My last Travis show..in the middle of midterms, and still on a high from the show the night before, made my way up to LA. So thankful I went to the Spreckles show, cause my seats here sucked. Must learn to buy tickets immediately. Got to see Remy Zero this time, which was awesome, another band that kicks ass live. Perhaps my favorite part of the show was the duet between the bands on Bowie's Heroes, really quite cool. Took a ton of pictures, all from very far off, but a very great night. The fans were awesome afterward, we all just gathered around and kinda hung out outside, smoking and discussing our favorite songs, or shows, or members. A dead cool night.
It's another early(ish) start - myself and the band are awakened by Pete's "wake-up!" phone calls at 9am, and we all meet downstairs in the lobby an hour later. Our first port of call today is KCRW - a radio station in Los Angeles - for a 4-song acoustic performance. We climb into a mini-van, and head across town.
When we get to KCRW, it's just before 11am. Jonny (bass/drum tech) and a very hungover Nick (guitar tech) have already setup the bands instruments and after the briefist of "hello's" to programme presenter Nic Harcourt, everyone gets down to business.
KCRW are streaming the show, "Morning Becomes Eclectic" on their website, so there's a couple of cameramen in the small studio with the band. 4 songs soon becomes 5, and after "Sing", "Side", "Flowers In The Window" and "Driftwood", Dougie performs his song "Ring Out The Bell". With the show complete, there's just time for a few photographs and autographs with fans, and then it was back in the van to the hotel for 1pm.
You can still catch the stream of the show recorded at KCRW on their site in their archived section.
I take the opportunity of a couple of hours break to email some people who'd been to last nights show in San Diego. Ceji said that one of the highlights was "..when Remy Zero and Travis did "Heroes". I love David Bowie, and Travis doing Bowie was just amazing. Very cool". Tanya also agreed, and added that she was glad that the band had decided to come to the USA, even after the events of September 11th as "..Travis seem like people who would realize that coming to play here would actually be good for the people. Music brings people together".
At 3pm, the big gold tourbus arrives back at the hotel, and with the band checked out and luggage loaded, we set off to the Universal Ampitheatre. Actually, there's a slight delay in setting off, as Fran has lost his wallet (which was later found!) and his passport (which wasn't!). Mini-crisis over, and we're on our way.
Once we arrive at the venue, the walk to the dressing room is along a corridor lined with photographs of famous bands and singers who've performed on the very stage which Travis will take to a few hours later. The dressing room is spectacular - leopard print carpet, a Steinway grand piano, and a bathroom with the huge huge bath.
Wasting no time, the band make the long walk to the stage and start their soundcheck. My first impression is of the size of the venue - compared to the Spreckels Theatre in San Diego, this place is huge.
Andy, Dougie, Jeremy and Neil jam for a while, and then Fran joins them to run through a few songs. As on Sunday, Remy Zero will be performing "Heroes" in the encore tonight, so there's a quick soundcheck of that before heading back to the dressing room.
Fran has an interview for a Norwegian magazine to do, so I take the opportunity to talk to Dougie about touring in the United States after the attacks of September 11th. He admits that the bands decision to continue with the tour as planned, was largely down to the comments from US fans on the Travisonline messageboard. When asked if he has a word or two for the online community, he says: "To the travisonline collective, god bless you all. Always remember how valuable you are, without you all this tour may not have taken place. Without your well voiced opinions we don't really know where we stand. You are our point of contact with everybody, and that's got to be a good thing. Cheers."
Pete surpassed himself when organising the tour catering at the Universal Amphitheatre, and there's a lot of happy faces when we discover that there's roast beef and yorkshire puddings on the menu.. it's like home from home! After dinner, there's a lot of sitting around in the dressing room, waiting for showtime... 8:15pm!
The intro music starts, and as the stage lights come up the volume of cheering and applauding rises. Fran walks right to the front of the stage and says "Hello LA!" before strapping on his guitar, jumping onto Neil's drum riser and waiting for the 4 beat intro to "Sing". The set whizzes past, with the crowd cheering and singing along. Suddenly, it's "Blue Flashing Light" time again, and the band leave the stage.
At this point, however, things start to differ from the San Diego gig a couple of nights earlier. Rather than Fran returning on his own, this time Dougie comes out, commenting to the audience "I bet you didn't expect this!". With just his acoustic guitar for accompanymant, he performs "Ring Out The Bell" for the second time today. As the well deserved applause dies down, he's joined on stage by the rest of Travis, togther with Remy Zero, to perform "Heroes". The atmosphere is truely electric, and the crowd seem to really appreciate the significance of the song.
Fran then introduces the next song as "the first thing we played together as a band".. "All I Wanna Do Is Rock". It sounds amazing, and is quickly followed by "Happy". As the last notes die away, and everyone thinks that the performance is over, suddenly Fran starts strumming his guitar again, and Travis shift up another gear with a spectacular performance of AC/DCs "Back In Black". Andy pulls some amazing rockstar guitar poses (complete with red devils horns fixed firmly on his head!) before jumping down into the crowd!
A very very sweaty band head back to the dressing room in high spirits, to make use of the big bath! It seems everybody had a good gig - band and audience alike.. when I talk to Jen Simpson from Redondo Beach says that she's "seen 88 shows this year, and this was by far the best yet!".
Once cleaned up, the band head out to the aftershow party - on a small patio to one side of the venue there's a tiny little bar, a table with sandwiches and nachos, and some comfy sofas.. everyone is crammed in. I spot Fran talking to Ben Stiller, who's become a bit of a regular at the gigs this tour.
As I say my goodbyes, it's hugs all round - although I'm heading back to my hotel bed, the band are back on the bus, and off to San Jose.. another day, another city!