Errols Weekly Music Update.

August 15, 2008

Concert Review: Cheap Trick, Heart & Journey at Nikon Theater at Jones Beach – 08/14/08

Concert Review: Cheap Trick, Heart and Journey at the Nikon Jones Beach Theater on Thursday Aug. 14, 2008.

You know sometimes when you are so psyched up for an event, any event, that you don’t even think of something that could get in the way? My wife and I, along with two very good friends of ours, were so set for a night out (doesn’t come that often and those with children know exactly what I am talking about). What could be better for us? Cheap Trick, Heart and Journey all together for an outdoor summer concert at Jones Beach. Last thing on my mind was that it could rain. And boy did it rain. Our trek to Jones Beach took more than 3 hours from Southwest Connecticut. The Cross Island parkway basically became small lakes, taking out one, two or all three lanes. As I looked in my rearview mirror, the clouds seem to break but not over the Nikon Theater. It poured and the show, which was supposed to start at 7:00 p.m., was close to being all together cancelled. With the rain and wind still swirling, Cheap Trick took the stage at 8:30 p.m.

Now put yourself in the shoes of Cheap Trick for a second. You know there is a deadline of midnight in the state of NY for shows to end and you know there are three bands that need roadies to breakdown and put back up the sets for each band to perform. You’d feel a little rushed too. Now to their credit, as the professional they are, they did their job and for me, admirably. You could tell it was on their minds though, as Ric Nielsen told the crowd that due to the weather they had to cut their set short. The crowd was still trying to hide from the rain and for most of their set; they played to many empty seats up in the front. I was somewhat taken back that many folks did not seem to know their songs. Now if you didn’t recognize the songs last night, you probably shouldn’t see them when they play by themselves for one night. Now being a realist, I was not looking for “Baby Loves to Rock,” I knew that “I Want You to Want Me” was coming and I still loved it. The beginning of their set included “That 70’s song (In the Street)” which people probably recognized from the TV show (which kills me.. but anyway). And when the opening chords of “California Man” came on, I was pumped and almost stood up in my chair and realized that I was the only one in the section that recognized the song. I rocked out anyway. “Going to a party, meet me out after school…” Then they pulled out their ballad, “The Flame” which in all the times I have seen Cheap Trick, they did not play it. Now this song did get some folks attention and there was a sing along atmosphere as people were swaying back and forth. Now when “Surrender” came on I thought the crowd would totally flip out and some did but again the majority of the crowd did not recognize the tune. Now I’m not sure if it was the sound system or whatever but it seemed the crowd was not getting the boys from Rockford, IL. I still love it when Nielsen throws out the Kiss records to the audience as mom and dad are rolling on the couch. “Goodnight Ladies and Gentlemen” signaled the end of the show for the boys but they did do one more- “Dream Police” and yes the dream police live inside my head. “You know that talk is cheap and those rumors ain’t nice…” All in all, I enjoyed Cheap Trick. Have I seen them perform better- you betcha- but again with all that was stacked up in front of them- they still rock. \m/ \m/

From our vantage point in the arena, we could see two swans swimming near the stage and my wife mentioned that they swam away as Cheap Trick played. She said she wanted to swim away with them. (Oh well, what can I do?) She was waiting for her favorite band- Heart. As I mentioned before, when I see people get psyched up and sing along to their favorite band songs, it brings a smile to my face. I was getting pumped for Heart to take the stage because I knew how much she was waiting for them. We have not seen them in a long time and wanted to help the roadies set the stage so they could get on quick. As Ann and Nancy Wilson took the stage, the two large screens on each side, showed the band. (Cheap Trick did not have that for some reason). As the opening chords of “Magic Man” came on, you could sense a change around the arena. It stopped raining and more people were filling in the seats and by the end of Magic Man it was jammed with the crowd I expected. “Straight On” was phenomenal. “Now I know.. I got to play my hand… What the winner don’t know…a gambler understands.” Now the reason Ann and Nancy are still great after all these years is because of their passion. When you have passion, I can feel it and others can feel it as well. Ann Wilson, in my opinion is the best female vocalist ever in rock and roll history (and I shouldn’t limit it to rock and roll, this woman can flat out sing). Their love of music bleeds with every note played and octave sung. And what can you say about Nancy Wilson? Friggin’ phenomenal on guitar and she can also sing. They feed off of each other and you can feel the love & respect they have for each other. Nancy took lead vocals for “These Dreams” and brought down the house. The highlight for their set for me was “Alone”- all I have to say is “Wow.” Words can’t describe the energy and passion Ann put into this song, especially towards the end of the song as she basically sang a cappella. She ripped the cover off of the ball. By this time I forgot about the miserable rain and everything was right where I expected it to be. (By the way, the swans stayed for Heart’s entire set).

Now the one thing that this band can pull off and always have been is the ability to dare cover songs from legendary bands. The reason for this is that fact one- they are fans of rock and roll music and second- they treat the songs with respect and three- they can play them, period end of story!!As I hear the opening piano chords to “Love Reign O’er Me” by The Who, I look over to my wife and tell her it’s a cover of the Who- she says no way. Yes way!! Now just picture, a dark night with lights hitting the band surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean with a cool wind in the air- are you there yet? Then Ann vocals slip in very unassuming as she sings “Only Love….” But you know her voice is going to change and when she rips into “Looovvveee Reign on Me”- man you just wish you could bottle up that moment and hold on to it whenever you need it. Then as Nancy plays the opening chords of “Barracuda” the crowd is head banging in unison. No matter how many times you hear this song, it gets you pumped. “Crazy on You” highlighted Nancy’s ability on guitar and this is another song that I can’t get enough of. Love everything about it. Performed to a “T.” You knew they were going to a song by Zep, as they usually do, and the cover of “Going to California” should convince Robert Plant (after he finishes touring with Krauss) that he needs to record something with Ann.

