35 years and still going strong. Blues Traveler kicked off their 35th anniversary tour last night to a nice crowd at The Signal in Chattanooga.
Blues Traveler, since college radio picked up on them in the early ‘90s has been one of those bands that everyone knows, admittedly only know of a few songs, except the hardcore elite that follow them from city to city but have also kept a buzz about them that never make going to a show a boring thing.
Despite arguably bigger cult following for contemporaries like Widespread Panic and Phish, Blues Traveler similar style remains more fresh through their recordings that remain radio friendly even in an era of less radio and more streaming friendly.
There’s a whole lot more to the band than their music or genre as they pretty much put the band jam scene on the map dating back to the early/mid ‘90s staring the H.O.R.D.E festival which started the phenomenon and by touring with the Allman Brothers, a bigger artist but on hard times popularity-wise helped introduce a younger crowd to the elder’s music giving them a new life, which in turn changed music for the latter half of the ‘90s and into the new century.
One of the greatest things about going to see bands in concert like Blues Traveler is their fans almost as much as watching the band. The show at The Signal was no different.
Blues Traveler’s show was equal parts concert and reunion – high school, college, work – you name it. There were groups of friends encircled throughout the venue as the band made the perfect soundtrack. And that may be the beauty of the band. John Popper and company effortlessly segued between songs to keep a non-stop groove going for all revelers. Playing all sorts of improv as well as songs familiar to the casual fan the show was a perfect mix that displayed the band’s superior musicianship mixed with a knowledge of who their fans are. I found myself wondering if the different groups in attendance was actually paying attention to that, appreciating it, or was it just a great soundtrack for their social reunion.
Regardless, cheers to Blues Traveler for 35 years and hopefully many more to come.
– Dave Weinthal