Travis’ holiday homecoming gig was far better than anything Santa could ﬁt down the chimney. The band emerged on the Barrowlands stage to the triumphant Rocky theme song, with Fran Healy sporting the silk robe of a boxing champ. Where else could they get away with that other than Glasgow?
The night started with another Glasgow band, 1990s, who made damn sure that everyone was awake. The explosive trio made their name memorable to the capacity crowd with ﬁrecrackers like “You’re Supposed to Be My Friend” and “See You At The Lights”.
The Taste, a duo from Germany, was the raucous second opener. Fran could be seen off to the side, enjoying their performance from the safety of a black hoodie. Their set matched 1990s for vigour and pep, with lead vocalist Maria belting out “Can’t Get Enough of Your Dang-da-dang” and their latest single “I Want You”.
Although we did not have to suffer through lame openers, Travis fans were rewarded with a set beyond triumph. In a room swelling with jubliant devotees, the four blokes from Scotland renewed everyone’s already steadfast appreciation.
The setlist barely strayed from energetic tracks like “Selﬁsh Jean”, which they opened with, and a cover of “Back in Black,” with which they spontaneously closed. They pumped out crowd pleasers from every album, including “All I Want To Do Is Rock,” and “Blue Flashing Light”. The between song banter was amusing as well, with playful ribbing of keyboardist Claes, and various anecdotes. Before playing “Sing,” Fran admitted to being sick of the track, due to his son’s insistence on playing it over and over again. He got a laugh out of the crowd when he said it could be worse – his son could be addicted to Coldplay.
The encore featured an acapella version of Flowers in the Window, with everyone singing along to Fran’s acoustic. At one point, with the guitar still around Fran, Dougie did the strumming, and Andy managed the chords.
Every note played on the stage of the Barrowlands that night, every chord struck, demonstrated how much Travis appreciates their fans in return, especially those in Glasgow. Fran didn’t settle for anything less than their best, even stopping during Re-Offender because his guitar was out of tune. Once it was remedied, they took it from the top once more.
While they deﬂated hopes of a double album they did conﬁrm that they have scheduled studio time for February, in an effort to get a new album done before Dougie welcomes his ﬁrst child into the world.
Travis are a band that cannot be judged until seen live. Sure they pen sweet melodies, and aren’t afraid of tackling emotional issues, but they are ahead of the pack for doing so. It’s probably what draws most of their fans. They’re not pretentious, or macho – they never give the impression that they think they are doing you a favor or about to teach you ‘how it’s done’, as many bands can. They’re earnest, and that’s hard to ﬁnd. And they save their very best for their hometown fans, which is always admirable.
Also appeared on isthismusic.com