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Blues Traveler, Abe & Jake's Landing, 08.27.02
by Amy Kelly
University Daily Kansan, Lawrence, KS
Aug 27th, 2002



If you've ever seen Oliver Stone's The Doors, particularly the scene at The Whiskey A-Go-Go where the audience stands mesmerized, then you have a slight notion of the effect Blues Traveler had on the crowd at Abe & Jakes Landing.

Blues Traveler may have disappeared from the limelight in the wake of the Justin Timberlake and J-Lo craze, but that does'nt mean the music ever stopped.

To many a Top 40 devotee, Blues Traveler is the band that produced the catchy number "Run-Around". But dig past the marketing bonanza of radio stations, and Blues Traveler reveals itself to have some incredibly talented musicians.

The Lawrence performance was a testament to the groups vitality, which could have been extinguished by trials of recent years. Heart problems forced vocalist John Popper to perform in a wheelchair at the H.O.R.D.E. Festival in Bonner Springs six years ago; in 1999, bassist Bobby Sheehan died of a drug overdose, and Popper was plagued by a blocked artery.

When they took the stage for the nearly three-hour show, the band did not just play songs - it devoured them with absolute ecstasy. Popper and guitarist Chan Kinchla seemed to be in another world, one the audience members were aching to explore for themselves.

"Slow Change" melded infectious melodies into the sound of a train chugging down a track. The song showcased the talents of Popper, bassist Tad Kinchla, drummer Brendan Hill and pianist Ben Wilson.

Most of the evening was dedicated to traditional jams, and the hypnotic results were most evident when Blues Traveler set aside its Southern feel for a touch of the psychedelic.

Bassist and vocalist Victor Wooten, named Bass Player of the Year by Bass Player magazine three different years, dominated the shows opening. Wooten could dethrone George Clinton as the king of funkdom.

Wooten was joined onstage by former Arrested Development vocalist Speech, who was greeted with hands in the air. When the 1992 Grammy Award winner broke out into the MTV darling "Everyday People", the crowd went wild.