Train Roars Through Tanglewood

Fans Hop On for a Wild Ride

By: - Aug 09, 2011

Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train Train

On an otherwise laconic Monday night in the Berkshires Train thundered through Tanglewood.

A bevy of babes from soccer moms to skinny Minnie teenieboppers hopped aboard at the invitation of lead singer, baby sitter and cheer leader Patrick Monahan. Encouraging the girls with “I don’t mind,” when have we heard that before, he invited them to join him on stage to sing, dance, titubate and cavort.

What fun.

And the powers that be at otherwise staid Tanglewood let it happen.

Wild eyed adolescents, mostly girls, were charging up and down the aisles flashing away with cameras and cell phones. Monahan joined in with his own camera and appeared to be texting and tweeting along with the fans.


It was so awesome.

While Monahan encouraged the girls to join him on stage he had another trick. During “Marry Me” he charged out into the audience making his way through the Shed like a rocker pied piper. You could follow the wave as it made its way about. I charged out of my seat, hey I’m a senior citizen for cripes sake, and tried to catch up with the frenzy. It surged by like a Tsunami as Monahan made his way back to the stage.

Mostly train- Monahan, guitar player Jimmy Stafford and drummer Scott Underwood- are known for Top 40 smash hits like “Meet Virginia” “Soul Sister” “Drops” and “San Francisco.” The music they played was catchy. The mix sound had Monahan way on top so you could follow the lyrics. Often the audience joined in on the chorus of familiar tunes.

Sure they sound great on the radio with all those catchy hooks.

But at Tanglewood last night they proved to be an incredible high energy, stomping live act.

Monahan may not be as pretty as Mick Jagger but he has a similar charisma and magic touch when whipping an audience into a frenzy. He was in perpetual motion roaming back and forth on the stage. He performed one on one with all segments of the Shed. Everybody seemed to have a personal moment as he made eye contact and serenaded us.

I saw swooning teens sharing their cell phone shots, OMG, OMG.

There were flashes of Beatlemania at Shea Stadium.

No, really, Train isn’t that good. But in these hard times they are good enough.

Hey, we all do the best we can.

Train whipped out their whole bag of tricks.

Including a nice touch of Flamenco during “Latin Bit.” It started with some sensational Spanish guitar and then the spot moved to the top of the stage to catch a woman playing cello. She moved down to the stage for some flamenco dancing joined by Monahan tricked out in an ersatz, red, toreador  jacket. Groovy.

At the end of an exciting 90 minute set they closed with “This Ain’t Goodbye.” Monahan used the occasion to thank the audience for inviting them to Tanglewood. Stating that he would like to do this again next year and the year after that. Kind of like those annual James Taylor sellouts.

Hey, what a great idea.

Mark Volpe are you listening? Also, on this occasion, the program included the Boston Cello Quartet playing like classical music and stuff. As well as clever arrangements of Train songs.

Kids, cellos and rock ‘n’ roll. From a marketing and pr point of view what’s not to like about that?


Last night I saw the future of rock ‘n’ roll, to paraphrase Jon Landau, and it’s Tanglewood.

Good grief.

Let the good times rock and roll.

Link to a Trainwreck review by Dylanologist Seth Hat Head Rogovoy.