Alive at Last
I have been a fan of Train since before “Meet Virginia” hit mainstream radio. They were the first band that actually e-mailed me back with a real e-mail, not just a fan club mass “Don’t forget to look for (insert artist) on HGTV planting petunias” e-mail. I taped the debut of “Meet Virginia” when it was on MTV’s 120 Minutes, and I remember when it became a “Spankin’ New” video six months later. I remember walking outside and cheering at the top of my lungs when Train won Best Rock Song at the Grammys, beating two U2 songs.
So when I received Alive at Last, I was thrilled but a little leery. I have seen Train live, and it was a wonderful show (to tell you how long ago that was… they opened for Ben Folds Five); but back then, they had only released their self-titled album. After hearing My Private Nation, I wasn’t so sure about a live album. I guess I wasn’t ready for the all-out pop tracks, like “My Private Nation” and “When I Look to the Sky.” I was going through a crisis of sorts. I’d followed this band for over five years, and now I thought they were selling out.
When I listened to Alive At Last, I realized, as I was listening to lead singer Pat Monahan talk to the crowd during the eight minute version of “Save the Day,” that this is why Train is one of my favorite bands. They love what they do. They are passionate about their music, and they are damn good at it. The live renditions of “Drops of Jupiter” and “Free” are awe-inspiring, giving a new depth that I had not noticed before. Now that I have listened to Alive at Last well over a dozen times, and the two studio tracks (“Ordinary” and “New Sensation”) at least a dozen more, I feel like I know Train better than I have ever before. Needless to say, my aforementioned misgivings have been laid to rest.