Train | Review
Waterfront, Belfast • Wednesday, 25 October 2017
By Michael Ferguson • Photography: Tremaine Gregg
Hailing from San Francisco, roots rock influenced band Train played the final night of the European leg of their Play That Song Tour at a sold out and expectant Waterfront Hall in Belfast.
The atmosphere in the hall was building and House of Pain’s thumping ‘Jump Around’ was closely followed by the bands signature entrance, the unmistakable sound of a steam train. In reality – what else could it be?
The band formed in 1993; fronted by the charismatic Patrick Monaghan who kicked off the show with ‘Drink Up’, the first track from their 10th studio album A Girl, a Bottle, a Boat and saw Monaghan describe it as just your ordinary Wednesday night. The band did all they could for the next 90 minutes to ensure that it wasn’t.
We were treated to ‘50 Ways To Say Goodbye’, which brought a Hispanic feel to the evening, this show was now well and truly up and running! The obligatory drum solo came very early in the set and rolled seamlessly into ‘If It’s Love’.
Monaghan apologised for the fact the band took so long to make their return to Belfast, it appeared from the roar of the crowd that the apology was accepted and Belfast was glad to have them back.
Their eponymous first album Train spawned the single ‘I Am’ and Patrick Monaghan brought out the percussion big guns for this track. A harmonica and a tambourine in hand, he worked them perfectly throughout this song, albeit it may have been missing the tambourine swagger of a certain Mr. Liam Gallagher.
Monaghan talked about the induced sadness at the death of legend – that legend was Tom Petty. The band promptly gave him the respect he deserved with their cover of the Petty favourite ‘Freefallin’.
The evening was filled with the laid-back vibes of the East Coast of America throughout this energetic show. ‘Calling All Angels’ brought the “hands up in the air” request from the band and the standing audience duly obliged.
Patrick Monaghan disappears to the side stage and returns after a quick costume change into a purple tie-dye Soul Sisters T-shirt and this is quickly followed by a T-Shirt giveaway; for one lucky member of the audience the sweaty, now signed, purple tie dye T-Shirt to take home.
The band were keen to interact with the front row of the audience, countless selfies were taken by Monaghan with the crowd while he sang ‘Bruises’, the song originally recorded with Country Music star Ashley Monroe. It is safe to say that the crowd in the front row were absolutely loving it.
The ukulele twanged charm of ‘Hey, Soul Sister’ kept this freight train rolling and by the time they were singing ‘Play That Song’ (another track from the band’s latest release), the audience appeared to have woken from its seeming slumber and now took full part in the sing-a-long. Up to then, it had been a rather subdued crowd – which was probably the result of so many of the “Train Spotters” during the evening, who were seated and seemed almost reluctant to let themselves go. I suppose part and parcel of a gig at any venue with a large number of seating.
The band’s encore included the Queen and David Bowie masterpiece ‘Under Pressure’, the second cover song of the evening. If a straw poll had been carried out before the show as to what song would finish the set there would be no doubt it was going to be their classic and most well know song ‘Drops of Jupiter’. So, this rousing finale finished off this leg of the tour perfectly and sent the crowd home feeling happy with their lot.