Nostalgia was out on full display last night as one of Scotland’s finest outfits dominated the capital with a performance of late nineties/early noughties hits that have evidently stood the test of time. Travis – led by down to earth, raspy voiced front-man Fran Healy – played the second of two shows at the prestigious Royal Festival Hall after tickets to the first were quickly snapped up by the bands eager and patient fans. With them they carried a truly remarkable album – The Man Who – which was celebrated by playing the entire collection in order for a crowd who have waiting a long time to hear some of these songs played live again.
Following an awe inspiring ‘special guest’ performance by Balham band Turin Brakes, who warmed up the crowd with hits including Painkiller, Underdog and Keep Me Around, as well as a handful of gems from new album Invisible Storm, Healy and co emerged to a deafening roar from a sold out crowd and jumped straight into The Man Who with the beautiful Writing To Reach You; Fran donning a white tee, black kilt and hair tightly slicked back; quite contrasting to his guitar wielding band members who stalked the stage in more formal attire during the bands near two hour set.
Moving through the record with pitch perfect precision and unleashing each track in its original studio record form – paying close attention to detail as Healy proved an anal musician, stopping the start of the bands performance of Turn deep into the set because of a dud note – the audience was treated to a gorgeous and inspiring live rendition of the catchy hit along with fellow single successes including Driftwood and the collectives signature hit, Why Does It Always Rain On Me?
Healy proved to be a performer readily prepared to interact with the audience; encouraging the crowd to stand up during rockier segments during the show, clap along or “act as my metronome“ while the Scots turned out the classics.
The set was also rich in anecdotes from the bands lengthy and successful career. Stories of the bands touring days with Oasis gave the crowd a chuckle as Fran told his his time on the Manchester bands Be Here Now tour and recalling an encounter with Liam where the usually foulmouthed and opinionated Britpop icon asked the Travis front-man to play the upcoming power ballad, Luv; only for Fran to be met by a weeping Gallagher brother before going on to praise the famous bad boy for his down to earth personality. The banter and jokes dished up by the charismatic crooner seasoned the set with a very intimate feel – particularly during performances of down-tempo numbers such as Love Will Come Through and the breezy Flowers In The Window which sat modestly beside gems like Side, a fantastic performance of Sing from the bands third studio album, The Invisible Band and a quirky stripped back cover of Britney Spears’ ….Baby One More Time.
While the venue seemed an odd choice to host a show like last nights Travis performance, it ultimately played host to a truly outstanding show from one of the most successful outfits to carry Britpop into the new millennium and from the show we were offered last night by the band, Fran Healy and his talented band-mates have a lot more to offer. Here’s hoping a new album or tour is on the horizon.
Writing to Reach You
As You Are
The Last Laugh of the Laughter
Why Does It Always Rain on Me?
She’s So Strange
Blue Flashing Light
Love Will Come Through
Flowers in the Window
…Baby One More Time (Britney Spears cover)
All I Want to Do Is Rock