It's been 17 years since Blues Traveler brought the curtain down on its H.O.R.D.E. Tour traveling concept.
Which means it's ripe for a revival.
That takes place, at least for one night, on July 9 at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, when Blues Traveler is joined by past H.O.R.D.E. mates 311 and Big Head Todd & the Monsters and Michigan's Verve Pipe. And Blues Traveler guitarist Chandler Kinchla credits Adam Schneider, Palace Sports & Entertainment's Senior Vice-President of Events -- an early friend of the band while working with its management, Bill Graham Presents -- with making it happen.
"We'd been trying to find the right opportunity the last few years and kinda made some false attempts," Kinchla, 46, says by phone from the road during Blues Traveler's summer tour. "We played a show (at DTE) last year and (Schneider) started talking with us and got the ball rolling and put the idea of trying the H.O.R.D.E. there, and it seemed like the perfect place to bring it back."
Schneider adds that, "It came out of a very organic, friendly conversation amongst guys who've known each other for 20-plus years. It's a plan conceived from love of the brand, belief in its potential and a desire to work together. We made a pact to give it a shot for all the right reasons, so that's what we're doing."
H.O.R.D.E. -- which stands for Horizons Of Rock Developing Everywhere (or, jokingly as Hippies On Recreational Drugs Everywhere) -- ran for seven years, including several stops at DTE (then Pine Knob) with packages that included the Allman Brothers Band, the Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Barenaked Ladies, Smashing Pumpkins, Wilco, Lenny Kravitz, the Black Crowes and more. By 1998, however, Kinchla says, "We needed a break. We were burned out doing all the stuff for Blues Traveler, all the stuff for H.O.R.D.E. We had toured our tails off, and then 'Runaround' was a huge hit (in 1994) and that was a rollercoaster, and all the time H.O.R.D.E. was getting bigger.
"So we were ready for a break, regardless, and it seemed like a natural time to give (H.O.R.D.E.) a break. But we never thought it would be this long."
Kinchla and his bandmates are hoping the modest return version of H.O.R.D.E. at DTE will in fact, provide a launchpad to return the festival to its past glories. "I'd definitely like to take it back as a national tour," the guitarist says. "I've been pushing for that for awhile now -- if only they would listen to me! Luckily there's eight or nine different cooks in the kitchen, so we'll do this show and see where it goes from there."
The H.O.R.D.E. return does catch Blues Traveler at an interesting career juncture. During April the group released its 12 studio album, "Blow Up the Moon," which features guest collaborations with 3OH!3, Dirty Heads, Hanson, Plain White T's Thompson Square, Jewel, *NSCYNC's JC Chasez and others. And this year marks the 25th anniversary of Blues Traveler's self-titled debut album, and Kinchla says that durability means his band is doing something right.
"We always had a long-term vision," he says. "We were brought up when the Grateful Dead was around and really strong, and the Allman Brothers and Carlos Santana. We were always around those bands and kind of had the thought we could be like that. It was a dream, I guess, but we were always thinking that way.
"And you really never know. I know the longer we do it, the more we like it, so I don't think it's going to end any time soon."
H.O.R.D.E. Festival 2015 with 311, Blues Traveler, Big Head Todd & the Monsters and the Verve Pipe
5 p.m. Thursday, July 9.
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.
Tickets are $25-$69.50, $20 lawn with a $60 lawn four-pack.
Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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