Hit parade. That's the best way to describe Everclear frontman Art Alexakis' Summerland Tour, which came to New York City's Irving Plaza on June 17. With strategically short sets from four of the top alternative rock bands of the '90s, Summerland's layout was perfect for providing fans with the classic radio hits they came to hear, without any filler.
Props to Spacehog, Eve 6, Soul Asylum and Everclear for recognizing that the thousand or so 30-somethings who showed up for the Irving Plaza show were likely unfamiliar with tracks from any of their recent albums, and that they would want to hear a smorgasbord of tunes they grew up with. Spacehog, English rockers who still feature their original lineup from the early-90s, got the evening off to a rollicking start, as the crowd received an early sing-a-long opportunity when they broke into the 1996 gem, "In the Meantime."
Eve 6 was next on stage, and the band delivered several crowd-pleasing sing-a-long anthems as well. The band had New York music fans partying like its 1998 when they broke into "Inside Out," a chart-topper from their classic self-titled debut. Eve 6's set also featured "Here's to the Night," one of the most popular tunes of the '90s.
Later in the evening, Soul Asylum kicked it old school with several soulful cuts from 1992's Grave Dancers Union. Even though the album came out over 20 years ago, "Union" tracks clearly stood the test of time. Tunes from the multi-platinum album sounded fresher than ever, especially when frontman Dave Pirner delivered a special rendition of "Runaway Train."
Soul Asylum's set was a nice mix of new and old, but the biggest applause of the night came when the band broke into "Misery," from 1995's Let Your Dim Light Shine. The band could have easily headlined this year's Summerland, but Everclear capped off the show instead, perhaps since Alexakis founded the tour three years ago.
Did Everclear deliver a ferocious set that featured all their biggest hits? Absolutely. The band delivered all the classics, including "Santa Monica" and "Father of Mine." The only bad news is that they left something to be desired for any diehard fans in the crowd. Everclear played for less than an hour, and didn't offer much more than their radio singles. All in all, the bite-size set times worked out fine for the openers, but Everclear probably should have performed a tad longer.
It would have been nice to see the headlining act have the opportunity to play a bit more, and dip deeper into their catalog. The 2014 Summerland Tour returns to New York on June 22, for a date on Long Island at Huntington's Paramount. Tickets are still available for the show.