I have been a fan of Travis for several years. A friend of mine suggested I try out this band that she had been listening to for a while. I decided what the heck–I didn’t have anything to lose. It was one of my best musical decisions. I got my hands on “Writing to Reach You” and I loved it. I’ve been a fan ever since.
Though I’ve been a long-time fan, I’ve never had the opportunity to see them live. I came close on October 11th, 2001, when they came to my hometown of Ann Arbor, MI. Unfortunately, that was to be my last chance for six years! Then I got one of the coolest birthday presents ever from my buddy Rohit, two tickets to a Travis concert here in D.C.! So this past Monday, June 16th, 2007, after many years of waiting, my girlfriend and I saw Travis live at the 9:30 Club in NW D.C. Here are my thoughts:
My opinion of the venue hasn’t changed since my review of Anna Nalick. The only difference this time was that it was much, much more crowded. This is understandable, since Travis is of a completely different caliber.
Having never seen them live, I was concerned that they would disappoint me. Some bands are great in a studio but horrible live. I think that Maroon 5 is a very good example of this phenomenon. They don’t even sound good on awards shows. I am happy to report that Travis did not let me down. They were everything I expected and more. The great thing about the band is that they had real personality. They didn’t just stand on the stage and sing (I’ve seen artists do this.) They actually gave us a show. The on-stage antics of the band were quite amusing. Only the drummer, Neil Primrose, seemed a bit subdued. I was a little concerned when guitarist Andy Dunlop climbed the speaker sets. Luckily, he didn’t fall and kill himself.
The music itself was incredible. They played a wide variety of their music spanning from their first album, Good Feeling, to their latest, The Boy With No Name. Of course I heard all of my favorites, including “Writing to Reach You,” “Sing,” “Pipe Dreams,” “Driftwood,” and “Eyes Wide Open.” The end of the main set was “Turn,” which is definitely a great. Things almost went awry when lead singer Fran Healy got shocked in the mouth by his mic and stopped the show. He was actually good-humored about it, but it did spoil the momentum of their last number. The encore was great too. I especially liked their performance of “Flowers in the Window“. I guess you could call it an acoustic version as all of the band members crowded around an acoustic guitar and a single mic and sang together. I also loved “Why Does it Always Rain on Me?”, when everyone (yes, me too) did the pogo for the last refrain. Oh, and you can’t forget their rendition of AC/DC’s “Back in Black” (which I am told by a critical listener was very good).
Another great thing about this concert was that it made me appreciate the music more than I did before. I’ve always liked “My Eyes” from The Boy with No Name. Before the band played this song, Fran paused and explained that he wrote this song the night he found out he was going to be a “papa.” Though I thought I understood the lyrics before, they suddenly seemed to be far more meaningful than before. This might sound lame, but I think it made the music a little more real for me.
If you want to actually hear what I heard, go to NPR. Click on the “Listen” link to hear the entire concert. It sounds decent, but it was so much cooler being there. In the end, I have to say that this will definitely be one the few concerts I remember in my life. I sang along to every song and I had the time of my life. If you ever have the opportunity, check them out live. If that’s not an option, I highly recommend their albums. Enjoy!