A '90s resurgence is in full bloom in the pop culture landscape. Overalls are back in. Same for Doc Marten’s. Shows from that era are being brought back from the dead, and Hootie & The Blowfish are touring. It’s like we never really left 1994.
As much was evident on Friday night, when Darius Rucker and company blasted through a 24-song, 110-minute set that was long on hits and even longer on nostalgia. The band was not only touring in support of the 25th anniversary of its smash debut LP, Cracked Rear View, but of a new album that is expected sometime in 2019.
That said, Friday night provided a chance to look back. Hootie kicked off with “Hannah Jane,” the ideal opening track from its debut, before seguing into other fare like “Not Even the Trees,” “I Will Wait,” and a cover of David Allan Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me By My Name.”
The show, before a packed house at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands, was long on Cracked Rear View - nine of the album’s 11 songs were featured during the show. Of course, Rucker - donning his trademark baseball cap - understandably made room for some of his solo fare, namely, “Alright” and a cover of “Wagon Wheel.”
Here’s the thing about reunion tours and why they often don’t work out. In many cases, the artist in question is pimping a new album and, thus, is inclined to play the new stuff. If Hootie has a new album on deck, as has been rumored, they didn’t show it on Friday night. Rather, they closed the three-song encore with the one of the best tracks the band ever recorded (“Goodbye”) and one of their signature hits (“Only Wanna Be With You”).
Coupled with hits like “Hold My Hand” and “Let Her Cry,” Hootie & The Blowfish delivered something somewhat rare in the realm of nostalgia tours - namely, they gave what the fans came to see.
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So, How Was the Opener?: I will admit. I wasn’t exactly the biggest Barenaked Ladies fan going into this show. That said, I’m also a sucker for bands who legitimately seem to like one another, and Barenaked Ladies most certainly fit the bill. They played “One Week.” They played “The Big Bang Theory” theme song. They danced to “Old Town Road.” Kinda became a fan of the band, some 20-plus years after they became a thing. Better late than never, I suppose.
Overheard in the Crowd: “Darius Rucker is in amazing shape.” That was me, and he is. Dude is 53, and good for him.
Random Notebook Dump: Props to the crowd on Friday night. They arrived early. They sang along. They stayed until the end. We '90s fans were always a loyal lot … You can tell it’s not just about money with Darius Rucker and the gang. If it were, they could tour every other year and just bank. As it stands, they only tour about once a decade … “Hannah Jane” is such an underrated track, a perfect album-starter … No throwback jerseys in the crowd, though I did see some dude in an Albert Pujols Angels jersey, which was certainly interesting.