Train in Mansfield, MA – June 8, 2022
A few weeks ago, Train released their eleventh album, and first in five years, AM Gold. The band came to Massachusetts to kick off the AM Gold World Tour. Joining them on the tour are legendary blues jam band, Blues Traveler, and the iconic singer-songwriter, Jewel.
After playing for 35 years, Blues Traveler has a devout following in the jam band scene. Amazingly after all this time, they still have all their original members, with the exception of their original bass player, Bobby Sheehan, who passed away in 1999. The band kicked off the tour with a 45 minute set that, in true jam band style, kept things flowing, and it was often hard to tell when one song ended, and another began. Frontman John Popper showed off his legendary harmonica skills, playing into a custom harp mic that almost look like a gas pump, with special buttons to change the effects on it. For the casual fan in the audience, highlights of the set were their huge hits, “Run Around” and “Hook.”
Fresh off her win on The Masked Singer last fall, singer-songwriter Jewel was next to take the stage. Opening with her hit “Hands,” off her second album, Jewel’s set was packed with hits from a career that now spans 25 years. There were a lot of events going on in Boston tonight, not only was game 3 of the NBA finals at the Garden, but a Beatle himself, Sir Paul McCartney, was performing his second night at Fenway Park. As Jewel addressed the crowd, she said “I’m so honored you all love me more than Paul McCartney to show up tonight!”
Songs like “Standing Still” and “Intuition” were great, and her massive hits like “You Were Meant for Me” and “Foolish Games” had the crowd singing along to every word. Jewel mentioned that this was the first show in seven years that she’s played with a band! She seemed to really enjoy the chemistry she had with these guys, as she turned their final song of the night, “Save Your Soul,” into a ten minute long jam.
Train’s new album, AM Gold, has a very different vibe than past Train albums. Fitting with the title, it has a very retro, almost disco vibe to it, and the music video for the title track looks like it was shot on an old Super8 camera. From the moment Jewel’s set finished, the PA was playing old tapes from American Top 40, complete with Casey Kasem’s introduction to each song. When Train emerged, playing “AM Gold,” the stage looked right out of the 70’s, as if they were playing on a TV show like American Band Stand. The song culminated with blasts of confetti, and then the band went straight into their debut hit, “Meet Virgina.”
The set had several songs off the new album, many of which were performed live for the first time tonight, but with 21 songs in their set, there was plenty of older material and other surprises played. Before the song “Save Me, San Francisco,” singer Pat Monahan asked Celtics fans not to hold their San Fran origins against them, and hoped they would still sing along (they did). We also had a handful of covers tonight. During the encore, Monahan said, “this is Boston, right?!” before playing “Dream On,” by Boston’s own Aerosmith. Earlier in the night, a cover of “Love the one You’re With” featured Blues Traveler’s John Popper on vocals and harmonica. The AM Gold track “Turn the Radio Up” features an appearance from Jewel, so naturally she joined the band on stage tonight. She stuck around for an extra song, which saw them covering ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.” I honestly can’t say I expected to hear that tonight.
As the show came to an end, the band gave it their all with mega hits “Drive By,” “Hey Soul Sister” and “Drops of Jupiter.” The modest sized crowd left here thoroughly satisfied, with hours of music, featuring more than three decades of hits from three great bands.