We’ve all been through it. You know, the process of growing up and forming opinions about those older than you. When you’re six years old you look up to your parents as if they are superheroes, then once you hit our teenage years you begin rebelling and all of a sudden despise your parents. Once we truly grow up we find a new found respect for our parents. What are we getting at here you ask? Well, a revelation this author had on the night of September 19th in Columbus, Ohio.
It was on this night that I venture to the little known Bluestone venue on Broad St. to see 1990s megastars The Gin Blossoms. I was all of six years old when the band’s most famous hit “Hey Jealousy” was released. At that time I was cruising around with my mom in our Mercury Villager minivan. It was then that I heard the song for the first time. When the band released the song “Follow You Down” in 1996, I was ten years old and hitting that stage where I was beginning to hate my parents, yet I found myself still loving The Gin Blossoms.
Funny how I looked up to these people who are, very literally, my parent’s age this whole time, and it was all because of their music. On September 19th it hit me why. These guys are still living the life I dreamed of as a very young person. They still do what they want, when they want. They still have people like me paying to come see them play songs that, to some, are very dated and “poppy.” The Gin Blossoms packed an old gutted out church in Columbus, Ohio full of people younger than me, older than me, and people my own age. They commanded attention playing these songs that I remember hearing during my childhood riding in the car with my mom and little brother. I loved it!
The night started simply enough with Columbus YouTube sensation Ted Williams introducing the band to a round of wild cheers from the diverse crowd, some of which may be attributed to the leftover crowd from the bar crawl that had gone through earlier. Nonetheless, a great ovation for a band most had written off over a decade ago. The Gin Blossoms opened strong with “Follow You Down” and “Allison Road,” two of their biggest hits during their run of top forty relevancy. This strategy proved to work very well for them as the crowd of about 200 started to feel the nostalgia in the room.
After these two songs I decided to explore the venue. Bluestone features three bars, an indoor and an outdoor bar, for which to make sure the patrons have short wait times to get from their spot on the floor to the bar and back, ensuring they miss little of the show. Another great feature of this venue are the fantastic sight lines offered by different levels of standing room. The pit, while small is sufficient for those looking to get very close to the band, as it is only about 15 rows deep before running into a quasi-mezzanine level. For those looking to get a birds eye view of the stage, a full balcony is available and features one of the three bars.
Once I had explored the layout of the venue, I made my way back down to the pit to catch as much of the show as possible. The band decided to play many of the song off of their second album, which reached #10 on the Billboard Top 200, most likely in an effort to please the crowd as much as possible. While much of the audience was oblivious to these songs, the older crowd definitely enjoyed them. There seemed to be a constant back and forth for average age on the floor. When the singles were being played, the younger crowd with make their way in and flush the older crowd out, and vice versa. That being said, songs such as “Until I Fall Away” and “Til Hear It From You” seemed to attract both parties.
After about an hour it was obvious that the crowd was waiting for one song and one song only, they wanted “Hey Jealousy,” and they wanted it bad. Much to the chagrin of the crowd, they wouldn’t get it right away and would have to work for it. The band finished their set with “Til I Hear It From You,” which was an odd song to finish with due to its dreary demeanor. As the band walked backstage the crowd began chanting for the band’s biggest hit, and they would eventually oblige. However, they gave the crowd something to chew on with their first encore song, a phenomenal rendition of Eddie Money’s hit “I Think I’m In Love.” This actually went over very well with the crowd even though much of the audience wasn’t even conceived when the song was released.
Then the big moment came. The balconies seemed to clear out and the pit was at capacity as The Gin Blossoms belted out one of the most memorable hits of the 1990s. In a word, it was “electric.” I can truthfully say I never expected to see that song performed live by its original creators. It was something not to be forgetten. The setting was perfect, surrounded by people who loved the band and were having a great time witnessing something that many will either never see, or haven’t seen in over a decade.
The band still puts on a great show and finds ways to involve the crowd as much as possible. I walked away very pleased with my experience and learned that there’s a reason I never stopped loving this band. They are living the dream and it shows. The energy they possess shows that they are still passionate about their life and their choice of profession. The same cannot be said for many of our parents. With that in mind, it was great seeing people in the audience who are my parent’s age and seeing them remember their younger years when the sky’s the limit. These people didn’t seem jaded by a case of the Monday after work blues; they seemed energized and young again. The Gin Blossoms take the audience back in time, and I can truthfully say I enjoyed being taken back to the years in that Mercury Villager, to time where things were so much easier and effortless.