Aug 22, 2016

SummerLand Tour : Sponge, Lit, Everclear and Sugar Ray (Beverly Hills)

This is now a tradition for me. Every year I take myself to a concert for my birthday. I go alone and I get to enjoy the music as I please, with zero responsibility to anyone else and the chance to meet brand new people. Last year I went to see Whitesnake and it was incredible. I try to choose Bucket Lists bands- groups I love and haven't seen live yet.

This year, my birthday was on Pride Weekend (it is on Pride weekend every year technically) and I didn't feel like celebrating. I opted to stay home with Netflix and pizza. and then, like a beacon of hope, I got an email about an epic 90's rock concert and I knew that was it, happy birthday to me, I was going.

Summerland is an annual summer concert and I had never heard of it before but now I hope to make it an annual thing. Sponge, Lit, Everclear and Sugar Ray were performing. I wasn't sure who Sponge was until I looked up their music and then I realized I am in fact, a fan. They are best known for their song 'Plowed'. When the lead singer got onstage and opened the night, I knew it was going to be special. He just looked, sounded and felt exactly the way I thought a 90's rock band should. It's always tough to be the opening act and Sponge got the crowd warmed up. They sang a new song about the Whores off their new album (I forget the exact title but it was pretty great) and the final song they did was of course, Plowed, and it was wonderful.

Then Lit took the stage. They started with Welcome to the Party, went to Better Off Without Me, and then...Miserable.
As much as I was looking forward to the entire line up, really I was there for one song, and one song only. In high school, I would lie on the floor of my room and stare at the ceiling with my headphones on listening to Lit "Miserable" on repeat. I didn't relate to the lyrics, I probably didn't even truly understand them. I just knew the voice, the guitar, it all spoke to me. So much so, in fact, that to this day when I hear it playing I start harmonizing it in my head and yes, I have covered it on YouTube.
I sang along with my eyes closed, I cried, and looking around the venue I saw every person standing and feeling the same way. I give a lot of credit to AJ- as he sang the song the mic he was using stopped working and he didn't miss a beat, he jumped over to another mic near the side of the stage and quipped "How about new batteries next time guys" then kept singing. Rock. On.

They went on to do My Own Worst Enemy, and they also sang a song off their new album and I apologize because I can't remember the title but it was beautiful and dare I say, a little bit country? I liked it a lot but it was unexpected and amazing. During one of the songs, AJ jumped into the crowd and sang to the audience, walking through the aisles and posing for pictures- it was really really phenomenal to watch his perform. Exactly what I wanted from the band I had hyped up so tremendously in my head.

Everclear took the stage next after intermission and this is where the concert changed for me. For the first half, I was in row 6 on the right side of the stage. Very decent seats, no complaints. During intermission I was invited down to front and center by two guys who turned out to be extremely cool and I watched the rest of the show from there with them. Art is still singing well and I have seen him perform live before so I knew I would be happy. A friend of mine BEGGED me to periscope the song Father of Mine. I don't periscope BUT I did go on Facebook Live with it

As they were singing I was watching the stage so the camera is shaky and awful but I don't care because it's cool that I was able to share that with a friend! They also performed So Much for the Afterglow, Everything to Everyone, Wonderful, Heroin Girl, Amphetamine, I Will Buy You a New Life, and Santa Monica.

No complaints from the, Everclear was exactly how and what I wanted and it was great to see them again and to see the people in the crowd responding the way they did.

For the final part of the show, we bring you Sugar Ray. Now I have seen Mark McGrath many many times (he is in a band called War Machines that I have seen live) and he was even in the same music video as me (that is another story for another day but you can check that out - All Day Sucker Quality Problems, and yes, that is my butt on the album cover and me at 14 seconds and Mark at 3:15).

I love Sugar Ray and here's a personal quick story: When I was a kid I would sit on the keyboard in the basement and ping out "Fly" one note at a time. That's the first and last song I ever figured out how to play on my own actually, and true to form I have an entire sub harmony worked out for it too. They sang so many songs, a few cool covers and then my night of 90's rock magic was done.

Happy Birthday indeed.

Thank you to the bands, the audience, everyone. It was a really great night and something I was very pleased to take part in. Looking forward to next year!