Train commenced its Tuesday-night set at the Santa Barbara Bowl with “Calling All Angels,” the band’s 2003 Grammy-nominated single from My Private Nation. It was a brilliant tune to begin with as it sent an already anticipatory audience through the figurative roof with delight, whooping and whistling as lead singer Pat Monahan sang the opening lines. With screens behind and above the band projecting images of a wide-open blue sky, Monahan encouraged the crowd to “put your hands in the air” and sing the lyric “I won’t give up, if you don’t give up.” The audience gleefully complied.
On tour for its Greatest Hits record, which consists of songs plucked from eight of the band’s 10 albums, Train offered up one fan favorite after another, including the rollicking, mariachi-tinged “50 Ways to Say Goodbye,” which had everyone out of their seats dancing; the funk-infused “Get to Me”; and “Call Me Sir,” which included a duet with Travie McCoy via Facetime.
Train’s songs ranged from ballads (“Marry Me”) to spritely (“Hey, Soul Sister”) to pop rock (“Drive By”). One of the highlights from the show was a cover of Queen’s “Under Pressure.” Monahan enlisted bassist Hector Maldonado on David Bowie’s part and guitarist Luis Maldonado for Freddie Mercury’s; the two talented musicians delivered an electrifying rendition, Luis nailing Mercury’s difficult vocal range.
Amusing and engaging, Monahan offered up quippy bon mots, threw T-shirts into the crowd, and kept the evening’s vibe lively and fun. The end result was an amazing concert that was musically satisfying and tremendously entertaining.