Train Rolls Through Chicago Delivering the Hits

Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
November 2, 2009

Train Vic Theatre

Witnessing Train perform live in concert for the first time was truly an experience I am grateful to have had. This past Monday night in Chicago, Train played a sold out show at Chicago’s Vic Theatre and I was lucky enough to be there. It is always pretty surreal to see an artist like Train play their songs live before your eyes when you had previously only heard the band’s music on the radio. Train is currently on tour promoting their latest record Save Me, San Francisco. The new album contains my personal favorite Train song to date: “Hey, Soul Sister.” Having had no idea what a rabid fan base the California trio has before this show, I was blown away by how dedicated and ecstatic the audience members were during Train’s performance.

More photos of Train after the jump…

Train Vic TheatreJimmy Stafford (lead guitar, backing vocals)

Train Vic TheatreScott Underwood (drums, percussion)

Train Vic TheatrePatrick Monahan (lead vocals, acoustic guitar)

Set List / Chicago


Meet Virginia

Get To Me

She’s On Fire


When I Look To The Sky

Hey, Soul Sister

It’s About You

Calling All Angels

Save The Day

I Got You


Drops Of Jupiter


Save Me, San Francisco

Dream On (Aerosmith cover)

Halfway through the third song of the night “Get To Me,” lead singer and Train frontman Pat Monahan casually removed his jacket. While it is not unusual for artists to remove articles of clothing once the show kicks into high gear, I did not expect to hear the deafening screams that escaped the mouths of hundreds of women in the crowd when that jacket came off. I quickly came to realize that Patrick Monahan from Train is a bonafide heartthrob and rock god to thousands of middle-aged white women in America. If Chicago fans are any indication, Train is going to have quite the successful fall tour and new album. Of course it helps that lead single “Hey, Soul Sister” is receiving heavy rotation in the country’s third largest commercial radio market.

Four young women from the front row of the general admission floor were brought up on stage during “She’s On Fire” to perform as “Chicago’s own Trainettes” as Monahan put it. Each one of the girls was given a pink t-shirt with the word “Trainettes” printed in black across the front. “This next song is from the Spider Man 2 soundtrack,” Monahan said when introducing “Ordinary.” For Train’s hit “When I Look To The Sky,” Monahan sang the first verse and first chorus without the use of his microphone. Standing alone in the center of the stage with his toes right at the very edge, Monahan sang his heart out projecting his voice all the way to the last row of the Vic’s balcony.

Before launching into their most recent hit “Hey, Soul Sister,” Monahan told fans: “Literally, this is the most difficult song I have ever had to sing.” Well, I’m glad Train’s vocalist pulled it off and recorded the ukulele-fueled, midtempo insanely catchy sing-a-long. I am obsessed with it. It is most definitely my new favorite song and I listen to it several times a day. After performing the group’s massive hit “Calling All Angels,” Monahan looked out into the audience and exclaimed: “I don’t know what you’re saying, but I think it’s something like ‘Pat, you look amazing in those jeans.’ And you know what? You’re right.”

Near the end of “Save The Day” a woman named Dawn was chosen to come on stage and sing to guitarist Jimmy Stafford. Adding her own pole dancing moves while holding court at the mic stand, super fan Dawn took her vocal cues from Monahan and had the time of her life serenading Stafford. After Monahan sang some lines a few times, Dawn got her chance and took off singing “Hey Jimmy…” before Jimmy himself came over and sang into the mic directing his words right back at the lucky fan. Needless to say, I was more impressed by Train’s interaction with fans and relationship with their audience than their music. Not to say their music is not good enough for me. I do like the San Francisco group’s songs. However, what really stands out to me and wins me over is a band’s or artist’s acknowledgment of their fans in a live concert setting.

Even though Monahan chose to use a giant megaphone to sing through during various verses throughout the night, Train needs no assistance when it comes to reaching their audience. Not a Train fan? Check the guys out anyway when they play a city near you. You will be energized via osmosis exuded from fans all around you. Trust me, the vibe is contagious.

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge photos:

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  1. Sarah says:

    GREAT PHOTOS! Impressive, it looked like a really great show! Sad I missed it!

  2. Luke Coombes says:

    I’m from Adelaide,Australia and I last saw Train on stage in December 2003 when they were playing on the “My Private Nation” tour as special guests to “Live” on their “Birds of Prey” tour of Australia.
    Train were fantastic!just as the article has described.I’ve become a big fan of them,all stemming from that one live show.
    Hopefully they will tour down here sometime soon.

  3. Sharon says:

    Good review. Is it possible you left some songs off the set list? They usually play Goin to California or Ramble On (both Led Zeppelin) in addition to Dream On (Aerosmith)along with a few more of their own. I challenge any lead singer today to take Pat on (even though he has been sick the last couple of weeks) and out-sing him on these classics!

