Results tagged ‘ Train ’

Train Took Us on a Perfect Musical Trip

From the moment the Train whistle first made its echo throughout Tropicana Field, until Train lead singer Pat Monohan’s last gracious words of gratitude towards the loud assembly of Tropicana Field back-up singers who collectively started swinging and swaying right in tune with Train’s first offering, “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” and didn’t stop even as the band made their exit stage right.

I hope the Rays and their fans take it as an ultimate compliment that the band “wanted” to come back and play after a game, possibly setting the stage last night for possibly the Rays concert conductor to post them again in the future. I love it when I hear gushing compliments from the musical acts, and last night I heard the same kind of vibes I have overheard from LL Cool J and ZZ Top who also made return engagements within the Trop. this season.

And Train not only delivered with gusto last night, they might be the one band I have seen during the entire Rays Concert Series who had such a great time up on the stage performing post-game as there were miles and miles of smiles from ear-to-ear from every member of the band from the first note, to the last. That kind of excitement and good vibrations does rub off on the assembled masses, and they were noisy, singing every verse and looking like a sea of humanity from my perch in the front of the stage for the first 3 songs.

A lot of that has to be the great music that blasted out from the stage, but you can not discount for a moment the charismatic and appealing vocals of Monahan who once played in a Led Zeppelin cover band before becoming a firm grounding point and vocal reference for this band from the San Francisco bay area. From their long time classics “Drops of Jupiter”, “Meet Virgina”, “Calling All Angels” to their new found classic tunes “Marry Me”, Save Me San Francisco”, “Hey Soul Sister” and their last offering “Drive By”.

As you can tell, I am a Train fan, but I was not an adamant Train listener until their first trip through Tropicana Field back in 2010 when Monahan did an impromptu race around the Trop turf with Rays Security in pursuit to protect Pat from his overly-zealous fans. But that is another of things I found appealing from this band, spontaneous decisions based on the vibe and music, possibly ending with a stroll around the outfield.

I can bet I’m not the only one hoping to see Train again in 2 years or so because this band definitely delivers a true and hearty meal of beats and tunes with a perfect mixture of past and present from their first self-titled album “Train” back in 1998 to their latest “California 37”. Some band tend to phone in their older classics, but Monahan and crew puts on a stellar show on that small Rays stage that ultimately make you want to hear them again, possibly on the drive home just to revisit the whole fantastic experience. How many days until Train returns again to embrace us all with their music?

Here is my public access Flickr Photostream with all of the Train concerts photos

Just Like a Musical Avalanche, Goo Goo Dolls Picked Up Speed and Swept Us Away

Taking photos during a concert sometimes comes with their own hidden dangers. Now I am not talking about the time Vanilla Ice wanted to get every photographer wet in the pit, or even when Pat Monahan of Train decided to do an impromptu journey around the Trop turf. Sometimes artists just do not like the camera.

That same scenario came to head Saturday night during the Goo Goo Dolls show during the Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series. It has been common knowledge to those who follow music that Goo Goo Dolls lead singer John Rzeznik’s propensity to be camera shy. Most people might not know that in the beginning Rzeznik would not sing due to his shyness.

So the night was an adventure in creative poising and posturing, hoping for the right shot, or maybe even a facial glance towards a lens. Not going to say the night was a total success, but Rzeznik did give me a few well aimed photos, and a night to remember.

Ironically, it was after their third song “Here Is Gone” that Rzeznik began to unfold his personality and. the real concert went from 0-60 in a flash.

Here is a bit of Goo Goo Dolls trivia for the Rays Republic, Rzeznik did not officially become the voice of the band until their third album “Hold Me Up: in 1990. Previously it was Robby Takac the band wild bass guitarist that took the mic before Rzeznik became comfortable and they started cranking out their many hits.

The band’s 17-song set was a huge flashback for some fans that displayed just how much the band had matured and grown as artists since their first hit. From their first song of the night “Last Hot Night” to their final song “Broadway”, the band really did take us down an interesting path with Rzeznik becoming more and more personable as the night went along.

Even with the bump in the road in the beginning, this was a great concert filled with songs we all knew by sound, if not by heart. From “Slide” introduced second on Saturday night to “Iris” being performed in a different way, but still have the same heart string pulls of emotion. This is a band that embodies the 1990’s in so many ways, even though their biggest hit “Iris” did not hit the charts until 1998.

