On May 16, 2014, summer was definitely in the air as classic rock groups Tower of Power, The Steve Miller Band and Journey hit the stage at the Hollywood Bowl. Gates opened at 6:30pm and an audience of 17,000 streamed in and out until Journey closed the show. The crowd was roughly aged 20s-50s and was quintessential Los Angeles and hippyesque, but fun. They bounced and sang along with all the songs, showing their appreciation for music from yesteryear that stands the test of time.
Unofficially dubbed the "Sounds of San Francisco" tour because all the bands originally hail from the Bay area (Tower of Power is from Oakland, the other two bands are from San Francisco), the tour kicked off on May 15 at the Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Chula Vista and will hit various spots in the U.S. over the summer. Each group has such a distinct sound, there's a little something for everyone with this Live Nation-produced tour.
Tower of Power got things revved up with their funky, jazzy rhythms, their five-horn section cutting through the balmy night air like a Ginsu knife. They started off with "You Ought to be Having Fun" then glided right on through some of their classics, including "This Time it's Real" and "Soul Vaccination."
The next phase of the concert changed the tone to a more classic rock one, albeit with shades of funk. Steve Miller's voice was strong and his guitar playing top-notch, which was particularly showcased during his solo acoustic set, where he played folksy “Dance Dance Dance,” “Wild Mountain Honey” and “Gangster of Love." Miller mentioned the 40th anniversary of The Joker and a self-released concert recording of it before playing some cuts from the landmark album. "Swingtown,” “Rock’n Me," “Jet Airliner" and "The Joker" sounded fresh not only because of the musicianship but because it's obvious Miller loves playing them. His encore was the always-trippy "Fly Like an Eagle," a song with a feel-good message and slightly prog-rock, semi-psychedelic sound.
Last but not least was Journey, who closed the show with a vibrant performance. Arnel Pineda has filled Steve Perry's shoes, and those are some mighty big ones to fill. However, Pineda seems to be wearing them comfortably. He opened with "Any Way You Want It," engaging and captivating and particularly entertaining to those in the pit since he interacted with them a lot. He didn't miss a beat performing the band's classics and was particularly outstanding with "Open Arms" and "Don't Stop Believing," which they closed with. The whole venue sang along with this 80s anthem, proving that they have indeed not stopped believing....in the power of music.