A crowd packed the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall to catch the sounds of Blues Traveler with ECTO, as they continued on their Blow Up The Moon Tour.
Before the crowd was to hear the harmonica of John Popper, the Jacksonville-based band ECTO would get the crowd warmed up with 90s cover songs ranging from Radiohead to Harvey Danger to the Violent Femmes. Those, along with an original ECTO song titled “Tuna Surprise,” delighted the crowd milling about throughout the venue. Guitarist Jerico Niezen and bassist Mitch Wylie exchanged duties midway through the set and continued to impress the audience, most of which had never heard of them. What followed included birthday wishes, a stage jumping fan, and a cherry popping announcement from none other than John Popper himself.
As the red curtains of the venue parted, Blues Traveler was on the other side as the crowd serenaded frontman John Popper with “Happy Birthday,” as the party for his 48th birthday began. Blues Traveler consists of John Popper on harmonica and vocals, Chan Kinchla on guitar, Tad Kinchla on bass, Ben Wilson on keyboards, and Brendan Hill on drums. A gracious Popper thanked the crowd and “Mulling It Over,” kicked off the last Florida stop on the tour.
“Girl Inside My Head,” “Crash Burn,” and “What I Got” warmed up the crowd. Then bassist Tad Kinchla tore up the stage with a bass jam before “Run Around.” Prior to “Run Around,” there was a brief intermission as a fan jumped onto the stage clearly to profess that she was their biggest fan. All in good fun and no harm done, the show continued as the band seemed delighted with her enthusiasm. The crowd sang along with “Run Around” and got a taste of the new album that drops on April 7th.
The new album titled Blow Up The Moon is a collection of songs and collaborations that includes “Castaway” and “Hurricane,” both of which would be part of the evening of music from the band who’s music spans 28 years. “Castaway” would be the first song off the new release and this would be just their fourth time performing it. Ethereal and flowing, “Castaway” is sure to be a hit with fans. “The Mountains Win Again,” “But Anyway,” and an acoustic version of “Regarding Steven” would proceed the first ever live performance of “Hurricane.”
The latter portion of the set included “Thinnest of Air,” “Carolina Blues,” and a kicking version of the Charlie Daniels band favorite, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” The evening closed with birthday wishes to a fan and the crowd jumping around to “The Hook.” Blues Traveler would encore with “La Grange” as the packed house roared with applause.
Blues Traveler will continue the tour on April 17th in Biloxi, Mississippi but leave the Florida crowd with memories resurrected and new ones made.