For those of you who think Travis is just a legacy act, touring behind the strength of the one hit they had in the States back in the 90’s, I really think you should reconsider. While they haven’t maintained the commercial success that came along with their chart-topping hit “Why Does It Always Rain On Me?,” they never stopped making music together and have put out five albums since. They deserve a lot of respect as they were part of that wave of British bands that also brought us Radiohead and Oasis. They laid the groundwork for the Britpop resurgence of the early 2000’s with Coldplay and Keane among many others. Also, they’re just a lot of fun to see live.
I’d never seen them before Friday, and I’m kind of jealous of those who have seen them evolve over the years. Having played together for almost twenty years now, there’s no question that they have great chemistry. The band seems to love playing for a crowd, and Travis lead singer Fran Healy was apologizing profusely for having taken such a long break from doing a show in Chicago. He made a good point though (which I’ll paraphrase), “We all have kids now, and we spend so much time in the studio making a record and making sure it’s perfect, and I think we wanted to do that with our children as well.”
The show kicked off with the first track off the band’s new album, which I listened to a bit this week and it’s pretty good stuff. If you liked anything by Travis before, but kind of lost touch with the band, you can jump right back in with Where You Stand. Then they took it way back to 2001 with “Sing” before bringing up the more recent “Selfish Jean.” It was that kind of set, Travis just weaving through their whole catalogue playing some deep cuts alongside the fan favorites. They played “Writing To Reach You,” which I totally forgot was by Travis! I really like that song, and always have. How did I forget that they sang it??
The crowd interaction with Healy was great. Someone in the audience was waving a Scottish flag and Healy gave him a big smile. He’s a passionate singer, though there are some notes he can’t quite reach anymore. He tried to get as close to the audience as he could, climbing on the rail that divides the stage from the crowd and moving all over the stage. It was a much higher energy show than I was expecting for some reason. I guess when I think back to how I remember Travis, it’s more pop than anything. They definitely proved that they can rock out with the best of them Thursday night.
The show started about twenty minutes late, so I had to bolt before the encore got going. I can’t believe I went to a Travis show and missed their biggest hit. I guess that means I’ll have to go see them again, which I’m more than happy to do. What I saw was a band nowhere near slowing down, so there should be many opportunities in the future if you couldn’t make it out to this show. There are a few more dates left in the US, so if you’re in Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, or San Diego you can still catch them before they head back across the pond.
If you’d like to see more photo’s from the show (mostly of Healy), check out the album I made on Facebook! (and if you really like that, why not “Like” us, too?)
Love Will Come Through
Where You Stand
Writing to Reach You
Blue Flashing Light
Flowers in the Window
All I Want to Do is Rock
Why Does It Always Rain On Me?