Train @ Ceasar’s Atlantic City

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ—After being out of the spotlight for three years, Train is back on tour to support their fifth studio release, Save Me, San Francisco. Caesar’s Atlantic City was their stop for the NJ area, pulling a diverse crowd into the Circus Maximus Theatre which holds roughly 1,500 people. Butch Walker opened the show with his latest band The Black Widows in support of his own recent release, I Liked It Better When You Had No Heart.

Butch Walker continues to deliver his own brand of power pop, albeit with the addition of some lap steel and banjolin this time around. Besides delivering a great performance, he’s just fun no matter what his current incarnation may be. Butch has been known to pull out the odd cover here and there, and Hall & Oates’ classic “Rich Girl” gave him the opportunity to tap Train’s Pat Monahan for some vocal camaraderie, John Oates mustache and all.

Along with a heavy dose of the new album, Train reached all the way back through their career to 1998’s “Meet Virginia” and touched on a bit of everything along the way, including 2003’s title track, “Drops Of Jupiter.” Their first single from Save Me, San Francisco has become so pervasive on both radio and TV (Samsung commercial) with it’s catchy opening ukulele strums and hey, heys, that “Hey, Soul Sister” is sure to become a show mainstay as well. Definitely one of the highlights of the night, based on the number of people singing along.

To go along with his seemingly effortless vocals, lead singer Pat Monahan’s engaging stage presence kept the majority of fans on their feet for most of the show. The rest of the band is extremely tight with top notch musicianship all around, and although they’re far from being just a backup band, they don’t seem to garner the same attention as their frontman. It’s nice to hear a great band perform in a room built for live performance, and not hockey and basketball.

While their fan base is mostly 30 and 40-somethings, there were some younger fans in the crowd as well. They may be a bit on the tame side for many 20-somethings and under, even a little corny at times. Pat brought Butch Walker & The BWs back on stage and dressed them in Trainette t-shirts for backup vocals on “She’s On Fire.” They seemed to have fun with it though, and were good sports about wearing women’s t-shirts that were three sizes too small. And of course, one of them had on the John Oates mustache for good measure.

Train covered Van Halen’s “Dance The Night Away” as part of their encore with Butch Walker assisting again on vocals. A nice job overall, but if you’re to cover VH, the guitars need to be cranked up. One song with a little bite isn’t going to scare anyone away. They closed with the very mellow “Breakfast In Bed,” which seemed an odd choice at first but worked well to wind down the night.