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July 20th, 2007
Travis @ Coachella, April 2007
Last night I saw Travis at what was decidedly a smaller venue than they’re accustomed to playing. Earlier in the day, just before interviewing the band, I had the chance to ‘chit chat’ (literally, the conversation happened on accident) with mega producer Nigel Godrich, aka the ‘sixth member of Radiohead‘ and longtime friend of Travis, who assured me that I was in for a real treat tonight, no matter how many times I had seen Travis before (that would be six). Nigel mentioned that he was tagging along with the band for a few North American stops for a couple days’ vacation.
Kool Haus was packed solid with fans, and when the lights finally dimmed, a movie opening theme – you know, the Metro Goldwyn Mayer one with the roaring lion – played, with spotlights circling their way through the audience. All of a sudden people started looking around INTO the crowd…apparently Travis were going to push their way through the crowd itself? Then the theme song to Rocky started playing and the boys appeared in satin fighting robes and boxing gloves, causing a parting in the audience as they made their way to the stage. What an entrance!!
Whatever you may think of Travis now – that they’re old, irrelevant, have been eclipsed by the likes of Snow Patrol or Coldplay (they’d argue that they’re doing very different things), no one can deny the pizzazz that frontman Fran Healy brought last night. If you’re not a fan of the new album, The Boy With No Name, no worries – the setlist was an incredible mix that relied heavily on material from their first three albums (and even one of the decent songs off 12 Memories, too).
Eyes Wide Open
Writing to Reach You
Love Will Come Through
As You Are
This Line Is Fine
All I Wanna Do Is Rock
Flowers In The Window
Humpty Dumpty Love Song
Why Does It Always Rain On Me?
I had nearly forgotten about 20 – I used to listen to that an old bootleg of it incessantly circa 2000-2002. Such a beautiful song and reportedly one of the first songs Fran had ever written. He said that when he played it for the first time for a friend, they asked “Whose song is that?” and when he replied, “Mine”, they said “No way!”
After he performed it alone on the acoustic, the rest of his bandmates joined him for a During Flowers In The Window singalong, during which Fran lifted his hands up and clapped while Andy finger picked and Dougie took care of strumming. So sweet!
During All I Want To Do Is Rock, guitarist Andy Dunlop was rocking out so hard he nearly tore his guitar cable right out of the amp as he charged into the audience and continued to play on the floor. And Fran encouraged people to take photos and video of the concert – despite tight security wishing otherwise – and upload it to YouTube so the band could add it to their MySpace page.
He then lamented the death of the CD, saying that nowadays everything is just a click away on iTunes or Limewire – that music is cheap, dispensable, and requires no effort or thought. And that he didn’t care how anyone had first heard the band or that they had bought their album – the true testament to someone’s fandom was ‘getting off your arse and coming down to see us play live’. After all, bands make their actual money off merch and ticket sales, not albums.
For the grand finale, the band’s 1999 breakthrough hit Why Does It Always Rain On Me?, Fran urged the audience to give their best effort at a straight up ‘pogo’. “This song was MEANT for pogoing!” he said. So for the final chorus, the crowd pogoed so hard we were all out of breath and dizzy by the end of it. What a way to go out. An incredible show!!
Photograph courtesy Getty ImagesTweet