Austin 101 Magazine

Concert Review: Blues Traveler, Moe., G.Love Jammed At Sticky Austin Set

Sunday, August 11, 2019, Stubb’s Amphitheater
by Katie Combest

The fun All Roads Runaround tour came to Austin to close out the summer tour, just off the heels of the Dallas show the night before. Moe & Blues Traveler were co-headliners with special guest G.Love.

IMG_7857The sultry heat didn’t suffocate the enthusiasm or energy of the music fans at Stubb’s on Sunday. Stubb’s was packed with a relaxed, Chaco and Keen-wearing crowd who didn’t seem to mind at all that the heat index was 115 degrees.

IMG_7569(photo Brooks Burris)

The G.Love crowd was confused why he wasn’t the opener that night, but it didn’t matter. He’s played many headlining shows at Stubb’s and other Austin venues in the past. He loves it here so he comes often.

G.Love brought his harmonica and groovy style and packed in the favorites- “Cold Beverage”, “Juice”, and more. G.Love is inherently eclectic bringing indie, blues, folk, and a little rap  (with a bit of politics thrown in).

IMG_7106(photo Brooks Burris)

Hailing from New Jersey, Blues Travelers founded their group in 1987. The band has been through a lot, from Sheehan’s death (a founding member and bass player) to dealing with record deals falling to the wayside, to numerous hits and triumphs. Blues Traveler’s resilience, grit, and music-making magic shined in their set tonight.

The iconic band did not disappoint. I have to say that John Popper’s (front man) harmonica chops impress me every time I hear him. No one plays a harmonica like he does. He ignited the crowd with his skills and riffs. The audience went nuts when they performed their classic hit, “Run-Around”. Even young kids who were on their parent’s shoulders were screaming the lyrics along with the band. The love of the band’s music is passed down through generations, and that was evident tonight.

The crowd roared with excitement and waved their arms in the air when Blues Traveler covered the Cheap Trick song, “I Want You To Want Me” to finish the set. The band occasionally changed the lyrics to the cover, which created some fun, and naughty comic relief. Popper had fun with the crowd by throwing several harmonicas to people in the crowd that were dancing.

What was evident is that the band has a great appreciation for each other’s talents, and each performer had their chance to solo. The soloists didn’t rush one another, nor did they step on each other’s toes. They had real freedom. These moments reminded me a little bit of jazz concerts. You could really feel that the band members have the utmost respect for each other.

IMG_7775(photo Brooks Burris)

The highlight of the night was the collaborative jam with all three bands at the end of the Blues Traveler set. The collab included some killer songs and you could tell the guys were all having a blast. We love the song choices in this portion of the set that included Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, and Grateful Dead covers. It was a perfect blend. Whether it was an original or a cover, the bands all performed with invigorating energy and life that fed off the crowd vibes. Love & Popper jammed together on the harmonicas like they’d been doing it together for years.

IMG_8244(photo Brooks Burris)

For Moe’s set, people were dancing like jellyfish to the psychedelic grooves while spectacular light show occurred on stage. Moe played a ni and then Pink Floyd cover song “Time” that had people rockin’ out to the music legends famous tune. There’s nothing like a good mash up of hard rock and jam-band grooviness. Not to mention the killer drum solos.

Known for great collaborations, this night continued that theme. These guys are used to playing big gigs and huge music festivals so it was a treat to catch them in a small venue with this killer lineup. They’ve come a long way from playing at University in New York in 1989 (Wikipedia). They hit their stride in the 90’s and often rank right up there with huge jam bands like Phish, Dave Matthews Band, The Grateful Dead, and Widespread Panic. With these great collabs, they continue to achieve their goal of pushing the (music) envelope.

See our photo gallery from the show.

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Set List

G.Love

Milk and Sugar
Sunshine
Fixin’ to Die (Bukka White cover)
Going Up the Country (Canned Heat cover)
Fix Your Face
Love
Soul B Que
Cold Beverage (G. Love & Special Sauce song)
I-76
Juice

Blues Traveler

The Devil Went Down to Georgia (The Charlie Daniels Band cover)
Carolina Blues
Regarding Steven
What I Got
Bass Solo
The Wolf Is Bumpin’
Run-Around
Ode From the Aspect
But Anyway
Hook
The Devil Went Down to Georgia (The Charlie Daniels Band cover)
Thinnest of Air
I Want You To Want Me (Cheap Trick Cover)

Collab set (All 3)

Alone (Blues Traveler cover)
Fearless (Pink Floyd cover)
Reelin’ in the Years (Steely Dan cover)
Bertha (Grateful Dead cover)
Go Crazy

Moe.

Haze
Wormwood
Deep This Time
Tambourine
All Roads Lead to Home
Waiting for the Punchline
Time (Pink Floyd cover)
Dangerous Game
Timmy Tucker

 

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