Nashville, Tennessee — On their next-to-last tour stop in the United States, the reunited Hootie and the Blowfish blew the roof off Bridgestone Arena in a sold-out show.
The Group Therapy Tour coincides with the 25th anniversary of the band’s breakthrough album, Cracked Rear View, now certified 21-times Platinum, and the crowd was on their feet throughout the night singing along to the album’s classic songs “Hold My Hand” and “Time” before raising their lit-up cell phones for the Grammy Award-winning ballad, “Let Her Cry.”
Frontman Darius Rucker and guitarist Mark Bryan met in the 1980s when they were freshmen at the University of South Carolina. Eventually, they collaborated with bassist Dean Felber, a former high school bandmate of Bryan’s, and Brantley Smith who was the drummer. Shortly thereafter, Smith was replaced by Jim “Soni” Sonefeld. The band’s lineup has remained the same ever since. Rucker related, “After Soni auditioned for the band he said he wanted to help write songs because he knew we were writing the songs we were going to play.” Soni said, “I’ve got a song.” Darius continued, “We were kind of [jerks] about it.” Then Soni played the now-iconic “Hold My Hand” and rest is history.
They also covered 54-40’s “I Go Blind,” Led Zeppelin’s “Hey Hey What Can I Do” and R.E.M.’s “Losing my Religion.” Rucker explained, “For every band, there is that one band that is the band you wanted to be. And when we started in 1986, this band [R.E.M.] was everything to us.” They also covered the country standard, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
In November, Hootie and the Blowfish will release their first album in nearly 15 years, Imperfect Circle. They recently released the first single from this album, “Rollin’” which has that classic Hootie vibe. They played this soon-to-be hit for the audience and it was well-received.
The multi-talented opening act, Barenaked Ladies joined Hootie and the Blowfish on the final song before the encore, singing the Beatles’ crowd favorite, “With a Little Help From My Friends.” For the encore, the band treated fans to an intimate performance of “Goodbye” before bringing the energy back up with a little bit of Kool & the Gang’s “Get Down on It” mixed into their final song, “Only Wanna Be With You.”
Hootie & the Blowfish’s Group Therapy Tour continues with a three-night stand in the band’s hometown of Columbia, S.C. on September 11, 12 and 13 before the band takes their show to the U.K. & Ireland next month.
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