Story by Hannah Harkness, photos by SugarHouse Casino
First signed in 1991, the Gin Blossoms emerged with their pop-rock sound during a time when grunge and hair bands dominated the radio. They quickly gained public and critical acclaim with New Miserable Experience, which went multi-platinum and earned them a Grammy for As Long as it Matters. Their most recent album was 2010’s No Chocolate Cake, which reached No. 1 on Amazon.
The venue was unorthodox; many commented on the slightly bizarre experience of seeing the Gin Blossoms in a carpeted event center room as they filed in. The event center is part of a new expansion rollout for SugarHouse and it can in fact be reserved for corporate events, weddings, and banquets, and boasts floor to ceiling windows with a view of the Delaware River Waterfront and the Ben Franklin Bridge. One audience member said it looked like a venue for a TED talk and lead singer Robin Wilson jokingly commented that he felt like he was performing in a closet.
But despite technical difficulties and unusual surroundings, the audience cheered and sang along to every word of their favorite singles. Enough people were singing that Wilson frequently held the mic stand into the crowd. My seat neighbor at the show and a few other audience members I met told me that they had just found out about the concert that day and had dropped everything to go. Before running up to the stage to get a better view, my neighbor told me that he had just seen Jane’s Addiction earlier that week and felt like he had gone back in time.
Two decades later, the band still has the same energy and tight live performance ability that they have always had. Highlights included Til I Hear it From You (widely recognized from the soundtrack of fellow iconic 90’s staple Empire Records), Until I Fall Away, and Hey Jealousy, which they used to close out their encore. They also gave the audience a chance to preview material from their new album which is scheduled to be recorded in October. The crowd’s enthusiasm proved that the dream of the 90’s is still alive in Philadelphia.