Picture Book & Live Review: Summerland Tour at Chastain Park Amphitheatre, 7/13

Photos and Review By Rebecca McCoy

You would think that having a concert outdoors with dark clouds and persistent rain falling from the heavens would be a bad idea, right? I was a little wary of it myself when I arrived outside the gates of the Chastain Park Amphitheatre Friday night for the Summerland Tour. But as I stood there waiting to go in, sheltered safely under my umbrella, I watched as numerous fans filtered through the gates wearing ponchos or carrying umbrellas while lugging in coolers filled with food and drinks. It was easy to tell these fans were not going to let the miserable weather spoil their night.

Walking into the amphitheater you could feel the energy of the place, alive with excitement and anticipation of the show ahead. For many of these bands it has been years since they last performed on stage for a live audience, years since they have released any music. Though not at all idle during those years. For example: frontman, Mark Mcgrath of Sugar Ray, co-hosted TV’s “Extra” a few years ago. While Art Alexakis, lead for Everclear, did the “Open Wings and Broken Strings Tour” with Ed Kowalczyk of LIVE and Leigh Nash of Sixpence None the Richer in 2010.

So standing before the stage at Chastain you really didn’t know what sort of show to expect, but you just knew it would be a good one. And these bands did not disappoint. The show was an absolute blast from to start to finish. It was like falling back in time to the 90’s, listening to the sounds of Marcy Playground, Lit, Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray and Everclear, pumping through your stereo.

Admittedly until the show I did not remember much about Marcy Playground, Lit, or Gin Blossoms. But as these guys played their sets they each came flooding back to me. “Sex and Candy” was a big one for everyone in the amphitheater, singing like a chorus. “My Own Worst Enemy” and “Miserable” had the crowd on their feet for the guys of Lit. You really couldn’t help but dance as they rocked the stage. I personally had a hard time keeping still as I was shooting.

For Gin Blossoms there was a bit of a different atmosphere. It was clear not many people remembered this band and Art couldn’t have said it better when he introduced them. And when they started playing you would stop and think ‘So they’re the ones who did that song!’. “Allison Road” and “Hey Jealousy” even doing a cover of The Plimsouls “A Million Miles Away”.

Three great performances down and two to go, as the rain continued it’s off again, on again assault of the loyal fans. Their anticipation growing even more for the remaining acts. Sugar Ray took the stage and completely blew the crowd away. Playing some of their biggest hits starting with “Someday”, “Answer the phone”, “Every morning”, “When it’s over”, and “Mean Machine”. Then moving on to surprise us all with a most excellent cover of The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg bop”. And lets not forget the even more surprising Sugar Ray Free Style Karaoke where they brought up two lucky fans to battle it out on stage. Then finishing off their set with “Fly”. These guys definitely never lost their touch as amazing performers.

After such a performance from Sugar Ray, you would think they would be a tough act to follow, but Art and the guys of Everclear had their own tricks to show the crowd, playing such hits as “Father of Mine”, “Heroin Girl”, and “I will buy you a new life” before doing a short cover of Led Zepplin’s “Rock & Roll” with Lit’s frontman A. Jay Popoff. Then pulling out a big one and doing a cover of Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309/Jenny” and inviting over half of the female fans up on stage to dance with the band. This was a very interesting site to behold as most of them had been drinking throughout the evening. After such a spectacle there really wouldn’t be much that could top it, but once again they delivered by finishing up the evening playing “Santa Monica” with all the leads of each band from the tour assisting.

All in all, even with the rain, the Summerland Tour was a huge success. Art and Mark did an amazing job putting together one of the best summer shows I’ve ever experienced, I can’t wait to see next years line up. Leaving the venue I couldn’t help but wonder if they had any inspiration for the name of the tour with help from author Alyson Noel’s Immortal Series or if it was just an interesting coincidence. For in the series there is a place called Summerland. It’s a magical place, a world between worlds where anything is possible. However it can be very addicting. Humans cannot access it, only the immortal beings can.

In my opinion that basically describes the Summerland Tour. It’s a world all its own and you get pulled into it and never wish to leave because you’re having such an amazing time. The connection the bands made with the audience was magical, and with the weather that hovered over the event, it took exceptional people to stick it out and still enjoy themselves. So I say job well done to Mr. Art Alexakis and Mr. Mark McGrath!

Full Gallery After The Jump…


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