Pat Travers Band -
BB King’s Blues Club & Grill, New York City, USA, Sunday, March 12th, 2017
It has been several years since I have had the opportunity to see The Pat Travers Band live. Nothing has changed as far Pat Travers’s guitar prowess or his being a genuine, humble gentleman. Travers has always had a relaxed approach and this time was no different. He was at ease and that kept the audience at ease, but, yet mesmerized by who was on stage in front of them.
This time the trio consisted of Pat Travers, of course, David Pastorius on Bass and Tommy Craig manning the drums. A man named Pastorius was probably destined to be a bass player. His decision was a good one. He held down the pulse and added to the rhythm section with a rich bass tone. Craig is one hell of a drummer. With a trio it is easier for musicians to stand out but they also have to really be on their game. Craig is on his game, I do not know a lot about drumming technique but I know a good drummer when I hear one.
Pat Travers took the stage with his band. He was relaxed which is always contagious, the seated audience felt the same but at no time were they not aware of the legend in front of them. It had been quite a while since I have seen Travers, live, he still had the take no prisoners approach to guitar technique. Watching him in an up close and personal venue such at BB King’s Blues Club was quite a treat.
Travers launched into ‘Rock and Roll Suzie’ from his 1977 album ‘Makin’ Magic’. His lanky form and nimble fingers flew across his fretboard and it sounded divine. From ‘Suzie’ the band began ‘Life in London’ and shortly after ‘Crash and Burn’. The later is an atmospheric blues number with a smooth bass line courtesy of Pastorius and a hammering drum pace from Craig. These two proving they had perfected every Travers number.
The blues vibe continued with a little ‘Statesboro Blues’ and the more upbeat ‘Gettin’ Betta’. The audience was enthralled but like most shows persisted in calling out for some of their favorites. Travers did not disappoint with this ‘Snortin’ Whiskey’ riding on the heels of his already stellar set.
A benefit of seeing musicians in such an intimate setting is the chance for them to engage the fans. As with most artists, who have the staying power to play for decades, there are stories behind the songs and songs behind the stories.
Before beginning ‘Heat in the Street’ Travers spoke of his first visit to New York in 1977. He told of the record company picking him up in a limo and having a $400 lobster. It wasn’t hard to envision to the decadence of the 1970’s and what a music paradise it was. That also must have been one hell of a lobster even by today’s standards. Still, listening to Travers speak, it was easy to understand what an opportunity it was to hear the details of the beginnings of decades of song.
Travers and his band mates rounded off the evening with ‘Boom, Boom (Out Go The Lights)’. Even anyone not familiar with Travers’s extensive catalog knows this one. As always it was a crowd pleasing, high energy, electrically charged, perfect fit for a finale.
When a busy band takes a moment to say hello, it makes my appreciation for them even stronger. 99.9% of the musicians I have met and/or interviewed have been among the most pleasant people I have encountered and these three are among them. When a master guitarist, I grew up listening to, takes a moment to ask if anyone wants anything from catering; it may seem trivial to some but for me it shows a person for who they are. Not only is Pat Travers a phenomenal part of music he is also a nice guy and that goes for Craig and Pastorius as well.
This band is a unit with Pat Travers at the helm. I was already prepared for a spectacular show but the reality of the night exceeded my expectations. The last thing I will say is I can’t wait until they swing through New York City again.
By Dawn Belotti