Tonic / Tony the Tiger Sunbowl Halftime Show / 31 December 21 / El Paso Texas

By Tim Schumann

Every New Years Eve here in the BorderLand we have a college bowl game, yes, it’s the Sunbowl, past two years it’s been the Tony the Tiger Sunbowl and it takes place on the campus of The University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) but this is not about Central Michigan beating Washington State 24 to 21, no, this is about the halftime show put on by Speaking Rock Entertainment Center, which was Tonic.

The morning of the 31st the weather had set in, it rained all night and was continuing in the morning. Kick off was at 10 am, I knew the game was on, but a band playing in the rain, I don’t know, I guess we’ll see in an hour and a half, to my surprise, it had gotten to a very light sprinkle, oh yeah, show is on, 2 songs was it, If You Could Only See and Open Up Your Eyes and Emerson Hart, Jeff Russo and Dan Lavery had left the building. In reality, I was a bit surprised they played due to the soggy conditions.

Now, Speaking Rock Entertainment Center did this same thing on New Years 2019, but that time it was POD and the kicker was POD played again that night at Speaking Rock after the Sunbowl Halftime show, same thing this year with Tonic, shooting a national act twice in one day at two different venues, doesn’t happen often.

Tonic has been around since 93, founded by Emerson Hart and Jeff Russo, first release was in 96, Lemon Parade was the title of their debut album, followed by 4 more over the past 20 years,  hits like Open Up Your Eyes, If You Could Only See and You Wanted More were welcomed at both venues this day, classic hits, for me, memories flood in from the mid 90s, needless to say I enjoyed that trip down Memory Lane.

That evening at Speaking Rock, two more acts were added to the evenings card, Ghetto Blaster, a popular local cover band, which I must say was very entertaining, I loved the way each song blended into one another, not to mention, I’m friends with George and Scott, great guys, fantastic musicians, George sounds a little like Miles Kennedy, don’t tell him I said that though, but he really does.

Next up was Drowning Pool and who doesn’t like these guys, they are pretty regular here I must say, but always an outstanding show with Jasen and CJ, Bodies and Sinner are my favorite tunes from this band and I do believe they will be returning soon to the Rockhouse Dive Bar Kitchen Venue, this show will be a bit more up close and personal, the way I like it.

Around 11, Tonic hits the stage, but it had started up with the rain again as it had thought out the entire evening, what I’m I say, the entire day. Only the hard core stayed in attendance, the rain and cold wasn’t any deterrent for these individuals, these are the true fans.

All in all, what a full day of shooting outdoors in weird weather, but truth be told, I had a great time, this event is once a year and I’m already looking forward to it again, Tonic, Drowning Pool and Ghetto Blaster, now that’s the way to ring in the new year.

Full Tonic gallery below:

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