Most epic bass solo ever! Yes, we knew John Popper (vocalist and harmonica) is a virtuoso on the harmonica. We expected that and were not disappointed. But being my first Blues Traveler concert, I did not expect the amazing bass solo that we heard from Tad Kinchla. Yes, the posted setlists usually refer to a “bass jam” around the fourth song. But referring to Kinchla’s solo as a “bass jam” simply does not do it justice. It was epic in all respects.
Blues Traveler appeared at Arizona Bike Week at Westworld in Scottsdale, AZ. In addition to Popper and Tad Kinchla, the band is made up of Tad’s older brother Chan Kinchla on guitar, Brendan Hill on drums and Ben Wilson on Keyboards. Hill and Wilson also had their own solos with Wilson bringing out a keytar for his and playing mostly from the drum riser – with a nice jump from the drum riser at the end of the solo. The only surprise might have been that Chan Kinchla never really had his own clear solo as well which he is clearly deserving of. Chan Kinchlaw had several featured moments within songs but never really seemed to have his own full solo.
Blues Traveler hit all the right notes throughout the set. They played their hits and took significant jam-band liberties with their covers. In addition to their own hits, Sublime’s What I got and Charlie Daniels Band’s The Devil Went Down to Georgia were particular favorites.
And showing that they’re true professionals, they played without stop right through one of those major dust storms that the valley tends to get in advance of coming storms. That could not have been easy on Popper’s vocals or harmonica playing, but he powered right through as did the entire band without pause.
It was a terrific performance in what turned out to be a tough environment – it demonstrated exactly why Blues Traveler has had the staying power it has and are still a great band to see live.
Review and photos by Greg Cohen
Photos © Greg Cohen 2016