Live review

Academy, Manchester : 13.1.2002

July 2001 - sitting in a motel room in San Dimas, California. Conan O'Brien's on the TV, and he's just introduced Train, who are performing live on the show. Drops Of Jupiter is the song, and it's a great song. What's immediately apparent is that the singer has a cracking voice, and he shimmies around the stage like INXS's Michael Hutchence - just oozing charisma. I've really got to go and check this lot out live . . .

Train - Click to enlargeOpening with a B side is a brave approach, I'll give 'em that . . . It's Love is soon followed by She's On Fire, and I'm back on familiar territory. Pan Monahan's vocals are spot-on, and the 30-something crowd are lapping it up.
    Breakthrough US hit Meet Virginia follows, and despite not having yet been released in the UK, everyone's singing along. While the delivery is near faultless, the aforementioned charisma is strangely lacking. Monahan looks awkward on stage and moves little, often putting one hand in his pocket as if he's feeling self-concious. But here in Manchester, Train are preaching to the converted. They're the same people who love Matchbox 20 and Semisonic, and to them, Train can do no wrong.

Train - Click to enlargeIt's back to the Drops Of Jupiter album for It's About You, Something More and Hopeless, before a spirited cover of Led Zeppelin's Ramble On - another showcase for Monahan's vocals. Respect is due, and Respect is played. After another oldie, Train give us a version of Getaway which makes the album version sound very pedestrian, and then break into the opening bars of one of the best singles of 2001; Drops Of Jupiter. After a long, and fairly comprehensive set, Train wind things up with the chilled-out Let It Roll.

:: Rowan Shaeffer

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