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Blues Traveler Roll In The New Year in N.Y.
by Paul Semel
Allstar Magazine, National
Jan 2nd, 1997



It might seem ironic that Blues Traveler would end their most relaxed year in recent memory with their biggest New Year's Eve show ever. After all, they only had a live album and the H.O.R.D.E. tour on their 1996 calendar, and yet the year culminated with this show at Madison Square Garden, New York City's most holiest of holy concert arenas. But this wasn't just another end-of-the-year bash for the boys in blue; it was, as singer/harmonica maestro John Popper put it, the 10th anniversary of the first gig "where we all showed up." Even so - even with the pressures of playing "the biggest place we've ever played"; even with the pressure of headlining a hall they (like so many other local bands) always dreamed of playing; even with pressures any entertainer feels on New Year's Eve - those Travelers that art Blue did what they always do: play their collective butts off.

"But Anyway" seemed as fresh and vibrant as the day it was penned, and a lengthy jam on "Go Outside & Drive" led to "Runaround" and "The Mountains Win Again," while "Crash Burn" gave the groovy "Dropping Some NYC" a speedy middle, and the five new songs that made it into the set, including the grooved and sexy "Carolina Blues" and the hard, shuffling "Business As Usual," all seemed as familiar as such time-tested tunes as "Gina" and "100 Years."

And so it was that with an onstage marriage proposal (accepted) and the annual ceremonial killing of their mascot black cat, which climbed up a mock Empire State Building a la King Kong and was shot down, that Blues Traveler rang out the old and welcomed in the new with a bit of both. As they have before, as they will again.