Ever since Drops of Jupiter hit the charts 16 years ago Train have had a connection with their UK following unlike many other US acts. Anticipation built as they signalled their arrival with the now ritualistic steam train gaining momentum. Among the steam and whistles Pat Monahan and his band took to the Eventim Apollo stage to a rapturous reception with the crowd eager to get the last night of all English dates off to a fervent start.
Kicking off with Drink Up from the bands most recent album A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat, they judged the crowd perfectly and raised the noise levels yet further and a feel good atmosphere was set for the next couple of hours. An early mix of songs across their many albums saw everyone in the diverse gathering catered for. Train has certainly picked up a lot of new fans since Save Me San Francisco, but they have never forgotten those early tracks that set the easily identifiable Train sound.
The tour has been pushed as not only a support of the latest album, but also a celebration of all their albums to date. With that in mind, they have been asking via twitter for suggestions on what tracks people would like to hear that evening. While Pat wasn’t sure whether this was genius, or stupidity, it did allow for a couple of real standout moments of the evening. Firstly, harping back to the Drops of Jupiter album, they played the beautiful (and rarely heard) Hopeless. A number of people still see Train as a band with big hooks, and even corny lyrics at times, but there is no doubting their ability as song writers when you hear tracks such as this.
The sound in the Apollo only enhanced the tone and quality of Pat Monahan’s voice, and never more so than when the band left the stage for an acapella, unamplified version of Always Midnight, off of Pat’s only solo album to date. A truly memorable moment was created as the five thousand in attendance fell into silence and enjoyed an artist in his element.
Having slowed it down, the tempo was uplifted again with the anthemic Parachute followed by a mash up medley of their own Mermaid, Ed Sheeran’s Shape of you and a finish of the uplifting Lost and Found, complete with dance routine. With everyone back in the party mood, the set closed out with Hey, Soul Sister, and Play That Song. Leaving the stage to a deafening applause it was never going to be a long wait for the band to return to the stage for a three song encore, culminating in their smash hit, and signature song Drops of Jupiter. The crowd had been amazing all night, but I doubt there was single member of the audience not singing along at this point.
The band and Pat himself, seem to truly love what they do, rivalled only by Kip Moore, in giving the impression they would happily play for nothing if that was their only option. As it is there are plenty on board with Train. The interaction with the crowd was easy and flowing all evening, even getting audience members (with varying success) to help on Ashley Monroe’s lyrics on the country ballad Bruises.
It’s hard at times to pigeonhole Train into a musical genre, and why should we try. Part pop, part rock, a hint of country, all I know is they never disappoint and continue to be one of the best live bands around in my opinion. I have never come out of a gig disappointed, and what more can you ask for than that. I look forward to once again hearing that familiar train pulling into the station to put on another memorable evening.
Set list: 1. Drink Up 2. 50 Ways to Say Goodbye 3. If It’s Love 4. Get to Me 5. Angel in Blue Jeans 6. Hopeless 7. Cab 8. Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty cover) 9. Save Me 10. San Francisco 11. Calling All Angels 12. You Already Know 13. Meet Virginia 14. Bruises 15. Drive By 16. Always Midnight (acapella) 17. Marry Me 18. Parachute 19. Mermaid / Shape of You / Cheap Thrills / Treat You Better (medley) 20. Lost and Found 21. Hey, Soul Sister 22. Play That Song 23. Working Girl 24. Under Pressure (Queen cover) 25. Drops of Jupiter Performance date: 23rd October 2017