COLUMN: Train concert connects writer with childhood memory

Staff Writer

A column review by Rachael Rosfeld

The year is 1999. A young girl with bright red and curly, sometimes frizzy, hair sits in the passenger side of the car. The radio is playing her and her mom’s favorite station. She looks over to her mom. As she is driving her mom is snapping her fingers to the beat, singing along to all of the words. The little girl starts tapping her feet to the music and she starts to concentrate on the words so that soon she can sing along with her mom.
The song was “Meet Virginia,” which came out in 1999 and is one of the well-known numbers from the group Train. That scene was like many in my youth, driving around with my mom to various places singing with the radio blaring and swaying to the music.
“Music is about being together. It’s about bringing people together.”
This is what Train lead singer Patrick Monahan told the crowd during the group’s concert at the Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center in Noblesville Sunday (July 21). I had the good fortune of being able to attend that concert, and at it I reconnected with those memories as a little girl singing along to that song or “Drops of Jupiter,” another famous song from the group. In those moments you truly can see how a shared passion in music helps people bond. It certainly has in my family, where we all often talk about the music we love and the groups we hope to see someday.
It can also be said the same effect occurs in concerts, only this time it’s a pavilion filled with thousands of people all singing along to the same song, made even more special because they are singing along with the group.
The only damper to the Sunday concert was the weather, with heavy rain forcing the concert to be postponed and opening act Allen Stone to be cancelled. This talented artist is gaining in popularity thanks to performances on such shows as “American Idol” and others. Though his set was cancelled it was a special, and also comical moment, when Stone joined Train onstage for a performance of the love song “Bruises,” but the pair harmonized wonderfully and allowed the audience to get a taste of the talent in this young artist.
The rain did not dampen the spirits of those in attendance though and as the skies cleared concert-goers were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow. The atmosphere oftentimes felt like a party, with Train throwing signed t-shirts into the crowd, beach balls and black balloons flew through the air, confetti cannons erupted and sparks rose from the stage floor. I would not call it a full spectacle, but the elements were certainly spectacular in that they provided fun theatrics that only helped encourage this idea of community and coming together in this one moment.
This idea could be truly seen when Monahan told the story of losing his mother, and how that ultimately led him to write “When I Look to the Sky.” And as Train performed that song thousands of tiny lights from attendees’ phones were lifted into the air, as if each person were saying they too had felt the loss of someone and in that moment shared in the meaning behind the music.
Opening for Train was the Goo Goo Dolls. One of the greatest revelations from seeing their performance was that I had forgotten how many songs of theirs I enjoyed listening to, and absolutely moments of my childhood listening to them with my parents came to mind. Such songs as “Black Balloon,” “Better Days,” and many others were performed and I found myself singing along, where the lyrics came from the recesses of my mind for I had not heard them in several years. Ultimately it comes back to what Monahan had to say about music.
Perhaps one of the most poignant moments of the entire concert for me came from Goo-Goo Dolls lead singer Johnny Rzeznik. He told the story of how he started out and how he turned to music and writing songs. He told the crowd that through the process the most important part for him was making sure he wrote songs that said something.
“Because if you aren’t going to say something then get out.”
It is ultimately what led him to write one of the group’s most famous songs “Name” and his acoustic rendition sent chills down my spine.
Music has this power to leave a lasting impact. If a song resonates with you, it leaves you with a certain emotion, a memory and once that memory is with you it is hard to truly let that go.
This particular concert was certainly a highlight of those that I have seen so far this year, but the most important message I find each time I attend a concert is how special a live performance is. The songs take on new meaning, sometimes new sound, and the event brings people from all walks of life and all areas of the world together to enjoy the unifying power of music.