Central Florida blues fans travel to the esteemed Orlando House of Blues to spend a memorable evening with Blues Traveler celebrating their thirtieth anniversary.
Blues Traveler, a name well-known as a bluesy, folk-rock “jam-band” since the late 80’s, continues to move forward in their musical career with the celebration of their thirty-first year as a band and a twelve studio album catalog. Traveler has had its share of career hurdles and obstacles over the decades. Despite the death of a founding member, bassist Bobby Sheehan, lead vocalist Popper’s horrific motorcycle accident, and a separation from a major record label in 2002, Blues Traveler have had and continue to have a solid reputation for all out “jam session,” live performances. This evening was no exception.
The House of Blues doors opened at 7 pm, to a mass of Blues Traveler fans adorned with various pieces of classic concert swag featuring the bands iconic, black cat mascot. The venue was packed to capacity this evening, evidence that their fans are well aware that their ticket purchase has granted them access to one of the best “live jams” in the touring music scene today.
At 9:30 pm, sharp, stage lights dim, house music is silenced and the band members of Blues Traveler are seen taking their perspective positions in the shadows. The lights come to life, and standing center stage is a smiling and vibrant John Popper wearing his signature black hat. “Hello, Orlando!” Popper belts out across his microphone. The crowd answers with applause and Popper leads his crew into one of the first songs Blues Traveler had ever written, “Sweet Talking Hippie.” Right out of the gate, Blues Traveler is tight and polished, lacking the typical “warm up” song as many live acts need. The band transitions into “Mountain Cry,” and then “Looking Up,” before dropping the first Easter egg of the evening. “Moby Dick” the classic jam by Led Zepplin, took over the stage as Blues Traveler paid homage to Zep’s rhythm section with their own tasteful version. Followed up by bassist Tad Kinchla moving into the spotlight and laying down one of the most groove-a-riffic and funk-a-fiable bass solos that ever smacked a four string across the HOB stage. Kinchla’s string shenanigans segued perfectly into the band’s most radio-friendly track “Run Around.” Audience angst continues to build as the song breaks, and John Popper dives deeply into a powerful harmonica solo that sends a barrage of wailing notes directly into the front roar of cheering fans.
Traveler presses on through the evening, covering material from all moments of their career including the brand new tracks “The Wolf is Bumping,” and “Ode From the Aspect.” As the evening begins to come to a close, Blues Traveler performs their arguably most famous track “Hook” to a standing ovation. The last notes of “Hook” ring out, as the crowd assumes that the night is over. The rouse is cut short as Popper takes the microphone and fires the latest track at the audience, “She Becomes My Way.” Follow this with a smoking encore performance of the ZZ Top classic “La Grange,” and you have just finished a musical magic carpet ride that has lasted nearly two hours. Exhausted fans, exhausted band, and a plethora of great memories spilled everywhere, making a ticket purchase to a Blues Traveler show a great investment into your concert-going experiences. Now three decades strong, Blues Traveler shows us that they’ve still got it…and then some!
Event Date: 10-FEB-2018