Review: Under The Sun Tour – Red Hat Amphitheater, Raleigh NC – 1st August 2014.

Blues Traveler - RHA - 08012014 - 15

The Under the Sun Tour rolled through Raleigh with Sugar Ray, Uncle Kracker, SmashMouth, and Blues Traveler. Not only did this tour have 90s and early 2000s nostalgia written all over it, but it also meant a night loaded with hits that everyone could sing along to, and that’s exactly what we did.

Leading off the night was Sugar Ray (★★★★), still fronted by the ever excitable Mark McGrath. Not only did he set the entertainment and energy bar high for the night, but he said one of the purposes of the tour was to bring back 90s, “Pop-n-Roll.” The band played through Someday, When It’s Over, and I Just Wanna Fly. Mark was a ton of fun on stage, the band sounded great, and the night was off to an awesome start.

Next up was Uncle Kracker (★★), who didn’t manage to hold the crowd’s attention or keep the energy rolling from the previous set. The band played Follow Me and a few lesser known songs, but didn’t make much of an impression overall.

Then SmashMouth (★★★★★) took the stage to thunderous applause and proceeded to rock through some of their biggest hits including Walking On The Sun, Can’t Get Enough Of You Baby, and All Star. During this high-energy set, the band also made sure to play their cover of The Monkees I’m A Believer that brought the house down.

But truth be told, a lot of people came out expressly to see Blues Traveler (★★★★★), and it was well worth their time. John Popper showed off his legendary harmonica skills and held absolutely nothing back during the set. His voice was also on point, and reminded us all why this band topped charts in the 90s. They played through Run-Around, Hook, and But Anyway. John brought Uncle Kracker out on stage for a song, and for most of it, Uncle Kracker was visibly mesmerized by Popper’s harmonica playing.

This was a tour that was explicitly designed to make people have fun, and it did that successfully. Well over a decade after some of these songs charted, people sill know every word and sang their hearts out. But the true star of the night was Blues Traveler, as they played an incredible, unforgettable set.

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