So, Train arrived and everyone got on board. Was it a good ride? Here's where the 2,500-strong crowd this past Saturday night might have different things to say.
But before I get into my own verdict, I must say that I've been quite a fan of this San Francisco band. Not a HUGE fan, but theirs is the kind of music I totally dig. The kind of music I would MAKE if my life had somehow taken a different turn and I decided to become one of those enigmatic, brooding singer/songwriter. Haha.
So yeah, when I heard the news that they were coming to KL for the first time, I just had to shell out to moolah to watch them "live".
Those "chill out" zone tix of course meant we were on the upper terrace at KL Live. The crowd was the expected urban-looking Gen-Xers with a good percentage of the younger lot as well. There was no opening band slated to play and the gig itself only started 15mins late.
So it was straight to the music, and Pat Monahan and co blasted open with "50 Ways To Say Goodbye' and "This'll Be My Year", both pretty good songs that I quite like from their latest album "California 37".
Then it was time for the mega-hit "If It's Love", and if there were concerns that a large part of the audience were non-fans who were there due to free tickets, they were quickly dispelled as almost everyone enthusiastically sang along to the infectiously catchy tune.
But here's the thing for me. I just felt something was missing at that point. Unlike Switchfoot last year at some shoddy joint in Jalan Ipoh (yes, I'm still sore about that), I just did not feel the same sort of overwhelming energy. I mean, Switchfoot came out and just ROCKED the socks off everyone; no ifs or buts.
After a while though, it finally hit me. Here was the problem: it simply WASN'T loud enough. Yup. Standing on the upper terrace, I didn't feel my heart pounding and my ears assaulted by the appropriate decibel level. I also felt that the band, and in fact Monahan himself, were a tad too laidback. Monahan struggled a bit on some of the songs earlier on, and even forgot some of the words to one of the tunes. He did keep the crowd whoo-ing then by cleverly signing merchandise on stage and giving them away. So I just felt that the songs were carrying them instead of the other way round, at least half a dozen tunes into the set.
BUT, business did eventually pick up and once in the groove, Train did deliver the goods, and then some. The famously-impassive Malaysian audience really played its part and lifted the whole experience a few notches up. When the gals in the crowd accompanied Pat on "Marry Me", he declared "you guys just kicked Manchester's ass" to the delight of everyone. (Some might say this was simply "propah" though, hehe)
The highlight of the night was of course when they broke out "Drops Of Jupiter" to delirious reaction from the crowd. And I must admit that it was a magical moment listening to the breakthrough song performed "live". Other tunes performed included "Hey Soul Sister", "Drive By", "Meet Virginia", "Bruises" and "Mermaid".
So, my final verdict? I give it a rather modest "B". A good show with great songs, but yeah, I just wish it was a little louder : )