After 10 years, Hootie & The Blowfish are back on the road for their Group Therapy Tour.
After years apart and separate musical journeys, Hootie & the Blowfish has gotten back together again for their Group Therapy Tour. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of their major label debut, Cracked Rear View, the band that helped breathe life into the ’90s alternative rock movement are hitting the stage alongside Canadian fellow ’90s group Barenaked Ladies.
The time-bending, nostalgia-driven concert tour kicked off May 30 in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and is scheduled to end October 16 across the pond in Birmingham, England.
“We’re bringing you a hell of a show,” says Blowfish founding member and lead guitarist Mike Bryan. “We’ve been jamming with the guys from Barenaked Ladies, and we’re coming up with songs to do together, so you’ll have some good jamming between the two bands. …”
Their most recent show in Dallas at the Dos Equis Pavilion didn’t disappoint. Hootie & the Blowfish are back and better than ever.
With a well-balanced set list that included covers like R.E.M’s “Losing My Religion,” Led Zeppelin’s “Hey Hey What Can I Do,” and Radney Foster’s “Fine Line,” lead singer Darius Rucker’s solo crowd pleasers “Wagon Wheel” and “Alright,” and generational hits like “Time,” “Hold My Hand,” “Let Her Cry,” and “Only Want to Be With You,” Hootie & the Blowfish had more than enough material to satisfy fans across genres, from alternative grunge rock to toe-tapping country.
Hootie & the Blowfish and Barenaked Ladies — whose hyped opening set alone is well-worth the ticket price — even delivered on their ‘90s super-band promise with a knockout rendition of the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends.”
The diverse set list is impeccable, but that’s not what makes this tour so special and emotional to witness. Hootie & the Blowfish have been disbanded for several years and the band members had seemingly moved on. Rucker has a thriving career in country music and Mike Bryan has his Emmy-winning show, Charleston Music Hall. Fans had decided that they needed to move on, too, even though they never fully gave up their love of the music.
The performance felt like a huge reunion and had a surreal and joyous sense of shared rediscovery. Wherever everyone had wandered in the meantime, the only place they wanted to be was together immersed in the music.
Different generations of fans collectively experienced something they thought they’d lost. And the contagious energy, giddiness, and camaraderie of that transcended nostalgia.
The band could feel it, too.
“I’m excited that the fans are as excited as they are about it,” says Bryan. “You get that with super-cool energy between the band and the audience, and you can’t miss. … I think you look at all the jobs that people are doing out there from the musicians right down to the PAs and everybody is probably doing the job that they most want to do. So when you have an environment like that, it’s always a good feeling.”
What’s in store next for the group? Well, we won’t have to wait another 10 years for another reunion.
“We have a new album, so as the summer goes on, hopefully we’ll be able to release some songs from that and be playing those live and incorporating that into the show, and that’ll be really fresh and new and exciting.”
Hootie & the Blowfish are currently on their Group Therapy tour. Get tickets on their website.