Friday Night: Train At Reliant Stadium
Halfway through their Friday night show at the Houston Rodeo Train decided to host a dance-off. It was, much like their booking as rodeo entertainment, a noble but unsuccessful experiment.
A year ago, the idea of Train as rodeo entertainment wouldn't have seemed far-fetched. It might even have been a feel-good story: The little band that everyone had forgotten about finishes their comeback year in front of 70,000 in Reliant Stadium.
Unfortunately Train just isn't a band built to play stadiums. Their hearts might have been in the right place, but they didn't have the energy or the catalogue to deliver a stadium-sized show.
Things were shaky from the start. "If It's Love" is a perfectly acceptable adult pop song, but there was a noticeable drop in energy from the end of the post-rodeo fireworks and the start of the song. Most of the songs in their set had that problem: they might be good on the radio but they don't fill a stadium.
Maybe the band knew that would be an issue. That might explain why their set was peppered with moments geared more toward winning over the audience as opposed to giving them a good performance.
A medley of classic rock songs arrived early in the set. First up was "Ramble On"; weird choice, but it's not hard to believe that the band are Led Zeppelin fans. Next up was a brief bit of "Walk On The Wild Side"; another weird choice but kind of edgy. How many times do you get a Lou Reed song at the rodeo?
Then came "Don't Stop Believing." It probably seemed like a good idea: It's a song that everybody knows and most people like.
Unfortunately for the band, by the time the song came to the big singalong singer Patrick Monahan was so winded from running around the stadium that he couldn't quite hit the high notes the way he should have. It killed the momentum of the song and of the show. It was something that could have been really cool that just sort of fizzled out.