    I have seen Train close to ten times, including twice this week in both Detroit and Cleveland. They were, as always, phenomenal! Pat engages the audience as well as any front man going and the band is extremely underrated. It is nice to see Jimmy (the silent assasin on lead guitar) get more attention. I think this is the first time Scott has come up front to perform too– good deal. The Save me, San Francisco cd is great and I am starting to dig the title tune even more than Soul Sister (if possible).

    I am from Cleveland (and Pat you know you went to Blossom growing up) but my earliest memories as a child are growing up in the BAY area (about two years) and I freakin LOVE San Francisco. I thoroughly enjoy that you have compiled music related to the city, about the city, by artists from the Bay area to play … between Uncle Kracker and your appearance. I think I am the only one slick enough to catch onto this deliberate compilation of songs. Brilliant– Grateful Dead, Green Day, Lights (Journey), Starship, I left my heart… OH HELL YEAH!

    Any Train fan knows that Pat is one of the premier lyricists of the last ten to 15 years, along with Rob Thomas (MB20), Adam Duritz (Counting Crows) and Johnny Rzeznick (Goos).

    I do not need any drugs or alcohol if I am down, just put on Train- Live at Last and go to town! Not that that the enhancements aren’t welcome.

    My only wish is that everyone would STOP this open pit/ general admission up front stuff because I cannot stand for five hours. First, I am short and can never see. Second, I cannot stand for five hours in order to be up front as I would prefer. I realize I am in the minority, but it is so much better in the first couple rows (even if I have to pay alot- and I am unemployed)than back with people who only know the songs on the radio and never even move — or worse, LEAVE EARLY. Your loss!!!

    Pat – please feel better soon. I am seriously thinking about driving to Erie Saturday– but family issues would probably result in WWIII. It would be worth it though.


  4. Tara says:

    AHHH!!! I wish I had gone to this show!!! You got some awesome shots–especially of Patrick! I would have LOVED to hear Meet Virginia in person. That CD was one of my favorites and was on repeat in my car for a loooooong time when I first got it for Christmas that year.

    Awesome job once again.

  5. amy morrison says:

    i have been following jen boyers blogs and i love her style, she always makes you feel like you were right there and that you know every artist personallly. i got to go to the train concert and i was amazed at how the band pours themselves into their fans. train played like it was their first concert, even though they have been around forever and the audience in turn reciprocated. great concert, highlighted by a fantastic photographer.

  6. Teresa Morales says:

    Glad to add a new fan to the Trainiac group! I must tell you that what you saw in Chicage is NOT a rare occurance. The guys of Train are so respectful and loving towards their fans, knowing many of us by name. Not only are they an amazingly talented, down-to-earth (and let’s face it – HOT) group of guys, they never forget those who support them. WE LOVE YOU GUYS!!

  7. Ginny (Yes, it's short for Virginia!) says:

    Train’s show in NY was on par with what you described in this review! The only difference was a few minor changes in the setlist (they played ‘Hopeless’ in response to a Twitter request (and left out ‘It’s about You’, and also played ‘Going to California’ by Led Zep). I’ve been a fan for years, but it was my first Train concert, and I was blown away. I hope they keep it going for many years to come!

  8. Julie Ann says:

    I love you. I don’t care what you sing. I don’t care how long you play, sing to me… I will love you.

  9. Jenean Hernandez says:

    I was at the Chicago show and was blown away. I have been to alot of concerts but that is the first one where the fans where appreciated this much. I love train and am thinking about flying to Austin, TX to see their show.

  10. Tamara says:

    Going to the show tonight in Orlando…can’t wait!

  11. Tamara says:

    Well, the Orlando show did not disappoint. Pat and friends were fresh and energetic. Who says Rock and Roll isn’t hard work?…it showed that you guys take your “job” very seriously and those of us who love your music really appreciate that you come out every night and give us your best! It was a great way to break up just another mundane work week for this ole gal! Thanks!

  12. Flutterbys says:

    What a Fantastic Review !! Train never fail to deliver a fabulous experience.. If you are a fan you already know what delights you are in for when you see Train .. They are amazing and truly dedicated to their fans.. The Love flows both ways :)
    I am in the UK and have been fortunate to see Train Live twice in Manchester .. I hope they come back for this album would be great to see them again .. So glad the tour is a success as is the Album .. I did a wonderful montage of Hey Soul Sister of my 5 year old it’s perfect!! Rock on Train xx

  13. PAM says:

    Awesome review!!!! I am one of the “middle-aged white women” who see Train EVERY time there in Chicago. LOVE THEM!!!! (and Pat’s skinny jeans)

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