If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s this — San Francisco Giants fans know a winner when they see one.
And thus I have a new appreciation for Train, the band that a lot of people love to hate. Pat Monahan and Co. are considered by many as a Nickelback for a new generation. A bit too pop-musicy, a tad off-key, a lot lyrics-poor — there are many reason folks don’t like them.
But for many Giants fans, Train is simply the best. If you saw the team’s victory parade back this past Oct. 31, that was abundantly clear. Even though Metallica had a float in the parade and then was hanging around backstage during the speeches, Train was the band selected to perform for the masses.
The Giants’ reasoning was simple:
* Train is a San Francisco band. They began there. Metallica was formed in Los Angeles.
* One of Train’s biggest hits is “Save Me San Francisco,” which has become somewhat of an anthem for the Giants. I suppose Metallica could play “Better Than You,” but that’s a little aggressive.
* People who like them tend to really like them.
And on Tuesday night at Harveys Outdoor Arena, Giants fans were out in force. There was orange and black throughout the stadium, and no one was disappointed. Among songs in the set, of course, was “Save Me San Francisco,” one of lead singer Pat Monahan’s stronger efforts and a crowd favorite.
That was followed by the equally peppy “What Are You Doing For The Rest Of My Life?” in which Monahan gathered 12 children onto the stage, and they proceeded to dance wildly to the music. It was possibly the greatest moment of the evening.
And there we have Train’s special appeal: they’re accessible to adults and kids alike. There were many families in the crowd on Tuesday, and can you say that about most bands that play Harveys?
It’s the kind of atmosphere that, say, an MLB franchise would covet.
Train plays at a lot of stadiums, for many teams in many sports. One of their other hits, “Calling All Angels,” has become a staple at Los Angeles Angels games. But San Francisco considers the band theirs, and if all other things go south for Train, it seems they will always have a home there.
So yeah, it’s probably wise to hold final opinions on a band until you see them live. Train isn’t the finest technically or musically, but their live show is fun, energetic and populated with enough good music to keep you involved.
And for Giants fans, “Save Me San Francisco” is worth the price of admission all by itself.
Opening for Train on Tuesday was Matt Nathanson, who easily matched Monahan for earnestness and enthusiasm. In fact, at one point Nathanson ran through the crowd during the song “Headphones.”
Afterwards he said, “I want to thank the guy who grabbed my ass.”
Nathanson, a stickler for audience participation, got everyone to sing along with “Laid”, by Manchester band Jame, instructing them, “The chorus is the part that repeats”
Also: “I’d like to thank the fire department for letting my kid sit in the truck.”
He seemed to like it here. Check out his Tweet: CLICK LINK
Next came the Fray, a Denver-based band formed in 2002. Isaac Slade, like Nathanson a falsetto, ran through the crowd during “Hurricane” and also stood on his piano at end.
To see more photos from the concert, click on the links below: