Blues Traveler @ The Littlejohn Coliseum

Article and Photos By: Victor Alfieri

Clemson, SC – 10/20/09

View oll of Victor’s Blues Traveler photos here.

Each year, the Sigma Chi fraternity of Clemson University has their “Derby Days” where they raise money for a local charity. This year, to cap of their work for a local children’s charity, they hosted a concert with Blues Traveler as the headline act. And while I was there to cover this historic band, the opening act, a local band called PictureMeFree, blew me away.

With reggae, rock, jam band and even urban influences, PMF brought together a mixture of music that could not possibly let the crowd sit still. It does not take much to see the connection the musicians have with each other and how they fit together. It’s hard to say if they will ever become anything more than a local band. They certainly have the talent and ability to become a major force, but it takes just as much luck as it does talent and hard work to take things to the next level. Hopefully we will be hearing more from them in the future.

When Blues Traveler took the stage, it did not take long to remember why these guys were pioneers in the “jamband” world in the 90’s. BT took just one song break in the first hour and ten minutes of the show. They came out and hit the crowd hard to get them going. Opening with “Brother John” off of Four, they rolled through three covers over the course of a half hour long “jam” that also included a solo from bassist Tad Kinchla. Popper channeled the movie Animal House with his version of “Shout” followed up by Charlie Daniels’ “Devil Went Down to Georgia” and Sublime’s “What I Got.”

Over the course of two plus hours, BT reached through the length of their songbook. Going back to “Slow Change” & “But Anyway” from the self-titled first release to “Forever Owed” & “You, Me & Everything” from the recent North Hollywood Shootout, they covered everything in between.
Each member of the band had an opportunity to showcase their talents, and they never let the crowd relax. Crowd favorites like “Run-Around” and an amazing cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” kept everybody up, dancing and singing. The encore of “Hook” sealed the deal for many in attendance.

Blues Traveler has been making music for over twenty years. There is no doubt that, while many enjoy their studio work, this band is truly at it’s finest on stage. With the exception of a few vocal hiccups from Popper, the set was strong and tight. As they continue to tour over the next month, I highly suggest going out to see these guys if they come to a venue near you.

See Victor’s review of North Hollywood Shootout

See Victor’s interview with Brendan Hill

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