After the third song with our cameras in our bags and non of us milling about the photo pit, truly the night began to shine for Rzeznik and the rest of the Goo Goo Dolls. It truly was a great way to bring to a close the Go-Go Goo Goo weekend of concerts. By the way, the Rays did ask about the possible inclusion of possibly Lady GaGa performing, but the team balked at a $ 1 million asking price.

Still a Go-Go Goo Goo Gaga weekend would have been beyond historic. Still, the Goo Goo Dolls were the perfect cheery on top of the 2 concert events, complete with smoke machines, a light explosion and the vocals of Rzeznik that you could recognize even in a vacuum. It was seriously that good.

Even as the assembled masses were trying to get the band to come out for an additional song, their 17-song set and night was over just before the clock neared the midnight hour. I especially like their rendition of the classic 1977 Supertramp hit “Give A Little Bit”. No disrespect to the 1970’s iconic band, but I enjoyed Rzeznik’s personal changes and riffs a bit more than the original.

In the end as band that began their journey with the name The Sex Maggots and were banned by some promoters in Buffalo, New York from clubs found their groove. Even Rzeznik found his rhythm, found his voice and provided another moment in Rays concert history we will all never forget, especially the photographers’.

Goo Goo Dolls Rays Renegade Flickr Photostream

Looking Back at the Rays 2010 Concert Series…Part 2

 


 

So after a few days getting over a slight bit of misfortune of food poisoning eating some I relish…a hot dog, Ironically, it was my last hot dog of the year at a local High School football game against a bitter inner-city rival that took me down…Figures, thanks Northeast H S.


No more stalling, time to get this final edition of the Rays 2010 Concert Photos underway. One of the greatest thing I like about music is that the first few song of the musician’s sets are sometimes pre-programmed to get the crowd into a rising energy so that the concert can take a particular flow throughout the night.

The first seven concerts of the 2010 Rays Friday Fest and Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series definitely set of tone for the final second half. From John Fogerty to Barenaked Ladies, the Rays concert events began and uphill turn that never ended to the last event of the year, Bret Michaels. Each of the 14 concerts this year left a special mark with me. I was lucky to take photos during 12 of the 14 Rays concerts and get in tune with practicing my concert photography.

 

I am not a professional photographer, and my little Fuji S5100 has seen better days (Thanks drunken Yankee fan), but I think I do the best with what I got. Sure would love a $ 4,000+ Canon or Nikon camera body and a lens as long as my arm, but that is not in the slim, money-less budget right now. Now back to the awesome years in Rays music.


 

 

Vanilla Ice did not attract as many to the Trop’s infield as I might have thought for his concert, but it was the most high energy event of the year. Vanilla Ice has changed his modes operandi to push more towards the hard guitar and drumbeats that pumped through the crowd like a large heartbeat. Combine that with the (I thought) whimsical idea of Vanilla Ice trying to get the photographers’ wet, and you get a audience/photog participation event. This was the first of three straight Friday Fest concerts that would hit all spectrums of the music World, and it hit on all levels.


Sure most in the front photo pit with me that day did not totally see eye-to-eye with the whole water and expensive cameras’ bit, but I was laughing and having a good time dodging the 20 ounces of unexpected water, and a few time Vanilla Ice looked down and smiled at me that I seemed to have understood it was part of his method…or his madness. It was tied for my favorite Rays concert offering of the season, and a great way to push off the second half of the concert schedule.

 

Of course there was one concert missing from this list this season, and I want to send out good vibes hoping that GoGo’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin recovers perfectly from her ACL injury sustained when she fell while hiking near her home in California. With up to a year recovery time for such an injury, hopefully we can again see the GoGo’s possibly perform in the future. It is a great concert event that I have not missed (even in Jannus Landing) since the band first started coming to the Tampa Bay area.


 

 

Los Lobos is one of those bands that I do not think would have ever hit y musical tastes if not for their great rendition of the classic Ritchie Valens “La Bamba“. I also would not have known that recent Oscar winner T-Bone Burnett produced their first album “How Will the Wolf Survive” and one of the songs from that album is playing over the opening credits to the Sean Penn/Robert DeNiro classic “Colors“.


