The Grammy award-winning band Train hit the stage Saturday at the the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark for the MontanaFair, bringing almost every one of the 7,400 fans who packed the place to their feet, where they remained for the duration of the show.
Jamie Porter, the operations director for MetraPark, said it was one of the largest turnouts ever for a headlining band at MontanaFair.
And as Train’s lead singer Pat Monahan interacted with the crowd, it wasn’t hard to see why.
As he sang “If it’s Love,” Monahan turned to the crowd and told them to get their phones ready. He wanted to take some selfies with them.
Hands sprung into the air almost immediately. As Monahan made his way across the stage, he snapped photos of himself with the crowd in the background.
“I looked terrible in each one of those pictures,” Monahan joked with the audience afterward.
And as he introduced Jimmy Stafford on lead guitar, he grabbed T-shirts and threw them to the crowd.
“This is exactly what Billings needed,” said Patti Helmt, a lifelong resident of the city. “We need more of this.”
The pop band opened with the song “Parachute,” and went on to play crowd favorites like “Calling All Angels” and “Meet Virginia,” during which Monahan asked the crowd, “Do you remember this one? I know I do.”
As Train performed, the crowd sang along, danced and snapped pictures as the fog rolled from the stage into the audience and the lights flickered from purple and blue to yellow and red.
In addition to some of the latest songs off his new CD, he also played some covers.
“This one is dedicated to anyone who can remember it,” he said, going on to play Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On.”
For Mandi Fischer, the concert was an early birthday present.
A huge Train fan, Fischer said she couldn’t have asked for a better gift from her father.
Fischer, who turns 31 in August, came with her sister Elli Fritz, 17, of Laurel.
Fischer and Fritz both grew up listening to the band.
“I was so excited when I found out they were coming,” Fischer said. “We don’t normally get shows this big.”
Brian Null, owner of a Billings DJ company, said he’s more of a metal head, but even he couldn't resist the catchy tunes.
“He’s got one of the most beautiful voices for a man,” Null admitted.
“Why don’t we come here more often?” Monahan asked the crowd at one point. “Congrats on living in such a beautiful place,” he said.