JAMES RUDDY UEA LCR
> UEA LCR
Remember humming along in the car or kitchen a few years ago to Why Does It Always Rain on Me?
Roll back the calendar to the late 90s, switch on the radio of the period and it's likely you would have found yourself humming along to several similarly catchy Travis supersongs.
And it hasn't stopped there.
Many of us 40-somethings – as I discovered in Norwich last night – are still singing them madly in memory of those pre-millennium golden days.
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In the fast-changing world of the music business, Travis front-man Fran Healy's Scottish hit-makers could have been forgiven for thinking that their bill-topping days had come and gone.
But with Morrissey dropping out of this weekend's Isle of Wight festival, the slumbering giants suddenly found themselves drafted in as tomorrow night's festival headliners – and frantically in need of a last-minute warm-up gig.
They chose the UEA as a good place to blow away the cobwebs and delivered to a sell-out crowd of devotees an exceptional performance of their melodic and thoughtful rock.
Many of us were back in the late 90s when the five-piece were belting out a hatful of Top 10 hits as well as the phenomenal Number One album and internationally acclaimed The Man Who.
Ah, we leapt aboard that nostalgia rollercoaster and could have been back in that heady summer of 1999 when we were all singing along to Driftwood, Writing to Reach You and Turn at the V festival or Glastonbury.
The 30,000 Isle of Wighters are in for the same treat this weekend. Forget relative newcomers on the bill like Goldie Lookin' Chain, Nine Black Alps or oldies like Ray Davies and Roxy Music, Travis is where it's really at.
Last night, for a crowd that included a good selection of younger fans, they were cooking up sing-alongs galore, with all their old zest pouring out for the likes of Turn, Sing, Driftwood, The Other Side, More Than and All I Want To Do Is Rock.
Healy was in his element trying out new songs from the forthcoming album which has gone on hold due to their unexpected live gig outings.
He did a brave and very moving Flowers In The Window, completely unplugged, without even a mike.
Their next big stop after the IoW is the Live 8 anti-poverty concert in Edinburgh with such hitsters as Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield, Embrace, Snow Patrol, Dido and the ageless Wet Wet Wet.
Yes, Travis-style superbands often find themselves consigned to Radio Two middle-of-the-road drive-time slots within a few years at the top, while interminable new bands pop up like daisies.
But who cares?
For me, rock music doesn't have to be fashionable. Just easy on the ears and mind. And these guys are that. Plain and simple.