I knew I was going to relive some of my high school memories last Friday when Matt tossed me a ticket to the cleverly titled Gin & Tonic tour featuring 90’s grunge rock sensations Tonic and the Gin Blossoms. The outdoor show was held at the Evans Amphitheater at Cain Park in Cleveland Heights, a venue I had never been to before. The weather was perfect for a night outside and I was just down right excited to see these two 90’s alt/rock bands take the stage.
Opening act One Lone Car from St. Louis took the stage with a nice little pop guitar rock / piano act and warmed up the crowd. I could not help myself but wonder why they went on so late. I was under the impression the show started at 8:00pm but they did not take stage until 9:00pm.
After they finished there was a surprise announcement over the PA that the second act, Tonic, was going to be late to the show due to problems at the airport. It was then announced that the Gin Blossoms would take the stage next and play. Everyone seemed ok with the announcement, at least everyone who was not a lead singer of a certain band that just had it’s slot bumped.
Gin Blossoms took the stage and proceeded to rock out as the crowd went nuts. Fans in the venue started moving from their assigned seats to get a better look at the rock act and the mom and pop security did not care one bit. Lead singer Robin Wilson seemed to be happy to see the crowd and even tossed a tambourine to one lucky fan who failed to keep a beat along with the band. Two songs later the tambourine was tossed back at the stage almost knocking over Robin Wilson’s Red Bull & vodka drink. I still have no idea why she threw it back, I myself would have kept it for an ultimate souvenir of the evening…I also would have been able to keep a beat.
Early into the set I saw someone on the side of the stage wave the lead signer over to them to hand over a piece of paper with a secret note. Robin Wilson read it and dropped it to the ground as he continued to sing. I am pretty sure the note read: “Now is the time to act like a giant douche” and I say that because in mid-song Robin Wilson turned from enjoying himself to just plain annoyed for reasons unknown. He sulked about and left the stage in between songs through the set leaving the guitarist to introduce the band and try to keep some positive vibe to all the folk who dropped over $40 a ticket.
There was no encore when the band finished. They thanked the crowd all so non-convincing and left the stage. Granted the Gin Blossoms were supposed to headline there was no reason for Robin Wilson to act they way he did and in fact he ruined the show for me. It was the first time I had ever seen the Gin Blossoms live and it will also be my last. First impressions last on me regardless if you are a person trying to be my friend or a band that I came to see. I did not go to the show to see someone baby it up on stage because the other act was late or because the turnout was low.
There was a strange silence for a few moments while the stagehands disassembled the Gin Blossoms’ gear. PA’s started being disconnected and I was just waiting for the announcer of the evening to announce that the show would be ending because Tonic was unable to show up.
Thankfully the stage hands started setting up for Tonic so I knew the night was not going to be a complete bust. For whatever reason though a good chuck of the crowd left as if they only came there for the Gin Blossoms. Matt and I took advantage of this and moved to the front center of the seating area and claimed our spot for Tonic.
Tonic showed up and took the stage around 11:00pm and was able to make up for the poor performance by the Gin Blossoms. Tonic seemed to be down a man and they performed as a three piece although I am not even sure these days how many people are in the band since their reunion. The fans who stuck around did not let the lack of a Tonic member bother them though. Heavy and loud cheering filled the area with tons of folk including myself singing along. Good times were had. I love that band.
Lead singer Emerson Hart mentioned that they were late because of a plane crash and proceeded to let everyone know how much is sucks to have a plane lose pressure and not have the oxygen masks fall into you laps. They were not too happy with a certain airline that flys out of the Hopkins International Airport but did not seem to let that bother them at all. They sounded great but since they were supposed to be a middle act they only played for less than an hour with no encore either. Matt and I agreed that there was no encore because of curfew as well as Tonic probably did not want to upset a certain lead vocalist for the Gin Blossoms.
When Tonic finished there was that eerie silence again. I am used to music becing played once concerts are over but this time it was a dead silence with fans discussing the strange events of the evening. As happy as I was seeing Tonic live finally I just felt the night could and should have been better with no thanks to Robin Wilson of course.
Then again I should thank Robin Wilson seeing how he has inspired me to create a new catergory… The Suck.