Coasting on their latest album’s hits, and with an associated sea cruise on the horizon, the San Francisco-based pop rockers train are rollin’ through summer

by Jon Domenick

When the band Train’s newest LP, A Girl, a Boat, a Bottle, dropped in January—its first without founding member Jimmy Stafford—lead singer Patrick Monahan explained that its overall theme was inspired by Jimmy Buffett classics to conjure images of beaches, water craft, and warm weather fun.

The band’s current tour is traversing the globe through October (rumor has it that Stafford will rejoin the group for selected dates this year), to be followed by another of its popular “Sail
Across the Sun” cruises aboard the 965-foot Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Pearl, leaving New Orleans in March of 2018.

Train’s new single, “Play That Song,” made the Top 40 charts, rising as high as #7. Using the familiar notes of the 1938 pop hit “Heart and Soul,” the breezy tune and its ebullient, upbeat, and
well-choreographed video are meant to evoke what Monahan called “corny and sweet” emotions, while introducing a new generation to the venerable classic.

The new Play That Song Tour, featuring O.A.R. and Natasha Bedingfield, hits the Garden State Arts Center amphitheater (now called the PNC Arts Center) on June 9. Fans can expect to hear blockbuster hits from the group’s 24-year career, including “Drops
of Jupiter,” “Hey Soul Sister,” “Calling all Angels,” and “Drive By.”

Train has sold more than 10 million albums, achieving mainstream success with an eponymous 1998 debut album, which included the hit “Meet Virginia.” Monahan, a Pennsylvania native who began his music career in a Led Zeppelin cover band, formed Train with Rob Hotchkiss, a fact that helps explain last year’s release of their album Train Does Led Zeppelin II.

For the 2014 chart-topping single “Angel in Blue Jeans,” the band
produced a western-themed mini-movie featuring New Girl star Hannah Simone, with actor Danny Trejo playing the hero and “singing” with Monahan’s voice (the lead singer played a questionable sheriff in the video).

Timepiece Spread

“Drive By,” an international smash in 2012, has more than 100 million YouTube views, while 2009’s charttopping hit “Hey Soul Sister” has been used in numerous films, TV shows, and commercials. One of the group’s most popular songs, 2001’s Grammy winner “Drops of Jupiter,” was inspired by Monahan’s late mother’s cancer battle.

In addition to the Holmdel show, other area appearances include the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, and Jones Beach Theatre in New York. International dates include gigs in UK, Australia, Japan, and Amsterdam.

PNC Arts Center / Holmdel (Exit 114, Garden State
Parkway) / Friday, June 9, 7:00 p.m.