It’s a sad thing to see a band as important and once-celebrated as the Gin Blossoms reduced to playing a cheesy, Alton, Illinois (right outside of St. Louis) casino. Such is life.
Lead singer Robin Wilson managed to make the best of it, though, for two nights in July at the Alton Argossy Casino. Although the crowd was a little stiff—how could they not be with the bad lighting and sound, and rows of metal chairs set up more like a conference than a concert?—Robin grabbed hold of the set list, wadded it up into a ball, and threw it into the crowd with a cheeky grin. He would follow no rules, walking across tables to sing and even calling his niece on his cell phone to sing her the new single.
As if the casino setting wasn’t bad enough, a 7:00 pm gig, 21+ age restriction and $20 tickets didn’t do much to help. Still, the room was filled to a respectable number and everyone seemed pretty into the show. On the second night, Robin said between songs that they’d been to Fast Eddie’s the first night, met up with about twenty people from the show, and consumed “the best $1.09 cheeseburger I’ve ever had.”
Although guitarist Jesse Valenzuela in fine form, the band’s biggest mistake was playing too many new songs and not enough from one of the most important albums of the 1990s, New Miserable Experience. Where was “Until I Fall Away”? Where was “Mrs. Rita,” “29”, and “Pieces of the Night”? We were lucky enough to hear “Lost Horizons,” “Found Out About You,” “Allison Road” and “Hey Jealousy,” which they closed with to a standing ovation. They returned for an encore of an unknown new song that fell flat—they should have known that when their luck was high, they should leave a good thing alone.
But that, maybe, is the problem for everyone in a casino…
See the Gin Blossoms be humiliated as they come through St. Louis again Labor Day weekend at the St. Louis County Fair and Air Show.