Follow You Down: Gin Blossoms Live at The Stone Pony Review

Rating: If you grew up during the 1990’s, there is no doubt that you have heard a Gin Blossoms song....

Al Mannarino

Contributor

Gin Blossoms

Rating: ★★★★½

If you grew up during the 1990’s, there is no doubt that you have heard a Gin Blossoms song. The rock band from Tempe, Arizona was formed in 1987 and made a huge splash with their four time platinum 1992 album, New Miserable Experience. With chart topping hits such as “Hey Jealousy” and “Follow You Down”, the Gin Blossoms became one of the quintessential bands of the 90’s: they released one more album, 1996’s Congratulations I’m Sorry before breaking up in 1997. Five years later, the band reunited in 2002 and released two more albums in 2006 and 2010.

I personally rediscovered them after attending the Summerland 2012 Tour over the past summer. The tour featured other prominent 90’s artists such as Everclear, Sugar Ray, Lit, and Marcy’s Playground. It should have been named the nostalgia tour as it featured some of the biggest hits of the decade including “My Own Worst Enemy”, “Sex and Candy”, and “Fly.” The first two bands, Marcy’s Playground and Lit came out and played a few songs, and then they finished with the one hit wonder they were know for. The next band was the Gin Blossoms, my friend and I only knew one song of there’s, the infectious “Hey Jealously.” When they started playing other familiar songs it became clear to me that they weren’t a one hit wonder, they were responsible for a collection of hits during the 90’s. Another thing I noticed was that they were not only great live, but they also looked and sounded great for a band that has been around since the late 80’s. There alternative/pop sound wasn’t dated; on the contrary it sounded fresh and exciting. There style of music could easily fit with today’s indie bands that they probably inspired. After seeing there fantastic set I knew if they were ever in the area again I would have to go see them.

This leads to this review of the January 19th sold out show at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ. The Stone Pony is one of the most well known music venues in the world, due to the fact that it was used as a starting off point for great musicians such as Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi. It’s a very small and intimate venue, filled with colorful townies and lots of beer. The doors opened at 7 PM and three opening bands provided the first few hours of music. Those three bands were Jakes Gorilla, King’s Highway, and The Jersey Syndicate. All three bands were entertaining, especially Jakes Gorilla, but after hours of listening to new music it was time to travel back to the 90’s.

The members of the Gin Blossoms individually went on stage, each receiving a roaring applause from the audience. When the last member, lead singer Robin Wilson, made his way onto the stage the sold out crowd couldn’t have been any more louder with their applause. Wilson then grabbed his trademark tambourine and started playing. The first few songs were a mix of deep cuts from their first two albums, “Lost Horizons,” and “29.” They also played singles from their recent albums, “Learning the Hard Way” off 2006’s Major Lodge Victory and “Miss Disarray” on 2010’s No Chocolate Cake.

After their first five songs they played one of their biggest hits, “Found Out About You.” The crowd began singing along, while Wilson was getting real personal with people around the stage. He handed different ladies tambourines throughout the show to play along with him. When he saw that people were recording him he took their phones on stage and recorded himself singing as well as other band members playing their instruments. Wilson and the rest of the Gin Blossoms didn’t just get on stage and play a few songs; they turned the concert into an experience. After “Found Out About You,” they played two more deep cuts off 1992’s New Miserable Experience called “Allison Road,” and “Until I Fall Away.”

They played one more older song, “Day Job” before performing another Billboard Hot 100 song; the very soft and emotional song, “Til I Hear It from You” off the 1995 soundtrack to the film Empire Records. Wilson’s voice has changed very much in twenty years; it was almost like listening to the song on Pandora or Spotify, only better. They finished their set with a few more songs including their two biggest, “Hey Jealousy” and “Follow You Down” before retiring back stage for a few minutes. After a huge round of applause and the audience demanding an encore, the band returned. Only this time they brought another guitarist on stage.

Wilson went back on the microphone and introduced the guitarist as Eddie Muñoz. For those who don’t recognize the name, Muñoz is an original member of The Plimsouls, and Wilson told the crowd that he was honored to play on stage with one of his idols growing up. He also said that without the Plimsouls, there would be no Gin Blossoms. The finished the encore with two Plimsouls songs, “Now” and “A Million Miles Away.” Both songs were unfamiliar to most of the surprisingly young crowd, but it didn’t stop them from enjoying the covers. The Gin Blossoms rocked the house on that cold January night at the Jersey shore. They played for a sold out crowd at one of the most famous venues in the world, not bad for a highly underrated 90’s band.

Set-List:

  1. Don’t Change
  2. Lost
  3. Miss Disarray
  4. 29
  5. Somewhere Tonight
  6. Found Out About You
  7. Learning the Hard Way
  8. Allison
  9. Go Cry Baby
  10. Until I Fall Away
  11. Day Job
  12. Till I Hear It
  13. Wave Bye Bye
  14. Jealousy
  15. Follow You Down
  16. Competition
  17. Now

Were you there? Share your own thoughts on the gig below…