Summerland Tour, Ever So Slowly, Brings Us Back

Art Alexakis and Everclear tried to restore some normalcy to 2021 as part of the Summerland Tour at Arena Theatre.
Art Alexakis and Everclear tried to restore some normalcy to 2021 as part of the Summerland Tour at Arena Theatre. Photo by Justin Terry
Summerland Tour, featuring Everclear, Living Colour, Hoobastank and Wheatus
July 8, 2021
Arena Theatre

How quickly we forget.

Once upon a time, I was accustomed to attending at least three or four live music shows a month, some major, others more local in scope. It felt normal, and I didn’t think much of it. Until 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic happened. All of a sudden, the things to which we were accustomed ceased to be. Concerts. Festivals. Movie theaters. Indoor dining. In short, normalcy. It took some getting used to, to be sure.

As the Summerland Tour’s visit to Arena Theatre on Thursday night proved, getting back to our old ways is going to take some getting used to as well. Not that the show wasn’t great.

Headliner Everclear, along with supporting acts Living Colour, Hoobastank and Wheatus, provided more than four hours of rocking nostalgic hits. The performers — in particular, Hoobastank frontman Doug Robb — gave it all they had before a crowd that was probably three-quarters full and was somewhat baffled by the Arena’s half-bowl format.

It just all felt kinda, well, weird.

That shouldn’t detract from one hell of a show, led by Everclear, a '90s pop-rock darling who blared through 13 tracks — many of them once-upon-a-time hits — throughout the course of its hour-long set. That included such favorites as “Santa Monica,” “I Will Buy You a New Life” and “Father of Mine.”

The Summerland Tour was the brainchild of Everclear frontman Art Alexakis, who founded the tour in 2012. Since then, it has played host to a barrage of '90s heavyweights, including but not limited to Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Lit, Live, Eve 6, Toadies, Sponge, Marcy Playground and Local H. If anything, Alexakis knows his audience.

Getting back to the live music scene is going to take some adjusting, and the masks and somewhat light crowd on Thursday proved that COVID is far from our rear view mirror. So, we haven’t rediscovered our new normal just yet.

But maybe, just maybe, we’re getting there.

click to enlarge Everclear blasted through 13 songs as part of its one-hour headlining set. - PHOTO BY JUSTIN TERRY
Everclear blasted through 13 songs as part of its one-hour headlining set.
Photo by Justin Terry
So, How was the Opener?: Openers, actually. Spectacular. Hoobastank was probably the star of the night, a band that both embraced the weird stage setup while pumping out hits like “Running Away,” “Crawling in the Dark” and “The Reason.” Truthfully, other than “Cult of Personality,” I didn’t know much about Living Colour. But, man, what a band! Caught the end of Wheatus, saw “Teenage Dirtbag,” dug it.

And the Crowd?: Spent a lot of time talking to folks about the live music experience. For most, it was their first show since the pandemic hit. For most, it was a surreal experience to be back in a live music crowd. This return to normalcy is going to require an adjustment period.

Overheard in the Crowd: “Play ‘The Reason,’” to Hoobastank. They did, and it was awesome.

Random Notebook Dump: I really missed live music … Hoobastank is an underrated band … Everclear played “Strawberry,” my favorite song from their catalog … Art, if you’re reading, next time through town, please play “The Swing..” I don’t ask for much.
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Clint Hale enjoys music and writing, so that kinda works out. He likes small dogs and the Dallas Cowboys, as you can probably tell. Clint has been writing for the Houston Press since April 2016.
Contact: Clint Hale