My first tastes in live music were preserved in a small beachside bar in Maderia Beach, Florida that a certain well known Florida ocean troubadour used to frequent named Jimmy Buffett when he came up to see his band pal Mike Utley.

I got used to hearing tunes that flowed with the waves and just seemed to roll in the ears and settle for a while to sit and ponder things. I got the same vibe from this Friday Fest concert by Los Lobos. It might have been more refined to a South Texas border town that a beach resort on the Gulf of Mexico, but the whole time I was wishing for a boat drink…or a shot of Avion (thanks Entourage).


 

 

The next Rays Friday Fest event featured a band that to this point had to be the most audience involved and totally choreographed dancers of the Rays concert series. Felt kind of eerie at first covering the Village People concert more for the fact of having to remember what I wore back then, and seeing myself again with long curly hair, but I took one for the team here.

Seriously, it was a great event in that we got to see most of the original members of the band still out there supporting their music and dancing their well known routines. But it did seem a bit unusual to me to see rhinestones and glitter on a construction worker…just saying.


It was another high energy night and a great moment if you are fond of the 1970’s or even want to remember back that far. I even found a bit of glitter all over me camera when I took it out of my backpack when I got home. As a nice sidebar to this concert, after I posted my concert review, the Indian from the Village People actually Direct Messaged me on Twitter with a cordial thank you for covering the event. It was a great time in my life, so maybe I should thank him again for helping remember some great moments in my life sans the platform shoes.

 

 

Train really did roll in to the Trop for the next concert event. This is one of those bands right now that are right on the cusp and thoughts of so many in the music World because of their song “Hey Soul Sister” plus the million of samplings of the song in countless commercials and advertisements Worldwide right now.


Train front man Pat Monahan also did one of the coolest things I have ever seen done ( so far) during a concert when he posted two pictures of the crowd during their song “If It’s Love” that I still have as my desktop background on my aging laptop. Monahan also became the second performer to do an infield sprint around the Trop when he started an impromptu walkabout from the stage to the area near the Visitor’s dugout.

Reminded me a lot of the same run M C Hammer had done two years earlier, but Monahan seemed more at ease strolling amongst the 4,000+ fans on the Rays Field Turf.


 

 

Allison Iraherta was not originally suppose to open for Adam Lambert, but Orianthi had to pull out of the opening act gig after some family situations. Iraherta still looks a bit nervous and wooden on stage, but her music more than makes up for any sense of clumsiness or irrational movements on stage. But the raspy voice of this young woman definitely makes you remember her voice and her music.


She has one of those resounding voices that brings back memories of past singers like Janis Joplin or even Joan Baez. Iraherta will definitely be on that “one to watch” list, and opening for Lambert will get you some extra exposure she desperately needs to get noticed beyond her huge American Idol triumphs. In time the stage set will mellow out and become more fined, and with that the star in the center of the stage belting out those tunes will shine brighter.

 

 

What can you say about Adam Lambert’s concert. Well, I guess my concert review was good enough to still be placed on his International website and with that came over 78 comments within 24 hours. Got to tell you I always know bands have their followers, but this guy definitely has an army ready, willing and able to carry out his wishes. But the concert was even more amazing to me than the response by his followers. It really was stage musical to me. Set with great costumes, gyrating dancers and spectacular musicians playing some incredible music.


For effect, this concert was tied for the best concert event (with Vanilla Ice) of the year for me. It has a little bit of everything to it. And the wildest part is that one of my photos was also popped on the Lambert website and I took it from over 100 yards away since this is one of the two concerts I did not get approved for ahead of time…how ironic is that.

But it was a fantastic journey of music performed by Lambert, and his dancers brought a great melding of it all together into something worthy of the Broadway stage. Some might say it is more of a stage show than a concert, but I remind you that David Bowie and countless other have done just the same thing for a long, long time.


 

 

Last, but definitely not least is the Rays Saturday Night Concert I was waiting for all year. The climax at the end where I got to see another artists that every time he comes into the Tampa Bay area as a solo artist, I am in the crowd. The last time was in a more fan-friendly environment of Ruth Eckerd Hall, but no matter where you put him, Bret Michaels is all about the music and a good time.


When the announcement was originally made near the end of May, it might have seemed to ambitious or even ill advised for Michaels to throw himself back into his musical tour so early after his health situations, but that is one of things that endears you to him…his strength, fan commitment and his desire to do what he loves to do….sing to the masses.

