Story by Ace Sims, Reporter
Photos by Amber Miller, Photographer
The Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Mo. played host to the Blues Traveler 30th year anniversary tour, yes 30 years, now run off and feel old, well after you finish reading this and looking at the pictures of course.
It was a two band set leading off with Los Colognes out of Nashville, Ten. Los Colognes were the perfect complement to Blues Traveler with their jam band style and lengthy guitar-laden tunes. At times if you closed your eyes you could hear a little of Tom Petty coming through in Jay Rutherford’s vocals which gave you that warm and fuzzy feeling in your heart as we remembered one of the greats who left us way too soon.
When folks talk about different instruments and the people who played them, no matter our favorites, they are all likely legends. Hendrix on the guitar, Peart on the drums, and then there is John Popper of Blues Traveler on the harmonica.
His style and innovation of the juice harp over the years has made him the best in the business. On this night, Blues Traveler opened their set with their rendition of The Charlie Daniels Band’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” with, of course, Mr. Popper subbing out those fiddle solos for his harmonica.
If you have never seen Blues Traveler live it is a site to see, John Popper has become a master of sleight of hand as he swaps from one harmonica to another, all tuned to a different key depending on the song or part of the song being played. Popper has also developed a special microphone that is equipped with different effects to the likings of a peddle board for a guitarist which allows him to create his signature sound.
But it is not all John Popper on stage putting on the show as everyone in the band gets their chance to show what they can do with their weapon of choice. Hits such as “Runaround,” “The Mountains Win Again” and, of course, “Hook” all rang out over the Uptown audience as the smells of “nature” engulfed the crowd. 30 years may have passed but Blues Traveler have stood the test of time. Here is to another 30 years and one of the legends of his craft.