Live ReviewsMusic

PHOTOS: Blues Traveler, Jewel Outshine Headliner Train in Charlotte

Bands' opening sets at PNC Music Pavilion offer soulful nostalgia trip

John Popper of Blues Traveler sings into a microphone
John Popper, singer and harmonica player for Blues Traveler. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

I’ll start with an apology. I know that Train was the headliner at PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte on Thursday night, June 30, but after opening sets from Blues Traveler and Jewel, Pat Monahan and company provided a soulless letdown. Sure, the band offered a good performance, but the music lacked soul and emotion. If Wonder bread could play music, it would sound like Train.

Singer-songwriter Jewel holds a guitar while singing on stage
Jewel performs at PNC Music Pavilion (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

Before Train, Jewel performed for nearly an hour and showcased her vocal range — including yodeling — while providing variations of some of her most popular songs. She didn’t just play them “by the book,” she offered vocal changes, electric guitar riffs, and even brought out her son to play drums on a song.

The night’s opener, and my personal highlight, was Blues Traveler. I first saw Blues Traveler roughly 30 years ago at Rutgers University in New Jersey. At the time, the band’s debut album was only available on cassette. Seeing the group tear through a couple of hits (“Hook” and “Runaround”) as well as some of its earliest songs (“Carolina Blues,” “But Anyway”) was a treat.

John Popper can still shred the harmonica like no one else, and guitarist Chan Kinchla offered plenty of smiles while strumming his way through the set. All these years later, and they still look like they’re having as much fun as always.

Blues Traveler guitarist Chan Kinchla and keyboardist Ben Wilson rock the opening set for Train in Charlotte
Blues Traveler guitarist Chan Kinchla and keyboardist Ben Wilson rock the opening set for Train in Charlotte on June 30. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

Be sure to check out Queen City Nerve’s Soundwave, Charlotte’s most comprehensive live music listing, so you don’t miss out on any shows or concerts coming up. And hell, if you’re looking for something else to do, you can check out our events page as well, which runs the gamut of things to do in Charlotte. You don’t ever have to be bored again. You can check out more of Jeff’s pics and live reviews here.

Patrick Monahan, lead singer of Train, performs on stage
Patrick Monahan, lead singer of Train. (Photo by Jeff Hahne)

Train Setlist
AM Gold
Meet Virginia / The Joker
If It’s Love
Get to Me
Running Back (Trying to Talk to You)
Play That Song
Bruises/Love the One You’re With (with John Popper)
Save Me, San Francisco
Turn the Radio Up (with Jewel)
Dancing Queen/Listen to the Music (with Jewel)
It’s Everything
Marry Me
When I Look to the Sky
Calling All Angels
50 Ways to Say Goodbye
Hey, Soul Sister/Vacation
Drive By/Hey Jude
Dream On
Drops of Jupiter 

Jewel Setlist
Standing Still
Long Way ’round
No More Tears
Love Me, Just Leave Me Alone
You Were Meant for Me
Yodel Song
Foolish Games
Who Will Save Your Soul

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