Train, Blues Traveler and Jewel bring the flavor of a family rock festival
To an audience that spanned nearly every age the Train, Blues Traveler, Jewel concert on Aug. 2 at Climate Pledge Arena was a kind of throwback. Throughout the show the rock festival atmosphere was evident with kids, teens and plenty of seasoned citizens dancing, singing along and truly enjoying the show.
It was a homecoming of sorts too for Train lead singer Pat Monahan who noted he has lived in Issaquah for more than 20 years, and Blues Traveler leader John Popper who lives in Snohomish. Even Jewel touched on her local roots during the show.
It was obvious too that many friends and family members were in the first few rows.
Opening the show was Thunderstorm Artis whose smooth rasp was a soothing introduction. The multi instrumentalist singer songwriter rose to national fame on NBC's The Voice in 2020 and has a new album out on Sept.9 called Take Me To the Fire. He performed his new single "Oh Little River."
When Blues Traveler took the stage the crowd seemed to reflect their energy, letting out a roar as the band, led by John Popper since 1987 blasted out their top five hits in an all too brief a set. They also welcomed Thunderstorm back to the stage to perform John Lennon's Imagine that was the first of many cover songs during the show.
Popper, who is 55, is the turbo generator for Blues Traveler and he eats the harmonica like a famished squirrel. He wore his trademark black shirt and hat. His voice, by now familiar to his fans for hits like "But Anyway" and "Run-Around" was strong and he was in good spirits, throwing harmonicas (he has his own signature model made by Fender) out like party favors.
Chan Kinchla delivered blistering solos and slipped behind the amps between songs to vape and blow clouds into the colorful beams of the spotlights.
They developed their reputation as a jam band and every member got a chance to shine with bass and drum solos featured.
The Charlie Daniels cover, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" was a highlight of their set.
Jewel strode on the stage like an artist who has sold more than 30 million albums in her signature look, hat with hatband and feather and a very homespun crocheted quilt style dress. The crowd did more than just sing along. Many ladies were in long dresses, and hats too, and danced throughout her set. She opened with "Standing Still" from her fourth album released in 2001. She sashayed through her many hits including "You were meant for me", "Hands", "Stand", "Satisfied" and from 2019 "No More Tears" which was written and recorded for Lost in America, a documentary about youth homelessness in America. Her interest and support of youth is exemplified by her Inspiring Children Foundation, which was featured on video screens during her set.
She even brought her son Kase on stage to perform on the drums. The duo also sang a brief duet.
When she began a slow blues song it might have taken some in the audience by surprise but it soon became apparent she and her able backing band were doing "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin. When they kicked it into high gear it was a rock band in full flight. She shared that her song "Save Your Soul" was partially written at a truck stop in Seattle overlooking Lake Washington when she was 16. Her training as a yodeler and in opera were evident, with her voice almost overpowering even some of the other instruments at times. Soul stirring stuff indeed.
Train showed up to a by then jubilant crowd and led with the title track from their newest album AM Gold and a clear voiced Pat Monahan still enjoying the song.
Their hit "Meet Virginia" was next and Train did a mashup with Steve Miller's "The Joker" during which he threw T-Shirts to the crowd and donned a Seattle Kraken jersey (something the band does at ever tour stop honoring a local team) and got the band to sign it, giving it away too.
Confetti cannons went off during "If It's Love" and then the party atmosphere kicked into another gear.
During the song "Bruises" he brought out his 13 year old daughter Autumn to perform a duet, further cementing the family vibe.
Throughout their nearly 20 song set it was like hearing many other bands on stage as they did duets with John Popper of Stephen Stills, "Love the One Your With", and with Jewel, Abba's "Dancing Queen", and the Doobie Brother's "Listen to the Music" again with Popper.
The band also produced a large number of beach balls, thrown out into the crowd also just like an outdoor rock festival.
During "Marry Me" an actual marriage proposal took place and Monahan shared it with the crowd, putting the couple up on the video screen.
The importance of family and human compassion was part of every band's performance and was a kind of unspoken theme for the entire show.