Journey / Night Ranger

Written by on September 22, 2011 in Cover Story, Live Reviews, September 22, 2011 - 2 Comments

Review by: Melissa Gibson/Contributing Writer
Photography by: Stephen Gibson Photography

Night Ranger

Journey & Night Ranger

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On September 4, 2011 Journey and Night Ranger brought the Eclipse Tour to Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia playing to a crowd of over 9,000 fans for a period of two and a half hours of some fantastic and just amazing music. This show was originally supposed to be on August 28, 2011 but thanks to Hurricane Irene, it had to be rescheduled, and unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts Foreigner was not able to make this rescheduled date of the tour.

Night Ranger came out and started off the night hot and heavy. Jack Blades (Lead& Backing Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, and Bass Guitar), Brad Gillis (Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals), Kelly Keagy (Drums, Percussion, Lead & Backing Vocals), Joel Hoekstra (Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals), and Eric Levy (Keyboard, Backing Vocals) came out on the stage with tons of energy and enthusiasm and looked truly happy to be there.

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They opened the night with “Lay It On Me” from the new album “Somewhere In California”. They still look and sound great to me which is a testament to bands that have been around the rock seen for 20 plus years. Blades says to the crowd “Looks like we got the makings of a rock show”, “What do you say to that?” and the crowd all whoop and holler back at him. Next was “Sing Me Away” from “Dawn Patrol”. They are having a lot of fun on stage with each other and taking time to acknowledge individual fans. Blades addresses the crowd again “Well, Well, Well, lookie here”, “Look who decided to show up on the day we had to make up”. He introduced each of the band members and they go on to perform “Growing Up in California” which is also from the new album “Somewhere in California”.

Night RangerBlades took a minute to talk to the audience and said “You’re thinking, play those old songs. Let me tell you something, when you stop creating you stop living and you shrivel up” then he said “Now we’ll play an old song” and that song was “Sentimental Street” from “Seven Wishes”. Next up was a cover of the Damn Yankees song “Coming of Age”. Blades was taking the time during the song to address people in the audience and telling them he was glad they were here then when the song was over, he let the audience in on the fact the Brad Gillis played for Ozzy Osbourne after the death of Randy Rhodes which is something I didn’t know about till tonight and when Brad started his riff of “Crazy Train”, the crowd went absolutely nuts and I must say did the song a lot of justice, they did a great job, evidently I wasn’t the only one because the crowd practically drowned out Blades singing it and he acknowledged that by saying “Bristow, Virginia on vocals, how bout that?”.

Next up was “When You Close Your Eyes” from “Midnight Madness” and “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” from “Dawn Patrol” and a short snippet of the opening of “Hotel California” by “The Eagles”. Then Blades says to the crowd, “What’s gotten into you, you’re starting to rock and roll, the next song, you may have seen it on MTV back when MTV played music ya know when MTV actually played music on TV”.

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He told the band members, “This is Bristow, they don’t mess around, they wanna rock and roll, play like you’ve never played before” and they went on to play “Sister Christian” from “Midnight Madness” which sounded like it would have had you been at that concert some 20 years ago and of course the crowd knew that one because when they were singing Blades told them “Damn you sound good, you proved you can still rock in America”, and the next song was, you got it, “Rock in America” from “Midnight Madness”. That happened to be the last song of the night and they wrapped up the evening by thanking the crowd for “coming out and rocking and rolling with them”. I will have to say that they truly loved being on stage that night and they enjoyed performing in front of every single person that spent their money to come see them perform, they interacted with the crowd so very well by constantly making sure they moved across the stage showing their skills on the guitars in every direction and interacting with each other like they enjoyed being on that stage giving it everything they had to make sure the people got what they came for and I can definitely say the people in attendance sure got that and even more.

Journey

JourneyWhat can I say? I’m a huge fan, Steve Perry or not, those of you who read my previous review know this. I have been a fan since I was a teenager and was introduced to this band by my Mom (Thanks Mom!).

After a break to set up their extensive stage set, Journey took the stage and rocked Jiffy Lube Live. The stage set on this tour is incredible, complete with tons of monitors, laser lights everywhere, smoke, and it’s like old times. Neal Schon (Lead Guitar, Vocals), Ross Valory (Bass Guitar, Vocals), Jonathan Cain (Keyboards, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals), and Dean Castronovo (Drums, Percussion, Vocals) all came on stage and all of a sudden tons of beach balls came out of nowhere and started flying around. Then Arnel Pineda (Lead Vocals) came out and the band immediately played “Separate Ways” from “Frontiers”, Arnel told the crowd “Let me hear ya’”.

JourneyJourneyJourneyJourneyHe has grown a lot in the fact that he looks more comfortable on stage, more playful with the crowd, and very appreciative of the generations of fans that have come out to see them play. After he finishes the song he says “Good Evening Everybody” and the crowd cheers back with enthusiasm, they go directly into “Ask The Lonely”, also from “Frontiers” where Neal Schon shows some of his chops on the guitar and Ross moves around stage a little bit showing he still has what it takes on the Bass by tearing it up as well. Arnel asks the audience “How’s everybody doing?” and the crowd yells back in thunderous response, then they perform, “When You Love A Woman” from “Trial By Fire”.

