In a time of cookie-cutter, bland vanilla pop, Blues Traveler still marches to the beat of a different distorted harmonica.
In the nearly 20 years I have been enjoying the music of these guys, they haven’t tried to reinvent themselves. Blues Traveler has done what many others haven’t.
They are still here. As I watch John Popper throw his head back and sing lyrics as if he is offering prayers to the almighty to save his soul, I can’t help but feel part of his emotion. That connection to a band, a singer, or a musician is what you should seek out.
The guys in this band are just laid back. I know that seems contradictory. I talk about feeling emotions and then about the laid back feel. They just seem so at home bouncing melodies and rhythms off each other. That comfortable air let’s you get wrapped up in the fabric of sounds that they weave.
Whether it is Chan ripping up a solo or Brendan laying a smooth groove on drums under the melody, you can just feel it. Tad, on bass, is the most mobile of the group. But even that just acts as a counterpoint and not a distraction . Oh, and that man can make a bass do some cool stuff. On the keys, Ben rides the wave and strengthens the overall sound. Screaming organ or subtle piano.
The set list was a little strange for my taste. I expected them to play more of their older songs and was hoping to hear some of their lesser known songs. They played extended versions of many of their hits with cover songs in the middle of the song. It wasn’t a turn-off but fans wanted to hear more original songs.
In my opinion, everyone seemed most enthusiastic as a whole when John Popper showed off his locomotive lungs with Run Around. And a nice addition to the show was when Robby the lead singer from their support band, Ripe, sang with John in a cover song of Bob Marley’s Could You Be Loved.
They also played Blow Up The Moon from their 12th studio album that shares the same name. It is a happy, boppy-pop sounding song. Half the crowd couldn’t stop moving and the other half didn’t seem to know what song was playing.
Blues Traveler is most know for their 6-time platinum album Four. That also netted them some Grammy nods. I can’t hide my bias for this band. They stand tall in a world of giants. It doesn’t matter what I say as long as I sing with inflection.