Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
If you’re of a certain age you probably still think of the ‘90s as being the previous decade, even though 1990 was actually 28 years ago (yeah, I know, even writing that kind of hurt a little bit).
It’s a decade that sticks with us due in large part to the music of the era, which continues to be relevant to this day. I spoke with Sugar Ray frontman Mark McGrath about this when he was putting together the 2014 version of the Under The Sun Tour, and he noted, “What’s weird about the ‘90s is the ‘90s never really ended. When we were first starting to put this tour together, we were like, ‘Are the ‘90s over?’ If you look at Pollstar, the top ten bands are (filled with) ‘90s bands.”
That year I attended the Under The Sun Tour, which featured Sugar Ray, Blues Traveler, and Smash Mouth, and I was also in attendance for the Summerland Tour, which featured Everclear, Soul Asylum, Eve 6, and Space Hog.
Just this past Thursday I was in Stamford, CT for Alive@Five, which had the Gin Blossoms, Tonic, and Vertical Horizon tour (Vertical Horizon is photographed above), and in previous years I’ve seen Third Eye Blind, Hanson, and MC Hammer at Alive@Five.
Needless to say, I love the ‘90s, but what I’ve noticed is most everyone loves the ‘90s, so if you haven’t been to a ‘90s nostalgia tour yet, here are three reasons why you should find one, and go.
1. The ‘90s were a phenomenal decade for music
It's kind of impossible to oversell the ‘90s – which bled into the very early '00s – when it comes to music, because as a decade it featured a plethora of amazing bands, a fantastic splintering of genres into unique subgenres, and pop stars we still revere to this day. Because of this, every ‘90s tour is going to feature at least one band you love, and all the other bands on the bill will be ones you can easily sing the hits of, even if you don’t know their album cuts.
2. The bands know what the crowd wants
Speaking of those sing-alongs, the bands on the bill of ‘90s nostalgia tours know that the fans want them to play all the hits, and that’s exactly what they do. There’s no egotistical posturing, there isn’t anyone thinking they’re too good for their hits, these are acts that embrace their hits rather than run from them.
Of course, during every set you will hear the phrase, “This is off our new album,” and you’ll politely listen to a song you’ve never heard before. Hey, these artists still need to make a living. That said, they always try to keep things interesting.
When I spoke with Soul Asylum frontman Dave Pirner about how he was putting together the band’s set for the 2014 Summerland Tour, he said, “We’ll probably play real different sets every night just to keep it interesting,” adding, “It’s a half hour set, we’ll do our best to venture off a little bit.”
This is what you can expect from pretty much every band on a ‘90s nostalgia tour, and it’s great.
3. You’ll be stacking memories on top of memories
For many of us, we have a major connection to the bands on these ‘90s nostalgia tours.
Speaking about this subject during our 2017 interview, Everclear frontman Art Alexakis said, “I think it’s a thing when you’re a teenager, or in your early 20s, when you discover something and it just feels like yours, and it just encapsulates a time in your life where that’s really really important.”
We already have great memories associated with these bands, and their songs. By going to nostalgia tours we can stack memories on top of memories, as we can say, “This reminds me of …” and then add to that the experience of seeing them live 20-some years after the band first had an impact on us.
So start Googling ‘90s bands, and see which ones are on tour. You may be surprised to find an old favorite is currently on the road, and on their way to your town.