Some might say the night was not as energetic or the usual ” Bret Michaels” show. But to me it was a celebrate of his music and a way for all of us to send some healing vibes and also sing a few classic tunes that always stick in our minds. Michaels even did the Country version of “Every Rose Has Its Thorns“, and it was taken in by the crowd like it was the original. For myself, it was the perfect ending to the Rays 2010 concert series. I was taken photos of a rock icon who had taken a dirty and dangerous road of medical problems and whisked them away like road dust to sing.


 

Some say these Rays concerts were devised for the pure sake of escalating Rays attendance figures and bolstering their overall yearly numbers while most of the Major League Baseball teams were experiencing up to 6-10 percent decreases in their yearly attendance numbers.

Sure that reasoning is true, but I kind of look at it another way. It is also a way for the Rays entire staff and the Rays Republic to collectively celebrate this great team we have here, and also enjoy some great music.


Thank You Rays for this year’s Concert Series. Looking forward to another killer schedule in 2011.

Train Took us on a Musical Journey

 

 

I can tell you from doing years of Special Event planning for Pepsi that I have been in front and in back of some great stages for concerts. But last night’s Train show, which was part of the Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series had the feel of an outdoor concert, fresh with anticipation and a want by the crowd to sing along. And Train fits that bill of the smaller concert bands in that they love to use the audience as a essential part of their shows. From musical sing-a-longs, to bring in up some kids to become official “Trainettes” the show had a special magic to it.


 

 

And Train lead singer Pat Monahan showed before the Rays game that he is not a one-trick pony putting a perfect pitch across the plate showing not just a vocal talent, but maybe a spot relievers role. Okay, maybe it was not faster than former Rays reliever Casey Fossum’s loopy pitch, but it was great to see a pitch break over the plate. But that was not the extent of Monahan’s physical show to the assembled fans within Tropicana Field that night.


 

 

 

After changing from his Carolina Blue T-shirt to a pure white T-shirt, Monahan not only shocked the Rays security force with his next move, he shocked the entire audience on the Rays field for the concert by popping down off the stand and doing an impromptu walkabout around the Trop with plenty of fans in tow with him. Monahan wanted all of us to “marry” that night, and the song ” Marry Me” definitely became a special moment for the throng of fans who embraced the action of Monahan that reminded me of former Rays concert performer M C Hammer when he did his epic sprint around Tropicana Field in 2008.


 

 
 

There is something about Train’s simplicity not in their lyrics but in the performers of the band that strikes a great chord within my musical memory that all three from Monahan to drummer Scott Underwood, and guitarist Jimmy Stafford remind you more of that group you saw in a tavern somewhere in your youth than a multi-album recording group that has even had their hits posted on the Country music channel CMT. And that is a major coup for a rock band to be able to cross that invisible line and be accepted by the Country public. But if have heard their songs “Meet Virginia” or even “Let It Roll“, which could be a Country song in a heartbeat.


 

 

 

The group threw their hearts and soul into last night’s performances and definitely made a few of the crowd believers in the group that also brought us “Save Me, San Francisco” and “This Ain’t Goodbye” with a great clarity in their live set that was missing from the CD versions. But the crowd was eager and more than willing to also provide back-up vocals throughout the night anytime Monahan needed a few seconds of relief. And that not often, as Monahan is one of those high powered energetic front men who feed off the crowd’s energy. And the Trop definitely was feeling his voice and their music Saturday night.


 

 

But it wasn’t until they started to do some of their other well known tunes like “If It’s Love“, “Calling All Angels” and “I Got You” that the energy level within the audience that could only be quelled with a song like “Hey Soul Sister“, which started out totally acoustic with the crowd providing some of the lyrics before Stafford joined Monahan, the former Led Zepplin cover band front man to bringing the night with the band to a crescendo moment. Throngs of fans on the field embraced, sang in groups, even thrust their cell phones to the skies to illustrate the old lighter trick of solidarity within the music.


 

 

 

It was definitely one of those nights that made you cherish the work the Rays have done to provide such a great atmosphere this season with these concert offerings. And even if Train kept their hit “Drops of Jupiter” for after their “Soul Sister” moment, it was not lost on the crowd who embraced the moment and again almost became louder than Monahan in their singing of the song. Train should be proud of the moments shared by the band and the Rays fans Saturday night. It was one of those moments so many will remember for Monahan’s stage presence, his stroll through the outfield, and how the band also let the audience become a unique part of the concert.
 


