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01-13-2003Happy New Year! What's in store for 2003?

In what was reportedly one of their high points as far as musical moments go, Blues Traveler brought the curtain down on 2002 with an end-of-tour show at the Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon. The show featured a cavalcade of local friends, from former dreamspeak member Matt Zekala to current Stolen Ogre members Michael McMorrow and David Simpson to longtime friend and opening band lead singer Chris Stills. But the musical friendship grew to a fever pitch when local legend Ike Willis - he of Frank Zappa's band - sat in on a lengthy rendition of "Go Outside & Drive". Said one fan in attendance: "You could literally see the guys in the band staring with their mouths open when Ike soloed."

The final official band-related event of the year actually lent some symmetry to 2002 - exactly as John had played the first concert of the year solo at a benefit show (01/19/02 in Washington DC), he ended it by playing a solo set at a benefit show in New York City. The five-song set was played at an exhibition of Tim Vega's art, in celebration of his life at the HERE Arts Center. Some of the artwork can be seen here, courtesy of Cindy Mast.

So what does 2003 hold for the band? They have already unofficially kicked off the 2003 tour with a show at the Florida governor's inaugural ball last week; the band played a full show on January 6th and John played the Star-Spangled Banner at the actual inauguration. Although they have not yet been confirmed on the official site, Blues Traveler will be returning to Lake Tahoe to play a couple of "kicking off the rust" shows on January 31st and February 1st. At the moment, the band is in California for a couple weeks of studio time, and it is expected that they will head back into the studio afterwards to work on their next album.

The individual band members also have their own projects to keep them busy in the meantime until they get back out on the road - according to friend Jono Manson's web site, John will be joining Jono for a few dates in Europe, still to be announced. Brendan will likely be joining Stolen Ogre in the studio for some additional post-production work on Ogre's new album, "Road to Jericho". Brendan appears on the album as well though no release date has been announced yet. Finally, Tad's work should be seen very soon, as he has been working diligently on a relaunch of bluestraveler.com. Several surprises are in store for casual and frequent surfers alike, so keep checking back both there AND here for updates and news. Happy New Year!