Show Review: Fran Healy & Andy Dunlop from Travis at The Swedish American Hall, 10/8/09

by Vanessa Romero on October 9, 2009

This photo speaks for itself

This photo speaks for itself

This event was billed as “An Evening with Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop from Travis: A Chronological Acoustic Journey Through the Travis Back Catalogue- Laugh Out Loud Stories, Scottish Accents, Handsome Scottish Men, Naked Torsos.” Although one of these things didn’t occur (the naked torsos) I’m not sure I can do a better job describing the show then they did, but here goes.

As the first stop on a U.S. tour that they undertook in order to write an album while on the road (partly inspired by Jack Kerouac’s book of the same name, though taking the journey the wrong way round) you could expect that there were still a few kinks that Fran and Co. had to work out. Apparently this resulted in Fran running outside fifteen minutes before the doors opened asking a fan for a ride for some unknown reason. It may have had to do with the technical difficulties we were warned they were having (this is a show which included a slide show after all, though not the song strangely enough.) In any case, Fran and the fans eventually returned, problem apparently solved.

Fran and Andy began playing under a banner proclaiming “The Glasgow Times Magazine Presents” and the show was indeed a chronological journey through the Travis back catalog. Starting with the first song Fran Healy ever wrote, “Twenty” and ending with the last, a new song called “Holiday.” By my calculations this was my eleventh Travis show, meaning I’ve been around for a good portion of their journey, about ten years actually. Watching this show involved not only remembering Travis’ past, but remembering my past along with them. When they began playing “Twenty” I could picture myself a senior in high school in the computer lab looking for that very song on this new way of getting music that everyone was talking about: Napster (don’t worry, I paid for the song a few months later).

The loudest reaction was still for “Why Does it Always Rain on Me?”, probably their biggest hit to date, which they usually close with, but this time it came early on with a story and slides about Fran going on holiday and being rained on. Probably the most entertaining part of the show was hearing all the stories that accompany the songs. The story about how “Sing” started out as “Swing” while watching MTV on mute during the mid-nineties swing revival. Or how about how bassist Dougie Payne was added to the band because they knew they desperately needed a “cool guy” despite him not knowing how to play the bass. And can you guess which song was inspired by Jake Gyllenhaal?

It wasn’t just the stories that made the night though. The music was there as well. Andy bringing his signature guitar playing to songs like “As You Are” that most people might not expect if they are only vaguely familiar with Travis. The set was heavy on their early material, and even Fran admitted, “Don’t worry, it get’s shorter as the songs get shittier. It’s almost true.” I wouldn’t go that far Fran…

The new song, “Holiday,” which they ended the set with, sticks very much to the Travis tradition and could have been found on one of their last albums. It might sound completely different with the full band, but tonight, it was another sweet acoustic song. For the encore, Fran and Andy stayed on stage (“Pretend we left and came back”) and played “Baby One More Time,” the Britney Spears classic, while behind Fran, a picture of bald Britney was on display. The final song came as a request, and after a hiccup of forgetting how it went, Andy pulled out the twelve-string guitar and they played “Coming Around.” After a well deserved standing ovation, Fran invited everyone to come up and meet them and get things signed.

Travis have always been one of those bands that connect with their fans. This was definitely a show that was meant to give back to the fans, and it didn’t disappoint. If you are a Travis fan and don’t have tickets to one of their upcoming shows get them quick; if it is sold out where you live, get to one of the places where there are still tickets available, even if you have to fly there, because you can’t miss this experience.


More Than Us
All I Want to Do is Rock
Only Molly Knows
As You Are
Writing to Reach You
Why Does It Always Rain on Me?
The Last Laugh of the Laughter
Flowers in the Window
Blue Flashing Lights
Swing (aka Sing)
Love Will Come Through
My Eyes
Chinese Blues
Before You Were Young
Baby One More Time
Coming Around

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

homemadehitshow October 9, 2009 at 10:08 am

This show was inspired by their appearance on the UK based Songbook show. That was a great show and covered a lot of the same ground. You can torrent it from the right sites. I love this approach and wish I was not too old to travel the 70 miles to have gone to the show.


Vanessa October 9, 2009 at 10:46 am

It also reminded me of that VH1 Storytellers show (which Travis also did one of) but with new stories! They are recording all the shows and you can eventually buy them online. Don't know exactly how this will work though, but I'm getting the SF one at least.


Gordon Elgart October 9, 2009 at 10:42 am

Aren't you glad we didn't let you go to see Nick Hornby instead?


April_Jo October 9, 2009 at 1:40 pm

ROFLMFAO!! thanks for this perfect description of said events. i can't wait to see them in a couple of weeks! my show in KY isn't sold out yet, surprisingly. i'm kind of happy about this tbh. 😉


Vanessa October 9, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Thanks! Hope you have as much fun as I did!


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