Classic rockers Journey and Steve Miller Band co-headlined a tour this summer and made a stop in St. Louis to a near-capacity house at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater on Friday and proved why classic rock still rocks.
Journey, with its “new” (since 2007) lead singer Arnel Pineda firmly entrenched and revered as a quality, near perfect permanent replacement for long departed singer Steve Perry after several other singers failed to stick. Pineda was extremely energetic and exciting, working the crowd from one end of the stage to the other like he was born to be onstage.
Fans were dancing along to “Separate Ways (World’s Apart)” and couples were embracing during slower songs like “Open Arms” or simply reminiscing to the memories being invoked from the melodies.
Easily cruising through hits like “Anyway You Want it”, ”Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Faithfully” Pineda led the band (Neal Schon – guitar, Ross Valory-bass , Deen Castronovo- drums/vocals and Jonathan Cain – keyboards/guitar) through a well polished 90 minute set that was technically perfect in nearly every sense of the word.
Tight and clean was the name of the game for Journey. In fact, one could close their eyes and be hard pressed tell a difference between the recorded CD’s and their live performance, save for a beautiful rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” performed by Schon on guitar (as well as his solo) and a medley of songs performed by Cain during his piano solo.
Make no mistake, they were live. Their performance showed just how seasoned they are, and how to keep it loose and not robotic sounding.
The Steve Miller Band took a different route as they changed the arrangements on some songs, and simply jammed on others. For the most part they just free slowed and played what felt right and it fit perfectly for their set. The sound was crisp and the playing was soulful and easygoing.
Miller, hardly moved from his center spot on stage, led the band through great renditions of his classics like “Jungle Love”, “Space Cowboy” and “The Joker” for which he donned a mask and asked if the audience knew what was coming next, being it is the 40th anniversary of the song.
The highlight by far was a splendid trippy extended rendition/jam of “Fly Like an Eagle” for the encore that brought the house down.
St. Louis was the 2nd largest crowd on the tour, so far. With as much fun as the show was every stop should be at or near a sellout.
Tower of Power opened with a nice set.
Be Good to Yourself
Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
Any Way you Want It
Only the Young
The Star-Spangled Banner (john Stafford Smith cover)
Stone in Love
She’s a Mystery
Wheel in the Sky
Don’t Stop Believin’
Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’