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Hootie & the Blowfish livestream from 2019, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2021

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Hootie & the Blowfish created plenty of memories during its 2019 Group Therapy reunion tour. But for the band itself, few shows were as meaningful as a three-night stand that September in Columbia, S.C., where the quartet formed in 1986 as students at the University of South Carolina.

The landmark will be revisited on Friday, April 23, when the film made from the shows is streamed online -- a visual souvenir from the first full-scale Hootie tour in more than a decade.

Since then the band members have gone back to their individual pursuits -- most notably frontman Darius Rucker scoring another No. 1 country hit with "Beers and Sunshine." Guitarist Mark Bryan, meanwhile, recently released his fourth solo album, "Midlife Priceless," and continues to produce other acts in the Palmetto State...

Bryan, 53, says that streaming the concert film is a nice way for he and his Hootie bandmates to revisit the 2019 tour, which did sell-out business around the country as well as in the U.K. and grossed nearly $11 million. "It's one of the best=looking and sounding productions of us I've ever seen, so I'm psyched about that. I'm psyched people who did get to see the tour get to relive it a little bit. It'll be nice to reconnect with the fans a little bit."

The success of the Group Therapy Tour, meanwhile, came as a bit of a surprise to the band, according to Bryan. "It was sort of the dream comes true all over again. Back in the 90s, when (success) first happened, it was, 'Wow, our dreams are coming true! Amazing!' Then we kind of went home, started families and everything. To be able to come back and feel that again and have everyone embrace it...was just spectacular. There was a warmth to it that was so special. It was a year to remember."

Despite all that, Bryan says the Hootie crew is not yet thinking about what it might do next. "We all kind of agreed during the last tour that it would happen again. Again could be three years, five years, whatever time is right. The tour did so well, it gives you that sort of 'rest easy thing' -- 'Wow, I guess we can do this whenever we want, based on the nostalgia from our past.' It gives you the feeling you can rest easy a little bit."

That said, Hootie did release a new album, "Imperfect Circle," after the tour, and Bryan said that was equally important for the band. "I don't think we'll ever do a project without making new music, too. That's who we are. We actually went into (2019) thinking we were going to put out the record before we go on tour so the tour would be about the record. That didn't happen. It's nice to know we don't have to make a new record before we go on tour, but I still like producing new music more than I like going on tour all year long."

Bryan considers the new "Midlife Priceless" to be his best solo record yet, and its diverse reach spans rock and country as well as touching on other genres. "All of these are songs that were pitched for the Hootie album that (the band) didn't record. I can't leave 'em just lying around; I should try to record them. So that's where this record came from. It's more about being a songwriter than anything else. You don't want to limit yourself, so you can write great songs in any style or genre and just go for it that way."

Hootie & the Blowfish revisits the Columbia, S.C. homecoming stop of its 2019 Group Therapy Tour reunion at 9 p.m. Tickets via sessionslive.com.

Web Site: www.sessionslive.com

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