Whether you want to meet Virginia or Cleopatra, you can have both because Train just kicked off their AM Gold North American tour. They will trek across the US until the end of August, and OC Music News will catch them in Nashville to prep you for their SoCal dates.
The band has sold more than 10 million albums since their start and is going to add to that total with their new release, “AM Gold.” The “AM Gold” tour includes support from Jewel and Blues Traveler, so we highly suggest you attend. The tour will visit SoCal for two dates: July 26th in San Diego at North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre, and July 29th in Irvine at FivePoint Amphitheater.
I do have to interject myself in their story for one moment because it took place in 1999 and I have never gotten over it. During a photo op at a radio event, a fan asked for a pic with the guys of Train…. and asked them to put her on their shoulders. On a hot summer day. Before they performed in front of 20,000 people. So please, do not ever ask a band to do this. Like, ever. Thank you.
The San Francisco band currently consists of founder and front-man Pat Monahan, Taylor Locke on guitar, Jerry Becker on keyboards and guitar, Hector Maldonado on bass, Matt Musty on drums, and backing vocals from Nikita Houston and Sakai Smith.
Formed in 1993, their 1998 self-titled, self-produced debut album got attention with “Free” and “I Am,” and would sell more than a million copies. But it was “Meet Virginia” that was EVERYWHERE in 1999 and turned Train into a mainstream act.
Their 2001 follow-up housed the title track, “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me),” and Train not only continued to be a successfully-selling band (more than two million copies this time), but also picked up two Grammy Awards. With last year being the 20th anniversary of the album, Monahan told Billboard, “At the time I thought, ‘There’s no way people are going to like this song, it’s just too long.’” I’m sure he is ok with being wrong on that.
Once again, they performed well with the release of 2003’s “My Private Nation” which featured the single “Calling All Angels.” The song would appear in popular TV shows and later be used by the California Angels baseball team. Perhaps showing they truly made it, Train was also spoofed on “Saturday Night Live.”
There were some membership changes and a hiatus, but in 2009, Train returned with “Save Me, San Francisco.” It offered up three amazing singles: “Hey, Soul Sister,” “Marry Me,” and “If It’s Love.” “Hey, Soul Sister” became their highest-charting single and sold six million digital copies on its own, plus a live version scored them their third Grammy Award.
Since then, they added more albums, including a Christmas and Led Zeppelin cover album, live album and greatest hits, had a song in “Spider-Man 2,” released solo and side project work, and become activists. There’s even a wine collection in there, which I can confirm tastes fantastic, and benefits charity. They have continued to have album success with “California 37,” “Bulletproof Picasso,” and “A Girl, a Bottle, a Boat.”
“AM Gold” would be their first new album in five years and includes singles “Running Back (Trying to Talk to You),” “Turn the Radio Up,” and “Cleopatra,” in addition to the title track. With Sofia Reyes, “Cleopatra” is a sultry, Latin, summery song begging for cocktails after the sun has gone down. Jewel guests on “Turn the Radio Up,” so you know they’ll join forces onstage during the tour. Monahan also guested on her single “Dancing Slow,” so more than one stage pairing seems likely.
Monahan told USA Today that while the pandemic delayed the album, it gave him time to learn how to master his studio. With other members giving him remote lessons, their collaborations led to “a much better album.” With Becker and Musty working over Zoom, the album – although with some ‘70s vibes, yet a bit of ‘90s pop rock – has “a more current sound.” Filled with “reflective and breakup songs,” “AM Gold” checks a lot of boxes for me. Seriously, listen to “Fake Flowers” and “It’s Everything” and cry with me. (Monahan’s wife Amber was the inspiration for “It’s Everything” – “I love every minute I get with her. There’s just not going to ever be enough minutes.” *tears*)
Train was eager to return to the live stage with Monahan stating, “Writing songs for two and a half years in front of video screens instead of being in the presence of other humans has been a long, strange trip. And now here we are. It has to start with love. Love that goes into work comes out of work. We love this song, this album, and our fans. Thank you for waiting so long for us.”
With decades of hits and catchy new music, Train is sure to be a concert worth making time for. If you cannot make it to one of their actual shows, Train will livestream their August 6th performance at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.