 

But the moment that sealed the deal for me last night was when the band adapted the Rihanna song “Umbrella” and did a resounding rendition of the song accented by Monahan’s tremendous vocals and the way the crowd instantly took Train in as a band not stuck within their own songs and lyrics, but willing to push beyond the borders for the enjoyment of the crowd. Train definitely left it all on stage last night with fantastic vocals from Monahan, inspired riffs from Stafford, and Underwood always seemed in control behind his drum set. You know Monahan and the band came off that stage drained of energy and totally proud of their performance.

 

 

And that is what I want to see in a great band. Leaving it all out there on the stage for the fans to soak in and take home with themselves as memories and moments to talk about for a long time. All that was missing was surly conductor to start us off last night with an “All Aboard” oratory because this Train ride was definitely one worth taking, and if you missed it…..You missed a killer ride.
 

*** Just a reminder, I have a page on Flickr.com under Rays Renegade that has sets of concert photos from all the Rays concerts, plus a few surprises.

Rays Photo Homage to Past Celebrity and Musical Guests

 
 
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It is one of those photo collages that takes your breathe away when you first see it. Basically the magnitude of the talent and faces that have crossed within the confines of Tropicana Field is amazing. Sure we might not have Kate Hudson in our stands every night, but she was here when the New York Yankees touched down within Tampa Bay for a few games. And people like John Cusack and author Stephen King have also been known to try and sneak in a Rays game without a lot of attention.

 
But the photo collage on the concourse wall right behind the Home Plate 102-104 sections of seating in Tropicana Field shows just how much music, motion picture stars and great moments we have endured over the last few seasons. From the moment the Rays concluded their November 2007 unveiling of their new logo and uniforms, to the upcoming Hess Express/Rays Saturday Night Concert Series featuring John Fogerty, the team has shown both talent on the field, as well as on the Concert stage. And the list of artists featured on the wall collage is impressive indeed.

 
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There are currently 28 photo cut and pasted upon this collage section featuring the artists and actors who have made the Rays part of their baseball family. And it all began in November 2007 with the free concert to Rays fans who attended the Rays logo and uniform fashion extravaganza as actor/musician Kevin Costner and his band Modern West brought their own special spin to the festivities. But he was only the beginning. Since that time fellow actors/comedian Paul Rieser ( Mad About You), Chris Rock, Former SNL star/ Impressionist Darrell Hammond, Barry Williams (Greg Brady) last but definitely not least, Bill Murray who we all loved as Carl the Groundskeeper in “Caddyshack” and is a minor league baseball part owner.
 

 
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But there are also local Florida athletes or players who have trained in St. Petersburg in the past who are immortalized on the concourse wall such as former Tampa Bay Buc running back Mike Alstott, Baseball Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr., Ozzie “The Wizard of Oz” Smith and another Oriole great Jim Palmer. The collage also includes NFL Hall of Famer and Tampa Bay Buc legend Lee Roy Selmon , WWE past Champion John Cena and Orlando Magic Center/Power Forward Dwight Howard. Broadcasting and announcing legends both National and Internationally also grace the collage with the addition of ESPN Basketball Guru and 2004 Inductee to the Pepsi Rays Fan Wall of Fame Dick Vitale and the immortal Boxing/Wrestling announcer Michael ” Let’s get ready to Rumble” Buffer.


But also several members of this new display in Tropicana Field either performed the National Anthem or “God Bless America” such as former American Idol David Archuletta, the Backstreet Boys, and Green Day. But most of the rest of the artists posted upon the wall have performed in the Rays popular Saturday Night Concert Series over the last few seasons. Groups such as 3-Doors Down, Pat Benatar, Daughtry, L L Cool J, Flo Rida, Ludacris, and legendary groups the B-52’s and M C Hammer. Who reminded us “When the Devil went out ( of the team name), the Wins came in!”.


