I arrived early to take in the entire experience and enjoy the weather a bit longer. While the show itself was free Harry Caray's had different packages that got you closer to the stage and provided an open bar and a tasty variety of finger foods in front of the outdoor stage. Harry Caray's was very well organized and the staff seemed relaxed and on their game.
Stationed near the stage I met two long-time Blues Traveler fans. John and Paul weren't former classmates, work collegues or even Facebook friends, but they had both been to enough shows that they seemed like old friends. John 'Antlers' (because of the antlers he wore as an inside joke to a band member) proudly mentioned this was his 88th Blues Traveler show and Paul nodded indicating he wasn't far behind.
Blues Traveler has been around for decades and has been touring consistently since their beginnings in 1987. Talking to these two fans gave me insight into the band and was much more useful than the Google searches I later did! They each mused on what songs would be played, aside from the universally recognizeable Hook (yep, my headline was intentional), But Anyway and Run Around. John even has the band phone number and texts them requests! They compared notes on the musical journey the band has taken from their early roots, the mainstream pop sound of Four, to the changes since the death of original bassist Bobby Sheehan in 1999.
Sheehan's death and Popper's struggle with obesity put a damper on the group's success, but led them to start in new directions musically, going largely independent and releasing on smaller experimental labels. Popper has definitely slimmed down since the 90's and vocally sounds as strong as he did then. They played a variety of tunes from the discography starting with Sweet Talking Hippie from their self titled first album, to their well known songs from Four, to Things Are Looking Up and Recognize from their most recent release Suzy Cracks a Whip (released this past June) and even cover songs like What I Got. It was clear the ones up front were fans because they all were dancing and singing along, some wearing the band shirts and hats from prior shows.
Hearing more of their songs and caught up in the fever of their followers, I have downloaded Suzy Cracks a Whip from iTunes and recommend others do the same.