A Summer Night with Journey and The Doobie Brothers

By on June 16, 2016
J (14 of 37)

Journey (Photo Travis Failey)

Journey and The Doobie Brothers made a stop at Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on Friday night.  Fans were rocking down the highway, I-4, and the scene looked straight out of 1982. Unless you were hanging out under a rock in the 1970’s and 80’s, you have to be familiar with both The Doobie Brothers and Journey.  I remember plenty of nights as a kid falling asleep to The Doobie Brothers blaring from my dad’s stereo speakers in the basement. But, Journey was my first love, and I’ll never forget playing Atari while “Open Arms” spun on an endless loop on my record player, or when I received my first stereo in the sixth grade, and my parents got me a 3 cassette tape bundle of Journey’s Evolution, Escape and Frontiers.

Doobie Brothers (Photo-Travis Failey)

Doobie Brothers (Photo-Travis Failey)

I have seen a lot of shows over the years featuring bands that were popular in the 1980’s, and let me tell you, most of the performances left plenty to be desired.  Some singers take care of their voices, but most don’t.  Some bands have all or most of their original members, but most don’t.  After being impressed by the huge turnout for this show, I was amazed when I looked at the two band’s current members.  It was great seeing so many original members in each band, and it really is an accomplishment to not let big egos get in the way, which has become all too common these days.

Tom Johnson, John Mcphee, Tony Pia Doobie Brothers (Photo-Travis Failey)

Tom Johnson, John Mcphee, Tony Pia Doobie Brothers (Photo-Travis Failey)

The Doobie Brothers is made up of Patrick Simmons – Guitars/Vocals, Tom Johnston – Guitars/Vocals, John McFee – Guitars, Pedal Steel, Dobro, Fiddle, Vocals, Bill Payne – Keyboards, Marc Russo – Saxophone, Ed Toth – Drums, John Cowan – Bass/Vocals, and Tony Pia – Drums.  Yes, that’s eight band members, including dueling drummers,  and the big band sound that The Doobie Brothers creates reflects it.  It is rare to see two drummers playing the same song on the same stage, but the two also switched leads, like dual or multiple guitarists do.

Tom Johnson, Patrick Simmons, Bill Payne & Mark Russo Doobie Brothers (Photo-Travis Failey)

Tom Johnson, Patrick Simmons, Bill Payne & Mark Russo Doobie Brothers (Photo-Travis Failey)

The Doobie Brothers promptly took the stage at 7:50, playing in front of a backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge,  and opened with “Jesus is All Right,” which got the crowd jumping.  Or should I say, singing.  I do not mean to be insensitive, but really, please do not ask people standing in front of you to sit down during a concert.  I mean, a lot of us sit at desks all day, and besides hockey games and other sporting events, concerts are a great way to blow of some steam.

Patrick Simmons Doobie Brothers (Photo-Travis Failey)

Patrick Simmons Doobie Brothers (Photo-Travis Failey)

The Doobies were impressive: the vocals were spot on, I loved the addition of the horn and harmonica, and I swear if you listened close enough, you could hear the guitar speak to you. Again, I thought about how much my Dad would have loved this show, and I saw several generations of family members dancing together to the beat.  Next up was their 1972 hit, “Rockin’ Down the Highway.”

The Doobies paid their respects to Muhammad Ali, who happened to be buried that day as keyboardist Bill Payne played a short solo.  After the solo, they got the crowd jumping again with non-stop hits, like “Takin’ it to the Streets,” “Blackwater,” and “Without Love.” The Doobie Brothers came back to play a two-song encore, “Without You,” and “Listen to the Music,” as the sun set at 8:40.  It was an amazing set of music by a band that some may have forgotten.  But for me,  Friday’s show reaffirmed my belief that The Doobie Brothers have not been forgotten, and their music has stood the test of time. If The Doobies come to your town, grab your Dad or your Aunt, whoever turned you on to them and go see the show.  You won’t be disappointed.

Pineda,Smith & Vallory Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Pineda,Smith & Vallory Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Journey took the stage promptly at 9:25, and broke out with their 1983 hit, “Separate Ways.”  As I looked at the band, I noticed that Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain haven’t aged a bit!  Journey’s current members are: Neal Schon – lead guitar (1973–present), Ross Valory – bass guitar (1973–1985, 1995–present), Steve Smith – drums (1978–1985, 1995–1998, 2015–present), Jonathan Cain – keyboards (1980–present), Arnel Pineda – lead vocals (2007–present.)

Arnel Pineda Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Arnel Pineda Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Despite the fact that the Filipino YouTube singing sensation Arnel Pineda has been Journey’s front man for nine years now,  it was my first time seeing him front the band. The vocals seemed to be off a bit on the first couple of songs, maybe Pineda just had to warm up, because after that, he was dead on. I was surprised to learn that Pineda had been discovered on YouTube and that he is 48 years old.  That guy doesn’t move or look like a guy over 30.  He spent more time in the air than he did with his feet on the ground.

Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Next up was a great song, and some good advice, ” Be Good To Yourself.”  Then came “Only the Young,” which some will recall was on the Vision Quest soundtrack.  Neal Schon treated the crowd with a guitar solo. I mean, what year is it guitar solo? Most solos are unnecessary and so overdone that they drag down the set. But not Schon’s. He played with flare, style and emotion and every note stood out and had feeling behind it. Schon definitely gets overlooked when discussing great guitar players.  But seeing him play live will give you a new appreciation of his skills, and will make you put Schon into that conversation. Schon announced that Journey was out celebrating the 35th anniversary of the release of Escape and if these guys are tired of playing music from three decades ago, they sure don’t show it.

Neil Schon Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Neil Schon Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Smiles galore emanated from the stage into the crowd.  All you had to do was look around to see how much of a great time people were having.  Fans were singing and dancing with each other, people were hugging and kissing, and I wondered how many married couples heard their wedding song played live that night.  I waited in anticipation for Journey to play my favorite song from my youth, which I do recall, is “Stone in Love.” It was just as great as I imagined it would be.  The band was tight, the lasers lit up the sky, and the crowd was electric. It was a great summer night.

Johnathan Cain Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Johnathan Cain Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Journey slowed it down a bit and played “Lights,” and “Open Arms.”   The hits didn’t stop with “Who’s Crying Now,” “Faithfully,” and “Don’t Stop Believing,” which I thought would be the encore but they ended the show with “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’.”

J (18 of 37)

The Doobies Brothers and Journey successfully kicked off their summer concert season and set the bar to an almost unreachable height. Fans in the packed stands and on the lawn got taken back to a time of their youth, and a younger generation was exposed to songwriters and musicians that are an anomaly these days instead of the norm.

This tour continues throughout the summer and is a must-see for fans of these two bands, and music in general.  If you decide to go, bring the kids and show them a piece of your past and hopefully make it a part of their future.

For tour dates and info:  http://www.doobiebros.com/events & http://www.journeymusic.com/home

 

Ross Valory Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Ross Valory Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Tom Johnson Doobie Brothers (Photo-Travis Failey)

Tom Johnson Doobie Brothers (Photo-Travis Failey)

Neil Schon Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Neil Schon Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Cain & Vallory Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Cain & Vallory Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Arnel Pineda Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

Arnel Pineda Journey (Photo-Travis Failey)

J (25 of 37)

Journey (Photo Travis Failey)

 

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