JourneyArnel Pineda is awesome tonight, he deserves every bit of praise that he is receiving, his voice is strong, and he looks good up on stage with these guys. Next, Jonathan Cain addresses the audience by saying “Bristow, thank you for coming and thanks to Night Ranger for getting it started tonight”

Next up was “City Of Hope” from the new album “Eclipse” which I have to admit here that I haven’t listened to as much but I already know there are a few songs on it that I like and there will be more I have no doubt. They tell the audience that this was written in Arnel’s hometown of Sampaloc, Manila in the Philippines, as they are performing it, there are vignettes of the town showing on the monitors and Arnel is working the whole stage, interacting with the audience in every side, while Neal is doing a small guitar solo, Arnel gets the crowd to clap and raise their hands.

Next up was “Faithfully” from “Frontiers”, and he tells the crowd “Sing it with me Virginia” and they do waving their hands back and forth in the air, when I turn around that’s all I see is hands waving back and forth, in unison at that. This was followed by “Stone In Love” from “Escape” and “Edge Of The Moment” also from the “Eclipse” album.

Arnel took a few minutes here and went off the stage and walked around the arena getting a closer look at the crowd and shaking hands with just about everyone he could while Neal played to the audience at the same time and here is where Neal really showed off his talents even more by just whaling away on a beautiful Paul Reed Smith guitar.

Next up was “Lights” from “Captured” where you saw images of cities and towns all lit up on the stage monitors and once back on stage, Arnel is still shaking hands with the crowd asking them how they were doing and thanking them for coming, asking them if they were having a good time, and the crowd responds with more thunderous approval.

Next up Neal treated the audience to a guitar solo once again that had my ears ringing well into the next day, He is one of the best as far as I’m concerned. He is spot on every time I hear and see him.

JourneyArnel takes command again and they perform “Wheel In The Sky” from “Infinity”. Jonathan Cain plays the harmonica in this one, I don’t honestly think that this has happened before when I’ve seen them, but then again I could be wrong, I just don’t remember it, this also allows Dean to show off his amazing skills as they give him a few minutes to pound the crowd into oblivion with his drum skills and Arnel and Ross stood there watching Dean and egging him on to play even harder and Dean just keeps pounding with this huge smile on his face as if to say “I LOVE THIS STUFF”

After that they slowed things down just a bit when Jonathan gets the stage all to himself and out of complete darkness you hear the sweet ivory keys start playing the crowd starts cheering even louder than I have heard them cheer and then one light shines on Jonathan who serenades the audience for a few minutes on the piano and keyboards before going into “Open Arms” from “Escape” and looking around the arena it looked like you could have illuminated all the memorials in D.C. some 2 hours away with all the Cell phones and bic lighters that were flashing and flickering from the crowd.

Next up was “Resonate” from Eclipse, “Be Good To Yourself” from “Raised on Radio” and Arnel takes another trip into the crowd but this time it’s just up front. They follow that up with “Any Way You Want It” from “Departure”. At this time a young kid, maybe 7-9 years old comes on the stage and Neal stands there and is just whaling away on this guitar in front of this kid, I can’t imagine what it felt like to be that close to someone as great as Neal is and not have the goose bumps I had sitting there watching him play, what happens next was True greatness in my book, Neal takes the guitar and hangs it around the kids neck and gives him this big huge smile, The look on this young man’s face is priceless as he walks off stage with his prized possession.

JourneyJourneyJourneyJourneyJourneyJourneyJourneyJourneyNext up was “Don’t Stop Believin’”, which I found out just a few days ago; Journey received a Neilsen Soundscan plaque for it being the number one most down loadable track of the 20th century. Now that is saying something if you ask me and proves what I know the band believes and that is you should never stop believing.

They end what was an amazing almost 2 hours of nonstop music with the last song of the evening with “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’”, and as the last of the song plays the pavilion gets plastered with white paper confetti that just covers the floor.

Journey all stand together center stage with arms around one another, take a bow, throws some guitar picks and drum sticks to the crowd, relish in the standing ovation they are given for a few moments and exit the stage to close out the night.

This was a great show tonight I must say. The bands sounded and looked great; they gave the crowd a real treat. This being the second time I have seen Journey live, I have to say that it was a great show as always. It’s great to be able to come out and hear the music from when you were a kid and be taken back to the days when you first heard it. It’s also fun to look around the audience and see kids that are as old as you were when you first discovered the music of these guys and they love it as much as you do. Shows how really good music can transcend generations.

All Access would like to say a big Thank You to Carise for allowing us to come out and review the show for Night Ranger and to Anna for allowing us to review the show for Journey but most of all we want to Thank Journey and Night Ranger for staying True to the Music and True to your fans both old and new.