Wow what can I say about Heart? We are definitely going to see them again as many times that they will come to the tri-state area. Again the word here is passion. Now I have to admit that I was not there to see Journey as much as I was Cheap Trick and Heart. I knew that Steve Perry and Steve Augeri were both gone and had heard some noise that there was someone who sounded like Perry, now singing for them. Neal Schon discovered the new front man, Arnel Pineda, a Filipino; via You Tube as Pineda sang Journey cover songs. The word for the performance of Journey was ENERGY!!! This kid was phenomenal and I swear if you closed your eyes (not your mind) and listened you would have thought that Steve Perry was singing last night. His energy on stage reminded me of a combination of Steven Tyler and David Lee Roth. This kid really blew me away and you could tell his energy made the rest of the band perform that much better. The highlight of the show for me was “Stone in Love”- man I totally forgot about this song and hadn’t heard it in such a long time- but just like riding a bike- the words flowed effortlessly as I remembered every one. Journey’s stage was set up like the headliners that they performed like. The drummer was perched up on a three step circular elevated small stage and the rest of the stage was empty as Pineda roamed with reckless abandon. Neal Schon’s guitar solo had me air-guitaring and I have to say this man can shred. Now this was suppose to be a “greatest hit” kind of show and you open yourself to criticism if you dare play any new tunes. But you know what, they pulled it off and to be completely honest- I may just have to walk into Walmart and purchase their new CD- “Revelation.” (there I said it… I did say “maybe”). But seriously folks, these guys are back in a big way and there will be no reunion with Mr. Perry- there isn’t any need. This kid has given them new life and they should run with it as long as they can. New songs performed “Never Walk Away” and “Change for the Better” are future “classics” for all of their shows. They did the staples “Wheel In the Sky,” “Lights” “Open Arms” “Faithfully” and “Don’t Stop Believing.” After seeing Journey last night, those words are ring loudly for them (as well as everyone else)- “Don’t Stop Believing… Hold on to that feeling.” I know I will.

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7 Comments »

  1. Great review. Bummer about the weather. It’s interesting how at certain concerts audiences don’t know many of the tunes of my favorite band, Cheap Trick. Seems like between the weather and them being were the opening act, it didn’t help audience participation. But so glad you enjoyed them!

    Heart and Journey are great too. I have the “Revelation” CD, just because I was curious, and it’s pretty good. Sounds just like…Journey! That Arnel kid (he’s actually 40 years old)is doing a terrific job.

    Keep on rockin’.

    Comment by Laura Faeth — August 15, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

  2. Good to read your review (linked provided from JourneyMusic.com forum).

    Knowing that it is unbiased and straight from the Heart! Glad the weather didn’t dampen your expectations but rather energised your night.

    Also by curiosity, received Journey’s Revelation album by mail post from the US of A since it wasn’t available ‘down under’ for months since its release.

    Glad to reminisce the 70s and 80s popular hits with the latest songs to date.

    Cheers, I thought the new songs are great! I’ll keep on singin’!

    Comment by DownUnder_Fan — August 15, 2008 @ 8:20 pm

  3. Thanks for sharing this great review. So sorry to hear about the weather; I’m glad you and your wife made it home safely.

    Comment by Journey Land — August 15, 2008 @ 11:15 pm

  4. Dear Editor, i just want to thank you for your nice review on CT, Heart, and Journey..especially for Journey…you sounded honest and straight for your heart. A good review not only has negatives..but it also brings positives..and one can truly feel that it came from your “Heart” as you “Journeyed” to Jones Beach for a “Cheap Trick”..thank you!

    Comment by emerald — August 15, 2008 @ 11:50 pm

  5. I was born post SP era but have cd’s, youtube, etc, to thank for about this legendary band.The weather really sucked that night but the ENERGY was brought back by Journey. I have the Revelation CD and I really dig the new sets of songs. But listening to it live was such a feel good experience!! I know there’s so much negative stuffs written about the new singer. I couldn’t care less. I was there for good music. One thing I noticed about this singer is that he really does have a powerful voice. His low tones are amazing (and to think he was always running around) and his leap to the high notes were executed with ease. I think his vibratto added a new tinge to the ballads. I’m glad I came and to hear my favorites in CD#1. Hearing it live and coming out much better than the recording is pure bliss. Thanks for your review and I hope you do gift yourself with a good music set with a trip to Walmart.

    Comment by dennis — August 16, 2008 @ 8:08 pm

  6. […] Read the rest of the review. Categories: Reviews Tags: errols weekly music update, review […]

    Pingback by Errol’s Weekly Music Update reviews Journey » ArnelFans.com — August 16, 2008 @ 10:11 pm

  7. Good comment, Dennis. Arnel has a unique range of voice.

    Comment by jq — August 24, 2008 @ 2:03 am


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