By DEBORAH ANN TRIPOLDI
tripoldi@montclairlocal.news

Concertgoers packed the Wellmont Theater Friday night, Oct. 12, as Blues Traveler kicked off their Accelerated Nation Tour and release of their new album “Hurry Up & Hang Around.”

Opening for them was Brooklyn, N.Y., rock band Animal Years. The trio, originally from Baltimore, are Mike McFadden on vocals and guitar, Anthony Saladino on bass, and Anthony Spinnato on drums. The group entertained for about 45 minutes with original tunes such as their first single “Caroline,” from their album “Far From Home.”

Blues Traveler took the stage and lead singer John Popper made an announcement before the first song. “It’s a special night here. ‘Hurry Up & Hang Around’ has finally been released,” he said, starting the evening with momentum.

Although they started out with one of their older classic tunes, the second song “The Wolf Is Bumpin” was new. Fans sang along with “But Anyway” and were even louder singing “Run Around.” Other new tunes performed included “Accelerated Nation” and “When You Fall Down.”

Popper said it was great to be back in New Jersey, where the band formed in 1987. “This is our state,” he said.

Tad Kinchla played the bass leading into “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” Popper replacing the fiddle with his signature harmonica playing.

The band was also celebrating 30 years together. “It’s weird being 30 years old as a band. I remember 30 years ago, weird how 30 years feels like … If you keep coming, we will keep going,” said Popper.

According to Popper the band was on jam cruise for five days where he went to his room and wrote the new song, “Ode to the Aspect.”

At the end of the show the group came out for an encore performance Popper tossed out harmonicas and drummer Brendan Hill tossed out drum sticks to the crowd.

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READ: BLUES TRAVELER; BACK TO BASICS AFTER 30 YEARS

READ: GIN BLOSSOMS, VERTICAL HORIZON, TONIC ROCK WELLMONT

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