By Andrea McCann
“I’ve got the music in me,” as the song goes. Always have. It’s a rare — and scary — occasion when I don’t have a song running through my head.
I remember an episode of “Ally McBeal” in which it came up that Ally heard songs in her head and someone questioned it. Her surprised response was “Doesn’t everybody?” Much as I hate to identify with the neurotic and anorexic Ally, it had never occurred to me, either, that some people might not have cerebral radio.
Every year I try to see someone in concert. Recently I saw Train, an Indiana State Fair concert held in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. I had great seats five rows up, a stone’s throw (even for me!) from the stage. I like Train, but don’t consider myself a “fan,” so bear that in mind when I say it was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while.
The band members were enthusiastic, seemed to enjoy themselves and interacted with the audience, which I found entertaining. Introduced with a loud, dramatic locomotive sound, the band started on time with the upbeat “50 Ways to Say Goodbye,” about a guy who’s dumped by his girlfriend and makes up outlandish excuses, such as being eaten by a lion and attacked by a shark, to explain why she’s no longer around.
Frontman Patrick Monahan told the crowd, “It feels like home here in Indianapolis” prior to launching into “This’ll Be My Year.” He also dedicated a mashup, beginning with “They Call Me Free,” to all the fans who stuck with Train through the years as they earned their props, bringing them from The Patio, a small venue in Broad Ripple, to Bankers Life Fieldhouse downtown.
During “If It’s Love,” Monahan grabbed phone cameras and took pictures of the crowd as he sang, “I’m not in it to win it, I’m in it for you. If it’s love and we’re two birds of a feather, then the rest is just whatever.”
It was a video camera he commandeered during “Save Me San Francisco.” Singing “I’ve been high, I’ve been low, I’ve been yes, I’ve been no — h@#& no — I’ve been rock and I’ve been disco. Won’t you save me San Francisco?” the crowd chimed in to help out with “no — h@#& no” as Monahan panned the video camera. The wiry frontman, wearing skinny jeans and a “Rock Out With Your Cupcake Guy” T-shirt, encouraged audience participation in several songs.
He periodically autographed a T-shirt and threw it into the crowd. Five little girls from the crowd received T-shirts when they were brought onstage to perform the “oooooh” during “Mermaid” and do a mermaid dance
Three young ladies won the opportunity on Twitter to sing onstage with Monahan. “Margaret” was the only one who knew the words to “Bruises,” Monahan’s favorite song off the new “California 37” album. She had a heck of a voice, eliciting compliments from Monahan as they sang “Everybody loses, we all got bruises. These bruises make for better conversation.”
The band played some of their chart toppers, such as “Meet Virginia,” “Drops of Jupiter” and “Calling All Angels,” as well as some of their newer hits like “Marry Me” and “Soul Sister.” Screams from the crowd during “Marry Me” stopped Monahan, who asked if someone just got engaged; someone had.
As the concert drew to a close, Monahan presented a signed guitar to two young boys in Colts jerseys whom he pulled from the audience, telling them they’re the future of Indy.
“I always leave Indy feeling like this is where the heart of the country is,” Monahan said.
“Thank you for a good time. Thank you for always being true to who you are. Thank you for always making Indianapolis feel like home every time.”
When I talked to some concert-goers, all said they were happy the show was in the air-conditioned fieldhouse instead of at the state fair grandstand this year.
Everyone got fair admission tickets with their concert tickets, and they were pleased they could use them any day of the fair instead of just the day of the concert.
There’s still time to catch some good shows this summer. Check out Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville; The Lawn at White River State Park and The Murat Theatre, both in Indianapolis; and The Ford Center in Evansville online for concert and ticket information.
With the economic situation what it is these days, a concert is a great way to escape for a short time and “get the beat” without breaking the bank too badly.
Andrea plans to catch KISS and Motley Crüe today and possibly Seether in October. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.