Merlot Day at The Vineyard at Hershey

Merlot Day…is a concert? This might lead you to believe that Merlot Day is a wine-inspired cover band who plays exclusively at vineyards (who brings the house down with their encore rendition of UB40’s ‘Red, Red Wine’. That would be incorrect. Merlot Day is actually the name of a fabulous event at the Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey which features food trucks, a solid offering of local ciders (we’re not saying we tried the delicious Peanut Butter cider, but we aren’t saying we didn’t), wines, beers (including the release of their 2019 Merlot and Flash Gord’n pumpkin ale), and of course, a loaded line up of talented bands, headlined by The Wallflowers. Support acts Eve 6, (Blessid) Reunion of Souls, and The Great Enough also graced the stage after the opening act, cover band, All Jacked Up got things started. The event benefitted the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association (who had many members in attendance).

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The majority of fans showed up early on this picture-perfect weather day in Hershey, PA. Despite a few clouds, the temps remained in the seventies with low humidity all day, making it the ideal weather for an all-day, outdoor event. The gates opened at Noon and by the time The Great Enough hit the stage around 2:45 PM, there was a large crowd on hand. The Great Enough commanded the stage and quickly won over the crowd with their impressive performance. The four-piece alternative rock band from Philadelphia sprinkled in two covers (‘Mr. Brightside’ by the Killers and ‘Superstition’ by Stevie Wonder) with about a dozen of their original songs including ‘Say No’, ‘Die Young’, and ‘Bowerbirds’. The hour-long set was a real treat and a slew of people we spoke with told us that, although many of them didn’t know The Great Enough’s material at the start of the day, it turned out to be their favorite performance that day. This was evidenced by the crowd that mobbed The Great Enough following their set at their merch booth, clamoring for t-shirts, hats, albums, and of course, photos and autographs.

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Philly area fans can catch The Great Enough headlining a show at Milkboy on Thursday, August 29th with support from Kevin Schultes and The Wild Dogs. We will be there rocking out and you can snag advanced tickets to join us right here (and save yourself a few bucks over the door price).

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(Blessid) Reunion of Souls was up next and despite not having played together much over the past decade, they picked up right where they left off. Playing several cover songs, including a rendition of Bruno Mars’ ‘Uptown Funk’ and Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’, mixed in with some of their old fan favorites like ‘Hey Leonardo’ and ‘I Wanna Be There’, they bounced around the stage with a surprising amount of passion, clearly energized by the large crowd. You could tell they were really enjoying their time on stage together again and their set was a nice mix of tunes that the 21+ crowd could easily recognize and sing back to the band. We spoke with some of the guys after their set and while they are all doing their own thing most of the time these days, they enjoyed being back together and hope to keep it going heading into fall.

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Eve 6 turned things up a notch with their high-energy set. The three-piece band (four members if you count the sound tech who came out to play bass for one song on his birthday) might not be teenagers anymore, but their tunes have stood the test of time. Fans were clearly psyched to have Eve 6 on hand and the crowd participation definitely ratcheted up while they were on stage. We forgot just how many Eve 6 tunes we used to rock out to before they started playing and we soon realized we knew the words to practically every song. They belted one familiar tune after another, including ‘Nocturnal’, ‘Promise’, ‘On The Roof Again’, ‘Here’s To The Night’, ‘Amphetamines’, ‘Open Road Song’, ‘Think Twice’ and ‘Tongue Tied’ before wrapping up their set with ‘Superhero Girl’ and, no surprise, ‘Inside Out’. Eve 6 will be hitting the road next year for the 20th anniversary of their second album, ‘Horrorscope’. If you enjoyed Eve 6 back in the day, we promise you’ll still love them today.

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At long last it was time for the headliners, The Wallflowers, to close out the evening. As the sun began to set, The Wallflowers hit the stage and wasted little time getting into hits like ‘Three Marlenas’ and ‘6th Avenue Heartache’. From the stage, Jakob Dylan and company reprised the sound that made them so popular when they first formed decades ago. While the band sounded great, Dylan seemed annoyed at the crowd. At one point asking people to stop batting beach balls in the air and at another lamenting that the crowd wasn’t singing the words to ‘One Headlight’ loudly enough and he’d have to do it himself. Jakob, have a Snickers, you’re not you when you’re hungry. Or maybe just have some delicious Sittin’ Pickin’ Chicken from the food truck, we did. Despite Dylan’s gruff persona, The Wallflowers performed admirably. and most fans didn’t seem as bothered by Dylan’s Diva moments as we were. After ‘One Headlight’, the band finished their set on lesser-known songs ‘Shy of The Moon’ and ‘It Won’t Be Long’, before ending with a cover of Tom Petty’s ‘The Waiting’ (which was fitting as the next thing fans got to experience was the waiting in the parking lot).

All in all Merlot Day was a huge success in our eyes. The music was stellar, the food was on point, the weather was gorgeous, and the crowd, inebriated on wine and beer, set the tone for an all-around awesome afternoon.

[Photos by D. Jacob Miller & Jen Strogatz]

[Article by David Miller]

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