 
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Country artists Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy and Trace Adkins also have provided hours of great entertainment to the crowds of Rays fans attending the game, plus who danced in the aisles and landing around Tropicana Field during their music sets. And do not forget there is still some space upon that wall collage that might include this year’s artists, John Fogerty (April 24th), ZZ Top (May 1st), Nelly (May 15th), Hall & Oates (May 29th), the Go-Go’s /Farewell Tour (July 10th), Train (August 14th), Adam Lambert and Orianthi (Sept. 18th), Country Star Dierks Bentley (Sept. 25th) and two other concerts artists not yet announced on June 12th and June 26th.

 
Talent galore has graced both the field and the stages of Tropicana Field in the past, and the future looks even brighter as the Rays thrust again towards the top of the American League East. This photo collage is just a small sampling of the stars and the people within the entertainment field who have either sat within the main bowl of Tropicana Field, or in the Suites and attended Rays games in the past.

 
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The collage is just a great way for the Rays fans to gather and remember and relive these great acts and people as they became members of the Rays lore. So sometimes in the future be sure to wander up the main concourse just to the east of the Rays main elevator system and have your own great flashbacks into these performances or sightings of the great people who also have adorn Rays jerseys and attended games. Some times it is great to look at the past so that we can see just how far we really have traveled since the ultimate changes made in 2007 to the Rays legend, and the way we will remember our moments within Tropicana Field.

 
 
 

Welcome Train to the Trop in 2010

 

One of the great things about the Tampa Bay Rays regime since Stuart Sternberg and his group purchased the Rays is they way this management group brought out the different new and innovative ways to entice the many causal fans of Tampa Bay to come on out and experience both this fantastic young baseball team, and also take in some classic and different forms of entertainment. And I have to say, the Hess Express/Rays Saturday Night Concert Series might have been the best promotional idea ever devised by the Rays since their first year-end “Jerseys Off Their Backs” promotion.
 

Not only has the baseball game plus a concert concept brought more fans into Tropicana Field over the last few seasons to see this great team transform, but the Rays have also presented the Tampa Bay community with great up and coming bands, and also a few blasts from some of our past into their overall baseball entertainment options. And with only 5 of the 10 artists in this season’s line-up already announced (ZZ Top, The Go-Go’s, Hall & Oates, John Fogerty and Nelly), I have a new band to let you know about before the Rays “official” announcement in a few days. The rock band Train will be performing after the Rays versus Baltimore Orioles game on August 15,2010.
 

Most people have heard at least a little bit about the band Train who in 2009 emerged back into the limelight after a self-imposed hiatus for three years to again come out of the starting gate to present their version of rock and roll. The band will come to Tropicana Field after their fifth album release, and an International hit, “Hey Soul Sister” that is still on the Billboard charts and is currently the # 11 choice on last week’s VH-1 Top 20 Countdown.
 

Most people might not know the San Francisco-based band has actually been around since 1994. From the band’s core members including lead singer Pat Monahan , drummer Scott Underwood and lead guitarist Jimmy Stafford, the band is also known for other hits, such as classic ballad hits like “Hey Virginia” and “Drops of Jupiter”.
 

And before the late 2009 release of the single “Hey Soul Sister”, the music masses might have known the band more because of the success of their second album, the self-titled “Drops of Jupiter”, then by the bands name, or Monahan’s distinctive high resonant voice. The song “Drops of Jupiter r (Tell Me)” was the group’s first International hit, and won the trio two different 2002 Grammy Awards. And with the catchy “Hey Soul Sister” still rolling on the Billboard Top 100 charts, the band now has two solid Top 10 Hits to their credit. And their second burst at success since their ” time off” shows that Train is ready again to take their rock ballad roots mainstream again to perform throughout MLB venues in 2010.
 

Train was formed after Monahan left his Led Zepplin cover band back in Erie, PA in 1993 and ventured out to the California coast and met up with local musician/band member Rob Hotchkiss, who was a frequent performer in the numerous coffee houses and small clubs scene in the San Francisco Bay area. From the band’s beginning, Monahan has been the band’s lead vocalist, and after a short time together both Monahan and Hotchkiss decided to commit to a full scale band and both members eagerly brought Stafford, Charlie Colin and Underwood on board in 1994.
 

After an embarrassing rejection by Columbia Records of the group’s early music in 1996, Train decided to pool their fiscal resources and release their self-entitled CD independently of the long arm of the music industry. The band quickly gained local and regional fame for their new musical style and was finally added to the National touring schedule opening for such headlining bands like the Barenaked Ladies, Hootie and the Blowfish, Cracker and fellow Bay area band Counting Crows.
 

