Storytelling and Singing: John Popper of Blues Traveler at City Winery (September 18, 2018)

15 minutes after 8, John Popper comes up on stage. He is joined by Ben Wilson on piano. To start off the night, they play “Cara Let The Moon”. It’s a beautiful song that is perfect for the setup of a duet. Popper’s vocal skills are on full display and everyone has a good view at the City Winery, a very intimate venue.

Later on, he tells a story about the first time they heard their song on the radio. The band was touring in a van and they heard the song start to play. Only, it wasn’t their recording! It was a Coors commercial that had stolen their song. “And I can’t tell you what happened next,” smirks Popper as the audience laughs. He goes on to play the song they stole, “But Anyway”.

In between songs, an audience member yells out, “What is your favorite Bobby Sheehan memory?” Sheehan was the founding Blues Traveler bassist who died from an overdose in 1999. After thinking out loud for a bit, Popper shares it was Bobby’s ability to be so observant that he seemed to be psychic in his ability to notice the smallest things.

Toward,the end of the night, Popper says “I forgot to prostitute myself!” He goes on to mention his book, Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I’m Not Supposed to Tell. It’s very appropriate that he is promoting a book rather than an album as he talks just about as much as he sings tonight.

suck

To close out the set, John sings “It doesn’t matter what I say, as long as I sing with inflection.”  It’s the start of “Hook”, and everyone shows a smile on their face. The harmonica solo on this track is legendary. Also, the fast-paced singing is quite the feat.

Quinn Delaney

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