Dear Gin Blossoms,
I became a fan of your music back in the early 90s during my college days at the University of Kentucky. In the mid-90s I had the good fortune to sit in the front row at one of your concerts with the Goo Goo Dolls in a large venue. The show was great, the performance was full of energy and the musicianship was solid. Given your trademark sound, melody, harmony and hooks there has always been a wonderful consistency to your music.
So you might imagine how excited I was to hear a couple of months ago about your scheduled performance at our very own Naper Days Festival here in our community of Naperville, IL. With company in from out-of-town, we spent the whole day in Downtown Naperville yesterday building up to the anticipation of your show on the grounds of Naper Settlement. In a way, I hope that you might have paused for moment as you stood on stage facing the Mitchell Mansion and the grounds of Naper Settlement, which I was told you had ventured around prior to the show, to realize that history doesn’t have to be something that is lost in the past.
Here in Naperville, we take great pride in our town, our history, our passion as we look toward the future. I only wish you could have taken a little more pride in your performance at Naper Days. As I stood there listening to your catalog of familiar tunes as well as some excellent new songs, I was in disbelief over the flat notes, missed notes, sloppy musicianship, massacred harmonies and general stage apathy. The expression “going through the motions” would have been a compliment. I thought to myself throughout the evening that you can pay the band to play, but you can’t pay them to care.
The complete and utter lack of motivation was echoed toward the end when Robin Wilson informed the audience that “If you see a ferris wheel this summer, there is a good chance there might be a Gin Blossoms concert nearby”.
Granted, I know that you’ve played larger venues in front of larger crowds… there were days when your music received greater airplay and you enjoyed more widespread popularity. But rather than lament the past, why not take pride in the present and be thankful for the fact you still have an audience, great music to your credit and an opportunity to take the stage to perform and make a good living doing what you love. Be proud of your music, your history, your present and your future. Even more, don’t take a single day for granted.
To the organizers of Naper Days, thank you for another great festival and thank you even more for bringing bands like the Gin Blossoms to the stage. Please don’t take this posting as any form of discouragement toward future bookings. You are on the right track coming into line with Ribfest and Last Fling entertainment which we Napervillians cherish. In the end, you can pay the band to play and hopefully future acts will better appreciate the opportunity. SM