Train Made a Stop in Saint Louis for a Hot, Sticky, and Memorable Show Saturday

Train performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Saturday. Photo by Greg Artime.

 

–by Randy Thompson and Vicki Lee

–photos by Greg Artime

 

Saturday night’s Train concert at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis was burdened with huge expectations. Of the four performers, one was a finalist on The Voice, a rising star and the other three can be considered legends in their own right. They all had a similar, formidable challenge on this particular evening, however… it was hot as hell! Pat Monahan, lead singer of Train, stated that this 100 plus degree night in St. Louis was hotter than anything he had ever experienced …. since birth! But the oppressive heat wasn’t enough to stop this concert from exceeding all expectations and so we embarked on a night of red-hot rock and roll.

Train performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Saturday. Photo by Greg Artime.

The opener was Thunderstorm Artis, a finalist on Season 18 of The Voice; he’s a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.  He is also a charming performer who joked that his parents thought they were having twins. One child would be Thunder and the other, Storm; however, he was just a big baby, so they decided to put the 2 names together and call him Thunderstorm. After hearing him sing you won’t forget his name.

Thunderstorm-Artis performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Saturday. Photo by Greg Artime.

He opened his set with a strong rendition of “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess. Thunderstorm plays layered guitar with superlative vocal skills, demonstrating great range.  After that, he settled in to play acoustic guitar, singing a few of his own songs from his EP “Haunted” and covered several songs with conviction and a soulful presentation. The crowd was surely impressed with his versions of “Hallelujah” and “Blackbird”. In twenty minutes, Thunderstorm certainly blew away the early crowd.

Thunderstorm-Artis performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Saturday. Photo by Greg Artime.

Full disclosure: the next band up was none other than Blues Traveler, one of my all-time favorite bands.  They have been extremely influential, particularly in the realm of the jam band scene in the nineties, along with bands such as Phish and the Spin Doctors, with whom they are loosely associated.

They are one of the few bands in rock history that has incorporated the harmonica as a primary instrument in the presentation of its music.  And it is not hyperbole to say that John Popper, their lead singer, is one of the greatest harmonica players in modern times. On this sultry night, he proved that once again. They played a generous amount of Traveler hits like “Run Around”, “Hook”, and “But Anyway” as well as “Funky Bitch” from the latest Grammy nominated disk, Traveler’s Blues.

Blues Traveler performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Saturday. Photo by Greg Artime.

Undeniably, most of these offerings are carried by Popper’s superior talent on the harmonica. However, I would be negligent not to give credit to the solid band behind him. These musicians have played together for a very long time and are a tight group who know exactly how to bring the audience along, powering the set with drum, guitar and keyboard solos on this humid and oppressive night.

Blues Traveler performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Saturday. Photo by Greg Artime.

Jewel was next up and everything about her was confident and joyful.  She started her set with the familiar hits “Standing Still” and “Hands” and in minutes the crowd began singing along and swaying to her music. She presented the new song “Long Way ‘round” from the new album Freewheelin’ Woman.  She spoke briefly about following the long way around to reach your dreams.  She followed it with “No More Tears” also new, briefly mentioning the charity work she is well known for.  The crowd knew her music well and sang along to the hits. Jewel played to her audience and made them feel as though they were a part of the show and her world. She was very personable and caring with a true sense of honor in her music as well as her actions off the stage. After a few more songs there was a pause when Jewel unveiled her surprise guest of the night. A guest that was “even bigger than the ghost of Prince”!  Her son, Kase, (10) stepped up to a drum set and they performed “You were Meant for Me”, one of her biggest hits, together. The audience shouted their appreciation for his courage, and it was a touching display of family unity.

Jewel performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Saturday. Photo by Greg Artime.

Jewel then introduced a song called “Hate Hate”, it’s “guaranteed to offend everyone” she said.  The song railed against bullying in all forms, making it clear that everybody needs to learn to hate hating, urging us all to drop our prejudices and realize our common humanity.  From the shouts and clapping, the audience seemed to agree with the sentiment. Before leaving the stage Jewel gave a yodeling demo bouncing yodel calls with the bassist Tim Marks replaying them, demonstrating her amazing vocal range and power. The rest of the band (guitarists Ryan Wariner and Stanton Adcock, keyboardist Jimmy Wallace and Drummer Mario Calire) were spot on. If you think her voice is amazing on CDs, you should treat yourself to her voice live!  Jewel closed her set with the audience singing along to “Who Will Save Your Soul” leaving us with a message of reflection, joy and hope.  The audience showed their appreciation loudly.

