I’ve always had a weakness for Train’s play-on-words and cheeky rhyming, so it was a word nerd’s paradise at Friday night's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo show. Gone were the shiny silver pants Train lead singer Patrick Monahan donned for a Grammy appearance and instead, the whole band embraced their urban cowboy in front of 63,599 at Reliant Stadium.
The radio-friendly band kicked off with "If It’s Love," taking pictures of the crowd and promising to tweet them later, followed by "Meet Virginia" and "Drive By."
It clearly takes some work to sing, run and shake hands simultaneously and it was endearing.
Proving there’s some Led Zeppelin in every band, Monahan did an impressive turn at "Ramble On" (turns out he led a tribute band) and, much to the delight of old school Journey and teen Glee fans, moved into "Don’t Stop Believin", proving if you’re going to do covers, go big.
Monahan ran along the fence singing, and while he gets points for interacting with the crowd, somewhere his vocals were making Steve Perry wish he’d run away with Michaele Salahi instead of Neal Schon.
"She’s On Fire" started out a little bit pop but wound up a lot country. Monahan threw his black cowboy hat into the crowd and announced he also wanted to give away his guitar. Moments later, a dozen Texas cuties in Trainettes T-shirts filed onto the stage for an interactive interlude.
In the moments that followed, it became apparent Monahan needs his own variety show. He asked the group to dance while "Burn Baby Burn" played, but unfortunately, it seemed only two girls he deemed “Funky Spice” and “Sexy Trainette” got the memo and he bantered with the crowd about the lack of oomph on the stage.
“I don’t know where we got these girls,” he said to the crowd, which led to a dance-off, followed by the entire group attempting to mimic Monahan sing "Hey, Soul Sister." Sexy Trainette won that battle of the voice, but if it’s any consolation Funky Spice, the crowd totally thought you nailed it.
"Calling All Angels" and "Save Me, San Francisco" followed and after asking the crowd if they wanted to get romantic, Monahan slipped on a white T-shirt that said “Marry Me” in neon pink and zipped back out into the crowd. It clearly takes some work to sing, run and shake hands simultaneously and it was endearing. He’s a generous fellow and at the end of the song, he signed the shirt, throwing it into the audience.
"Hey, Soul Sister" was a good old-fashioned sing-a-long and the crowd ate it up, but when the first few notes of "Drops of Jupiter" played, Train fans responded with “heeey, heeeeeaaaay” and sang the rest of the song with the band.
Monahan is personable, engaging, funny and, when not racing around the floor of the rodeo, a talented singer. Especially when he references Winger and rhymes downward spiral with viral.