The self-produced, and distributed EP contained several well received songs that made their presence known quickly outside the San Francisco area. One instant hit with rock stations was the single “Free”, and another track off that $ 25,000 self produced EP turned into the Top 20 Billboard hit, “Meet Virginia”, which peaked at # 15 and brought national acclaim to Train.

The band’s fame rose quickly after the rise of “Meet Virginia” as concert goers word of mouth, and their opening tour gigs got Train a bigger rock audience base to see and hear the band perform other songs like the single ” I Am”, which also came from the $25,000 self produced EP album. The band’s image and solid rock ballad reputation quickly escalated and their debut album was certified platinum by RIAA during 1998. And because of their early success, their second album “Drops of Jupiter” debuted on the Billboard Top 100 list on March 10,2001 and spent over 53 weeks on the charts before falling out of the Top 100 list. This multi-platinum album became the band’s first top 10 album, which peaked at # 6 before a slow roll downhill.
 

But the many accolades for “Drops of Jupiter” just kept coming as the song won it’s first Grammy for “Best Rock Song” and Train also were presented an additional Grammy Award that night for “Best Arrangement” on the International hit. Train’s second album quickly rose on the United Kingdom’s Billboard charts and peaked at the 8th slot . A second song from that album “She’s On Fire” also made it onto the soundtrack of the Rob Schneider movie “the Animal”, but did have the kind of overflowing success generated by their single “Drops of Jupiter”.
 

But the album did give the band their first International platinum album in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. And with their new success, Train embarked on their first International Tour, the “Drops of Jupiter” Tour and produced a live DVD of their homecoming concert in San Francisco at The Warfield on May 21,2001.

 

The band’s reputation only grew as they were picked by the executives of MTV to do a cover of Aerosmith’s classic song “Dream On” for an episode of the MTV show “Icon” which was dedicated to the tremendous rock and roll success of Aerosmith. Soon after Train released their third album “My Private Nation” which produced the Top 20 hit “Calling All Angels” which was an instant hit on the Adult Contemporary charts. Train got their second chance to have their music featured in a film when their song “When I Look to the Sky” was featured in the film trailer for “Jersey Girl” in 2004.
 

Also that same year, Train had another song ” Ordinary” featured in the movie “Spiderman 2″, and because of that movie exposure the band got their first chance to include their music in another multi-media medium, television when the same song was included during the NBC show “Heroes”. But the so music video for “Ordinary” was played often by MTV during their video rotation but only had moderate success in the Adult Top 40 charts. But then another medium opened its doors to the band when Cingular also included the song “Ordinary” in their cell phone advertising commercials.
 

With the band’s sound now well known within the rock culture in the United States the went into the studio to began recording their fourth album in 2005 in Atlanta, Georgia. Train’s first single from that release was “Cab”, which hit the rock airwaves in November 2005. But the album “For Me, It’s You” did not have the wide spread commercial success of their previous album releases, and was the first album by Train not to receive an RIAA certification as a platinum album. Even though “Cab” did make it to the #9 position on the Adult Top 40 list, it only peaked at # 10 in the Top 200 Billboard charts.
 

This was the band’s first brush with falling from grace in the music industry and after a years of constant touring, Train’s members decided to take a “hiatus” from recording and touring to refocus and re-concentrate their efforts to again get back into the good graces of the music public. So in November 2005, Train began their 3-year sabbatical from performing and releasing music to the public. During that off time, Monahan recorded and released a solo album, but it did not fare well with the listening public.
 

Then last year on August 11,2009, Train released their first single in three years “Hey Soul Sister” on their fifth album “Save Me San Francisco”. This time people remarked positively on the renewed vigor and vitality in Monahan’s voice and how the hiatus might have saved the band and help re-energize the band’s intensity and drive to again. In January 2010, Train saw “Hey Soul Sister” skyrocket up the Billboard’s charts from # 23 to # 7 in one week due largely to an 81 percent increase in digital sales over that last seven days.

 

Train has gone through it’s own tale of the Phoenix since their first album back in 1998, but their fifth album definitely shows that the band is back with a rock and roll vengeance, and will be a solid addition to the Hess Express/Rays Saturday Night Concert line-up in 2010. I am looking forward to standing there singing along with the group and want to know….Will you be there?

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