Jewel performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Saturday. Photo by Greg Artime.

The time had come for headliner, Train to take the stage. Even though the air was still thick with heat and humidity the crowd was on their feet jumping, dancing and making noise before the band took the stage. But when the venue filled with the sound of a train whistle, everyone knew that the time had come for things to start rocking.

As a matter of fact, the crowd stood from beginning to end, with the only lull for a set of acoustic songs. (even then some couples danced) It is hard to stay in your seat once Train pulls into the station and starts rolling out one well known hit after another.

Train performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Saturday. Photo by Greg Artime.

 

They opened with the first of several songs off their newest album AM Gold, but there were plenty of other hits to be sung, danced to, and shared with the audience as well.

Not only was the crowd treated to a cornucopia of new songs and greatest hits; they were showered by confetti cannons, allowed to throw cell phones on stage so that Monahan could take selfies while singing then toss the phones back to the owners.  If that wasn’t enough of a treat, during a mash up of “Meet Virginia/The Joker”, T shirts were launched into the crowd that said ‘Meet Virginia’ on them. Guitar picks were tossed out, and giant white and gold rubber balls were thrown into the audience and bounced around through the course of “Save Me, San Francisco”.

Train performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Saturday. Photo by Greg Artime.

The band members frequently switched instruments, with the drummer and keyboardist occasionally playing guitars and Monahan playing bongos and the guitalele. There was always action and movement on stage as well. Monahan and the rest of the band danced and strutted celebrating despite the sweltering heat.  Train’s two excellent backup singers were brought mid-stage to sing “Bruises” with Monahan. Both John Popper and Jewel made appearances with the band to the loud, joyous approval of the audience.

Train performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Saturday. Photo by Greg Artime.

The only break in the energy came when the lights when down and came up to Monahan centerstage to play the new song “It’s Everything” on the guitalele.  A quiet, acoustic number written during the pandemic about all the things to be missed.  It was followed by “Marry Me” and watching the couple in front of me sing to each other with their children between them you could easily see the importance of these songs to their fans. The last acoustic number “When I Look to the Sky” saw the band return to join Monahan and move the energy back up into “Calling All Angels” and forward toward the end of the set.  The band played two encores ending with their beloved hit “Drops of Jupiter”.  Through every song the audience was singing along, belting out the words we all knew by heart.

Train performing at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Saint Louis Saturday. Photo by Greg Artime.

Despite the heat, Train’s mission was to spread happiness. Their music is uplifting, bittersweet, full of joy, and hope. That idea was certainly obvious when one looked around the venue and saw nothing but smiles. The Train had arrived, and the goods were delivered.

Be sure to check out all the photos from the night below the setlists.

Thunderstorm Artis

Set List

Summertime

Oh Little River

Just like an Angel

Hallelujah

Blackbird

 

Blues Travelers

John Popper, vocals, harmonica

Chan Kinchla, guitar

Tad Kinchla, bass

Brendan Hill, drums

Ben Wilson, keys

Set List

But Anyway

What I Got

Funky Bitch

Run Around

A Hundred Years

Carolina Blues

Hook

 

Jewel

Set List

Standing Still

Hands

Long Way ‘round

No More Tears

Love Me, Just Leave Me Alone

Alibis

Intuition

You Were Meant for Me

Hate Hate

Foolish Games

Who Will Save Your Soul

 

Train

Pat Monahan, vocal, drums

Jerry Becker, keys, rhythm guitar

Hector Maldonado, bass

Nikita Houston, backup vocals

Sakai Smith, backup vocals

Taylor Locke, lead guitar

 

Set List

AM Gold

Meet Virginia/The Joker

If It’s Love

Get to Me

Running Back

Play that Song

Bruises/Love the One You’re With

Save Me San Francisco

Turn the Radio Up

Dancing Queen/Listen to the Music

It’s Everything

When I Look to the Sky

Calling All Angels

50 Ways to Say Goodbye

Hey, Soul Sister

Vacation

Drive By/Hey Jude

Encores

Dream On

Drops of Jupiter

2 thoughts on “Train Made a Stop in Saint Louis for a Hot, Sticky, and Memorable Show Saturday

  • July 21, 2022 at 12:20 pm
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    Diggin’ your reviews Randy! I enjoy hearing about the ones I couldn’t attend. And when it comes to the ones I saw too, I always agree with your expert assessment!! Keep up the great work!!!

    Reply
  • July 21, 2022 at 10:31 pm
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    Well written article. Feel like I was right there in the front row sweating with everyone else!

    Reply

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