Written by: Carl Johnson, Special to CC2K
When I got word that I was going to be able to shoot the band Travis I jumped up and down like a little schoolgirl. Travis has been one of my favorite bands since I caught them opening for Oasis in 2000, which was also the first US tour for the Scottish band.
Alot has changed in 9 years but one thing has remained constant, Travis puts on one of the best shows you will ever get to see.
I may be a huge fan but the packed show in Los Angeles proved that I might not be the only one.
The band was to do two shows at the much smaller Henry Fonda Theatre in Hollywood, but do to current shows that had been shut down do to overbooking the show was moved to a one time show at the much larger Wiltern LG.
Even singer Fran Healey had to comment on it, “I was worried no one would show up with the show getting moved.”
But everyone showed up, even some famous musicians such as Tony Kanal, the bassist of No Doubt who was not afraid of joining along with the audience to finish off the lyrics of “Sing”.
The set was one that was not solely focused on the new material off of album Ode to J. Smith, as you would expect from a band touring to promote a current release. This was a set anyone would have enjoyed.
Travis also proved they are willing to throw some curveballs into the mix. Midway through the classic song “Side” the band made a noisy interlude into “Eyes Wide Open”. Then with a seamless transition segued right back into “Side”. The audience absolutely erupted when this transpired.
“Sometimes you take a song off the setlist for awhile and just need to bring it back. If there was a national anthem for Travisland it would have to be this,” Fran explained as the band broke into the song “All I Want to Do Is Rock”.
Even though Fran is the voice of Travis, it is hard not to be excited when you get the chance to see bassist Dougie Payne take over on vocal duty. The ecstatic fans knew they were going to get a chance to hear his lovely vocals after Fran finished the first verse of “Turn”. Fran stepped out of the spotlight and guitarist Andy Dunlop climbed up a stack of Orange amps as Dougie started to sing. In classic rock fashion Andy jumped off the amps as he finished.
This would be the end to their set but like every show, you know there has to be an encore.
Fran came back on stage by himself after a single minute break. It wasn’t even enough time for the crowd to break into the usual chant of the group’s name.
“The boys needed a smoke and a drink so I am going to treat you to this B-side,” as he started to strum away on his acoustic and broke into “Sarah”, a song very few in the audience seemed to recognize.
I have to say I love when a band plays a song that is obscure. It makes for a special treat to those that actually buy the singles and collect those few rare songs that are left off an album.
The band came back on stage and broke into the song that was for most, their first exposure of the group. “Why Does It Always Rain on Me?” was complete with the entire audience, even the people in the upper balcony, standing up and doing the pogo. Sure Fran told them to get up, but everyone did join in.
On the 4th song of the encore, still with acoustic in hand, Fran started to strum the start of the final song on The Man Who, “Slideshow”. This was enough to make me go crazy, as I had not heard the band perform it since 2001.
It was even better when they broke right into the US exclusive secret song “Blue Flashing Light”. The light tech had this all planned out as the lights were coincidently flashing blue through the whole song.
Los Angeles was treated to an amazing set on this Friday night and I am sure it will be one that many others will be talking about 9 years from now.
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