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A Canadian saint among us: Pat Travers at Revolution Hall.

His Love Kicks Our Asses


By Bill Ketzer

Pat Travers

Revolution Hall, June 23

Like disciples on the road to Emmaus, we are so often incapable of seeing that you, O Patrick Henry Travers, were our companion all along the way. But when our eyes were opened, we realized that you were speaking to us, even though perhaps we had forgotten you from the years of approximately 1986 to 1999. And now the sign of our trust in you is that, in our turn, we prioritize Putting It Straight on vinyl over the new Nickelback CD any old day of the week, whether we mow lawns or blow glass or show houses to families of four. Independent of our doubts or even our faith, O Canadian One, you are always there: Your magnanimous and scorching hot licks burn in our heart of hearts, revealing these four basic truths:

Pat Travers is patient. Lo, for three numbers immediately following your humble appearance before the faithful, you were made to endure great personal suffering at the hands of soundboard and its overseers, depriving your drummer Eric Frates of a working monitor and assassinating the stage mix with a persistent low-end moan from the microphones comparable to a Brachiosaurus giving birth to a Volkswagen. Eventually, you were caused to remind those in your service that perhaps a better knowledge of frequency response curves would be helpful, and that surely with a few hundred thousand dollars worth of equipment on stage some benevolent act of competence could be undertaken to assuage his plight. But you never lost faith. And this was of great consequence because despite these matters:

Pat Travers is ass-kicking. Of the four truths, this is perhaps the most vital to our nourishment. All of us who live by vows, whether in the passion or love or the sorrow of vengeance, know that rock stardom can be an inadequate image for personal commitment. Like our lives, this eternal quest for greatness and longevity can be biting and fraught with peril, sometimes richer, sometimes more pitifully peculiar and decrepit (sort of like Keith Richards) than when we took our vows. Praise be to you for your vision, for being one of the few who can indeed continue to kick the rosy white ass of your aging target demographic with refreshing new material like “I Don’t Care” and “Elijiah.” Sunday evening’s jubilee revealed, in retrospect, that it was your plan, not ours, that counted when we were preoccupied, dabbling as a people with the odious and bedraggled likes of Bush and Our Lady Peace. You did not call us to help you. When the time was right, you called us instead because you still loved us and wanted to kick our asses, and perhaps ass-kicking looks bad on paper but is actually of great merit because:

Pat Travers is kind. My worshipful guitar master, if I were to gather a list of all the songs I would implore you to play at top volume in a small club in Troy on a Sunday night for 250 lovers and madmen, you couldn’t have read my mind any more accurately. Surrounded by youthful craftsmen (one of which nailed Pat Thrall’s “Heat in the Street” guitar solo note-for-note no less) and with boots planted firmly in middle age, you deftly delivered “Life in London,” “Stevie,” “Hooked on Music” and the pugnacious “Crash and Burn.” You had mercy upon our errant and attention deficit souls and anointed our ears with the cool, cool water of “Snortin’ Whiskey” and “Boom, Boom (Out Go the Lights).” O, how fortunate to bear witness to the glory of your 20-minute encore rendition of “Born Under a Bad Sign.” One can derive no other conclusion from such howling fury than the conviction that:

Pat Travers is loving. Indeed, there is nothing you, Pat Travers, cannot face. You can even face the Capital Region working class after any number of them have ingested enough bourbon to kill an Irish yeti, emerging post-gig from the confines of your dressing room (also, used, I suspect as extra storage space for the in-house Mr. Subb) to pose for digital photos and sign copies of Blues Magnet. There is no limit to your capacity for faith, hope, and endurance. There is no finer use of electricity, not this night, not ever, until I arise one morning without the ability to grind coffee for my espresso machine. Until then however, godspeed my good captain! Amen.

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