Travis received a warm Bristol welcome as they hit the stage at the Trinity Centre. Interestingly, they chose to start with a recording of Peter Finch's speech from the movie "Network", the one that ends "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!!" Nothing that followed made you mad, however, instead it made you rather glad!
The first half of the show was dedicated to the new material, promised for the next album. On first hearing, some nice solid rockers and good ballad type tunes. The band seemed very serious and were clearly concentrating on playing the new material. It would have been good to have been told a bit about the background to each song, why it was written and what it was called. However, that is a minor moan, the new songs sound good and I'm looking forward to getting the album when it's released. And really exciting to be present at one of the first public airings.
After a 10 minute interval, the band returned in a much more relaxed mode. Fran was clearly much more at ease and chatted to the audience, cracking jokes. And what a stormer of a set! A superb delivery of "Side" was one of many highlights as Travis rocked. Their version of "Lola" breathed new life (as if any were needed) into a classic Kinks tune.
And a nice touch for the encore - with 17 minutes before the hall was due to close Fran asked the audience for any requests. As you'd expect, there were many. A great way to make the evening special for everyone.
The main request I would make is... come back and see us soon!
The new material was churned out like the boys were going for the Guinness book of records. No talking and quick change between songs. The new material sounds great - it was very 'rocky' on the night and I hope it stays that way for the record.
The second part of the gig demonstrated that Travis, featuring 'I've been to the Bafta awards' Dougie, have a back catalogue that almost any other band would die for. Brilliant - well done, get the record out and come back.
We queued outside the Trinity Centre (a former church) for about an hour. When the doors opened at 7.30pm we headed straight for the stage. Palace Fires came out and gave a fine performance, which captured everyone's attention.
Travis appeared at 9.00pm and stood with their backs to the audience whilst we listened to Peter Finch's "Mad As Hell" speech from the 1976 film Network. Very powerful - check it out on You Tube.
Travis then cracked on with the new material, which I have to say sounded AMAZING. A new direction in the Travis journey. 3 songs stick in my mind:
the one that had the words "you gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up - I dont wanna get up",
"Friends" which I think will get under your skin and be a grower.
The last song of the new set, which had a fantastic crescendo of sound, aided by Neil's massive gong.
After a ten minute break the boys came back on and played "Sing". This set the tone for the second half, with everyone around me joining in. Some lesser played album songs followed, which gave the night a special feeling. Don't get me wrong - but it is nice to have a change from the "classics".
Highlights for me were "Sailing Away" (heard live by me for the first time), "Lola", "Falling Down", "Love Will Come Through", "Eyes Wide Open" and "Selfish Jean", which seems to get better and better each time I hear it live. I hope it will find a place in the closing songs of all future gigs.
When the show was over we tried to hang around to meet the guys, but over-zealous security staff were moving everyone out of the building. After a few minutes outside, we snuck past them and got back in. Fran had appeared and was talking to the security staff - he seemed to be arguing the point that the fans only wanted a few photos. All credit to Fran for trying so hard for the fans, as he managed to convince the staff and we were lucky enough to meet him, Neil and Andy. They gave us their autographs, posed for photos and had a proper chat. They were so caring and talkative, and really seemed to enjoy getting "Closer" to their fans! They are a credit to the music industry and their fans.
I sincerely hope that the band goes from strength to strength. Judging by last night's new material, us fans are in for a real treat when the new album is released.