Blues Traveler, the darlings of MTV in the mid 1990s when the channel still played music videos, played to a sold out Kent Stage on Sunday night.   The band, led by vocalist and harmonica player extraordinaire, John Popper, took the stage a little later than expected but proceeded to put on a great show that had the standing room only audience on their feet and dancing in the aisles for most of the evening.

Blues Traveler played a nice mix of deep cuts, cover tunes, newer songs and of course their hits.  Early in the set, the band broke out their first cover tune, Charlie Daniels “Devil Went Down To Georgia.”  Instead of the fiddle, Popper played the impressive solo on his harp.  After an extended jam in the middle of the song, the band segued into their biggest hit “Runaround.”

They then brought the opening band, Gene Evaro Jr. and his horn section to the stage to play a great version of Bob Marley’s “Could You Be Loved.”  After another song was played, the band picked up “Devil Went Down To Georgia” right where they left off to finish the tune.  It was the longest interlude between the start and the end of a song that I have ever witnessed- but it worked!

Keyboardists Ben Wilson got to take the spotlight when he strapped on his keytar and took center stage to play a medley of popular songs including “Roundabout,” “The Boys Are Back In Town” and “Sweet Child o’ Mine.”  The latter song had Popper doing the Axl Rose serpent dance.  All of the band members were clearly having a good time and so was the audience.

Toward the end of the set, drummer Brenden Hill laid down an old school drum solo that segued right into the classic “Hook.”  After the enthusiastic response from the audience, Popper quipped “We love the shit out of you guys!”



The band ended the show with another Bob Marley classic tune “No Woman, No Cry.”  

It’s been over 23 years since Blues Travelers first hit the airwaves with their quirky, fun, yet soulful style of music.  The band was in fine form Sunday night in Kent and Poppers vocals and harmonica playing was also top notch.  Here’s to another 23 years.

Opening the show was Gene Evaro Jr.  The Joshua Tree, California native brought his funky blues band with him and played an impressive set.  The band is comprised of Evaro on lead guitar and vocals, Piper Robinson on bass, trombonist Scott Kissinger, saxophonist Clint Stoker and a drummer who just joined the band two weeks ago from France.   They are out promoting their newest album Too Good To Be True.

The horn section brings a little more funk to their blues tunes which reminds me of something between Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire.   Evaro’s guitar playing is spot on and Robinson does a nice job holding down the low end. They are definitely worth checking out the next time they come to town.