Everclear, Vertical Horizon, and Fastball Took Us Back In Time on Friday Night


It’s been non-stop tissues and DayQuil since I got back from Ohio. Festivals in the rain always look like so much fun in the movies but they never show you what happens after. I guess I found out the hard way. That being said, I haven’t been to a show since I got back and I have been going through withdrawals. That’s why, even though I am still constantly sniffling and my head feels like it’s going to explode, I went to the show Friday night. Well, that and because the band playing was one of my favorites of all time.

My friend, his girlfriend and I piled into my trusty little Prius and made our way an hour out of the cities (with a stop for Mexican food of course) for the show. The concert was being held at Treasure Island casino in Welch, MN. Our car ride was full of nostalgic 90’s songs and the drive quickly turned into a karaoke contest in preparation for the nostalgia that was to come. The three of us got into the event center, got our drinks, and found our seats. We prepared for the onslaught of 90’s throwback tunes with smiles on our faces.

The show started with Fastball. Out of the three bands on the bill, Fastball was the band that I knew the least about. Sure, I knew I would recognize at least one song from my childhood days of sitting next to the swimming pool as the radio played but that’s all I really knew about these guys. Much like the other two bands last night, Fastball seems to have never stopped producing music and, even though I didn’t keep up with them, it was clear that some people in the audience had. Their music has that typical 90’s vibe that make you want to just get outside and chill in the sun. A little happy-go-lucky with a little bit of a dark side, their music is perfect soundtrack music. It seems like, even though many years have passed, the three original members of Fastball have stayed true to their sound. Their new songs blended in perfectly with those songs I used to hear on the radio way back when.

After Fastball’s forty-five minute set, it was time for Vertical Horizon and to say these guys blew me away would be an understatement. I knew a couple of these guys’ songs just from sitting at the pool every summer as a kid but I had no clue that, like Fastball, they had continued with their musical endeavors and even have a new album coming out soon. Even though years have passed, singer Matt Scannell still had that quintessential and unique 90’s voice that he had way back when and instantly took me back.

Vertical Horizon’s new music seemed to stay with that whole 90’s vibe that they do so well but there was something very current about it at the same time. They played a brand new song last night that I could easily hear being in regular rotation on various radio stations. It felt a bit more mature than the music that I would associate with this band and that made their entire set feel refreshing and new. Even when they played some of their classic hits, there was this sense of energy about them that screamed “new band” not a band that has been around for decades.

As Vertical Horizon left the stage, I could feel the anticipation building up inside of me. Headlining the night was Everclear and they will forever be my favorite 90’s band. There was always something about their music that had me hooked. Singer Art Alexakis was one of my first celebrity crushes with his bright blond hair and charming smile. The walls of my childhood bedroom were plastered with pictures of Good Charlotte, New Found Glory, and various other bands that were featured in Alternative Press magazine, along with cutouts of Art and his band. Everclear was one of the few bands that, when I listened to them, my mom wouldn’t instantly go for the dial to change the song. Unlike my obsession with Slipknot, Everclear was an approachable band that my parents approved of and, because of that, they became the soundtrack to nearly every one of my summers growing up. Everclear has never stopped putting out music. With nine albums out that span over twenty years, they have proven to be a mainstay in many people’s play list.

Friday night’s show was part of the 20 year anniversary of Everclear’s album “So Much For the Afterglow”. The band wasted no time and jumped right on in blasting through the first half of the album. The first half featured majority of the hits from the album including “Father Of Mine”, “I Will Buy You A New Life”, and, my personal favorite, “Everything To Everyone”. Hearing these songs played in the order of the album was the best throwback anyone could ever ask for. Even though it has been twenty years, nothing about this band has changed and the sound was perfection.

After playing through the first half of the album, Everclear took a break to play some other songs both old and new. Even though the night was about “So Much For The Afterglow”, as a band with far too many hits to list, it was obvious that they were going to have to pull out all of the stop in order to keep everyone in the audience happy. After a handful of miscellaneous songs, they finished up their set with the second half of the album. “Guys! We are going to pretend to leave the stage but then come back out to play a bunch more songs!” bassist Freddy Herrera joked. (Side note, I noticed one of Everclear’s roadcases had the logo for The Exies on it. The Exies were a band that my brother and I obsessed over and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why Everclear had their case. Welp, Freddy was in The Exies… Mind. Blown.) Just as Freddy said, Everclear left the stage for no more than a minute or two and came back out on stage to finish up. Their encore included a handful of songs that everyone in the crowd clearly wanted to hear including Wonderful” which is easily my favorite song ever put out by these guys.

Friday night was the most perfect blast from the past you could ask for. Even though I was lost in a world of nostalgia for most of the night, there is no denying that all three of the bands that performed haven’t gone much of anywhere. They all had a passion for music decades ago and they didn’t let that passion flicker or fade. It was truly a beautiful sight.