it for they first time, so that makes sense. The first new song they played (I don’t know what it is called) was kind of slow. For a little while it was mostly slower songs. I think they played that song, “Until I Fall Away” and “As Long As It Matters” very close to each other. Sometimes it’s hard to judge a new song that good after hearing it live for the first time, but they seemed like good songs, staying true to their classic sound for the most part. I’m pretty sure I know two names of the new songs which are “Angels Fly” and “Still Some Room In Heaven.”
(Video below is not from this show)
According to a recent show, they played new songs “Break” and “Here Again.” I’m not for sure if those are the other new songs they played at this show, but there is a good chance they are the same songs. The crowd got more engaged once more big hits were played. They played “Found Out About you” and “Hey Jealousy” in a row. I think I was before “Hey Jealousy” when they got the fans clapping their hands which seemed to give the song an extra boost in the way it sounded. I haven’t listened to these hits that much in a while, but hearing them live made them sound awesome again, especially with the big pops they got. One funny thing. which I think happened was how Robin was kind of cracking up while singing the line “Tomorrow We Could Drive Around This Town, Let The Cops Chase Us Around.” I’m not definite about this, but it sounded like it. “Till I Hear It From You” from the Empire Records movie was also played. They had a short encore break. When they came back they played the Rolling Stones song “Wild Horses” when Emerson from Tonic and Matt from Vertical Horizon came out to sing the song with Robin. This was cool for me because I’m not sure if I ever was at a concert where singers from at least two bands came out and sang together. I wish it was on a song I was more familiar with, but this was still cool and it is a decent song. Emerson and Matt both sang one part each by themselves on the song. Gin Blossoms closed the show with another one of their hits “Follow You Down” to another big pop.
Overall it was definitely a good show. My only real complaint would be how it was so cold inside the venue. I had a jacket, but didn’t feel like wearing it, so I was wearing a T-Shirt throughout most of the show.
Not from this show, but here is a video of Gin Blossoms playing “Wild Horses” with Emerson of Tonic and Matt of Vertical Horizon at another recent show: