Review: Summerland 2016

It’s been five years since Everclear’s Art Alexakis and Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath put their collective fame together to create the epic-ly popular Summerland Tour. Now, for this momentous fifth anniversary, the two, along with tour alumni Sponge and Lit, have reunited for one very nostalgic nostalgia tour.

The 2016 Summerland Tour, which came to The Paramount on Long Island July 22, brought together elements of Summerland under Alexakis and McGrath’s later conceived Under the Sun Tour, for better or worse.

I’ve always loved the way the bands playing the Summerland Tour have this mutual respect for one another. The way Alexakis orchestrates this tour, where he introduces every band with such admiration and energy, is something I personally enjoy. It brings the show together into one cohesive night of rock and memories that transcends time.

And for the most part, this is what dictated how the night would go.

Starting things off, Alexakis introduced “Detroit rock city” band Sponge, who came out and performed with so much energy. Beer in hand and leather jacket wide open baring his tattooed chest, singer Vinnie Dombroski had this rock star swagger that dominated the stage. While their set only lasted five songs, it still packed a lot of punch. Ending with their biggest hit, “Plowed,” they really got the crowd pumped for the rest of the night’s bands.

After Alexakis’ introduction, calling out the band’s blend of all things California rock, Lit took the stage next to play new songs and old favorites.  The crowd went crazy for hits such as “Ziplock Bag” and “Miserable,” and especially “My Own Worst Enemy,” which the band ended their short, six-song set with. Singer A. Jay Popoff’s interaction with the audience also brought about a lot of energy as he walked out into the crowd several times.

McGrath followed to personally thank the crowd and introduce his good friend Alexakis’ band, Everclear.

Everclear always puts on an amazing show and Friday’s show was no different. The band’s set was filled with hit after hit, as well as fan favorites, like “Heroin Girl,” and “The Man Who Broke His Own Heart” from last year’s ‘Black is the New Black.’ During their final song, “Santa Monica,” Sponge’s Vinnie Dombroski sang a verse with the band, the closest thing to the grand finale performances we would get this year.

Finally, Alexakis took the stage once again to introduce McGrath and Sugar Ray. Busting out on stage to massive applause, Sugar Ray played the hits and a few deeper cuts. McGrath does a good job of interacting with his audience, relating the meanings behind some of the hits as he spoke in between songs.

The one thing noticeably missing from this year’s show was the big encore at the end. Usually, the show ends with a big finale performance of “Santa Monica” with members from all of the opening bands taking the stage with Everclear to play one last song together. As I mentioned, there was a small one at the end of Everclear’s set this year, but after Sugar Ray’s set, the show ended rather abruptly.  One of the things that makes the Summerland Tour so unique is the cohesiveness I mentioned earlier, and this detracted from that feeling a little.

The 2016 Summerland Tour brought together some of the best of 90’s rock bands on one stage for one epic night of music. Though Alexakis and McGrath had their past differences that drew them to venture out with separate tours, the two were able to bring their two visions together, melding together each tour’s strengths and weaknesses. While a little bummed about the lack of a blowout finale, each band brought so much love and energy to The Paramount that night.

Here’s to five more years of Summerland and nostalgia!

–Elise Jessica

P.S.: Check out photos from the show on my Facebook!

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