Too often, when I go to a concert of a band that was topping the charts 30 years ago, I find myself disappointed with how they sound today – older, a little scratchier, worn out, unable to hit those high notes on songs that are permanent markers of my formative years. However, Saturday night in Atlanta was definitely NOT one of those concerts when Journey and Loverboy took the stage at Aaron’s Lakewood Amphitheater.
Canadian rockers Loverboy were first up and opened the show on the comfortable fall evening in the southern capital. I’d forgotten just how many radio hits they’d had over the years until they performed them all for the packed venue of fans. Fronted by Mike Reno on vocals, with Paul Dean on guitar, Doug Johnson on keyboards, Matt Frenette on drums and Ken “Spider” Sinnaeve on bass, Loverboy rocked the house with chart-toppers like “Lovin’ Every Minute Of It,” “Turn Me Loose” and “Working For The Weekend.” Despite passing three decades of time since first hitting the charts in the early 80’s, Reno’s vocals are still spot on and sound as good as they did when I first heard “Working For The Weekend” back in 1981.
Headlining the tour was mega-hit rockers Journey, fronted by lead singer Arnel Pineda of the Philippines. When Pineda took the reigns as Journey’s voice, many fans initially had issues with the foreign-born singer. However, in the five years since stepping into the spot formerly held by Steve Perry and then Steve Augeri, Pineda has clearly proven himself as the correct choice to lead the hit band.
As many will argue, Steve Perry’s time as the band’s lead singer created the Journey sound for hits like “Lights,” “Wheel In The Sky,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Open Arms, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” and other chart-topping singles. With Pineda, Journey has returned to that sound again, finding in the new singer a voice that replicates Perry’s while adding a flavor of his own to enhance the mix. Pineda is clearly a stage presence for Journey, becoming a whirling dervish of energy throughout the show with leaps and bounds, dancing twirls and more while belting out the songs.
Hearing the hits, rocked out by guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardist Johnathan Cain, bassist Ross Valory and Deen Castronovo on drums, I was transported back to a kinder, gentler time of my high school and college years when I’d not yet started worrying about “real life” outside the academic walls. Throughout the show, I closed my eyes and listened to Pineda channel Perry on song after song as memories of first loves and carefree days passed through my mind.
For nearly three hours, Journey and Loverboy kept the music flowing and the fans dancing in the aisles with the songs of my youth, many which have again been made famous for new generations through TV shows like Glee, American Idol and more. Both bands are enjoying continued resurgences in popularity and, if Saturday night was a good example, I hope they continue to do so for many more years to come.
For more about Loverboy, visit www.loverboyband.com
For more about Journey, visit www.journeymusic.com
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