Just in the nick of time to embrace the spirit of the 2017 holiday season, Train released, for the first time ever, Christmas in Tahoe in October 2017 to digital retailers other than Amazon. This sugar plum album, originally released in November of 2015, is a compilation album of 3 tracks of original Christmas music, along with mouthwatering renditions of Christmas classics to stream or download with a simple click of a mouse!
Included is their hit single “Shake Up Christmas,” it fittingly would become the title of their show at The Paramount in Huntington, NY presented by WALK 97.5 FM on Tuesday, November 28th. A day prior to having the honor of being selected to play at the 85th Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting ceremony New York City at NBC Today Show, the night at The Paramount had a early holiday cheer no one could deny.
Joining Train with holiday spirit in their heart was none other than Adam Ezra and The Alternate Routes, two outstanding bands who played back to back as direct support. Eyes aglow with emoji hearts were fastened onto the stage, ready for the fun to begin.
Adam Ezra, a composer, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist from the Boston, MA area, was the first class act to grace the stage. No stranger to the music scene, or performing at The Paramount, his band Corinna Smith Josh Gold, Francis Hickey, Turtle, and Alex Martin were eager to get the music started. Having enjoyed the musical spotlight with the recently released album Hurricane Wind, “All I Am” is one of three tracks off this album that is co-written by Ezra himself and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Oates. What a coup for Ezra!
This in mind, this talented man strode onstage as if he owned it and gave the crowd his heart and soul as he crooned original tunes! As alluded to, Ezra is no stranger to The Paramount stage, previously rocking as an opening act for the class act such as Melissa Etheridge. Feeling right at home with his band, Ezra won the hearts of all present as he laid bare his charming persona and gift of gab! He carries with him a heart of gold as he helps his fellow man in a cause he cares so much about- he and bandmates joined forces in helping raise money for vets who are down and out! What an inspiration to us all, but also a great opening set of music!
Next came The Alternate Routes, an Alternative Rock band from Bridgeport, CT. Together for some time, they have a long list of achievements through the years. For one, in 2006, they have won an Independent Music award for the song “Ordinary.” Then, in 2013, they had their single “Nothing More” showcased on NCIS. Now supporting their 2017 album, Live in Pawling, The Alternate Routes brought a ton of energy with them across the Long Island Sound to Huntington village.
Consisting of Tim Warren (lead vocals/guitars), Eric Donnelly (backing vocals/guitar), Kurt Leon (drums), and Taryn Chory (vocals), as unit, the band came out in sync and ready to rock. Engaging the audience, they dished out a passionate collection of original music that included heartwarming renditions of their songs “Safe Haven” and “Stronger.” Those who like good Rock music should certainly check out The Alternative Routes.
Following the two respective supporting acts, a hush came over the theater as patrons waited expectantly for that signature whistle that heralds Train’s coming to town. There is no doubt most were thinking ‘All they want for Christmas’ is a little bit of Train. A Grammy Award winning Pop Rock band, San Francisco, CA’s own Train took off without a hitch, bringing out their Santa’s velvet red bag of bells and whistles to enthrall those gathered there in their honor with their bubbly, overflowing Christmas cheer!
Led by Vocalist Patrick Monahan along with Guitarist Luis Maldonado, Bassist Hector Maldonado, Drummer Drew Shoals, Keyboardist/Guitarist Jerry Becker, as well as Backing Vocalists Nikita Houston and Sakai Smith, time after time… they are the living version of the The Little Engine That Could and lived the mantra of “I think I can!” Completely having everyone’s attention, eyes transfixed on stage, nothing short of a natural disaster would have caused them to stray.
A warm atmosphere, with garland and lighting draped across the balconies and front of the stage, even for a month early, it really felt like Christmas. Wasting little time, Train stirred the hearts with easily recognized songs such as “Meet Virginia” and the newer “Drink Up.” Then there were times when glasses were raised up in salute and voices chimed for “Marry Me,” “Drive By,” and “If It’s Love.” Keeping everyone enthralled, the first bars of the soulful Grammy Award winning “Calling All Angels” inspired more cheers while the rockin’ “Hey, Soul Sister” had many dancing.
That said, the show primarily kept its Christmas spirited theme throughout, sprinkling in cuts including “What Christmas Means to Me,” the aforementioned “Shake Up Christmas,” “The River,” and a touching cover of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” It was a perfect mix of holiday tunes and Train hits, but also, some pleasant surprises. One of those gifts included a tribute to the late, great Tom Petty in the form of his classic “Free Fallin’.” Recently passing in October, Petty is one of America’s best songwriters, and Train’s cover not only did him justice but came from their heart.
Keeping it intimate and personal, Monahan also performed his 2007 solo track “Always Midnight” without the benefit of a microphone. Putting down the mic, he amplified his voice to the mezzanine far in the back as backing vocalists and piano filled the empty space in between, creating a chilling portion of the show. Showing no signs of being under the weather, this was just one of the many instances Monahan connected strongly with the room. Others included “50 Ways To Say Goodbye,” and of course, evening closer, “Drops of Jupiter.” The latter, a track which holds a special place in Monahan’s heart, spoke loud and clear. Never give up is a personal mantra for Monahan, one that has helped him navigate through the tough times, and thanks to Train’s music, fans as well.
So, wonder what to give this holiday season? How about the gift of music in the form of Train’s Christmas in Tahoe album? Better yet, get someone a ticket to see Train in concert! While there is only the show out in Napa, CA on December 1st and the Sail Across The Sun Cruise out of New Orleans, LA in March, there are bound to be more dates announced soon. A band that is still going strong, Train deserves a resounding standing ovation for a phenomenal holiday concert that left everyone awestruck and with memories to share over family gatherings this season.
Photo credit: Stephanie Pearl Photography
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