Journey and Cheap Trick at Target Center

We occasionally leave the house. Sometimes, we’re even crazy enough to do it during the week.

You know you’re in your late 30s when the day of the week is a deciding factor in attending shows. Saturday? Absolutely. Friday? Most of the time. Thursday? I can usually slog through one day of work. But anything other than that is risky. I’ve gotten to the point where I start to feel jet-lagged (and all kinds of cranky) if I don’t get to sleep at a certain time and if I don’t get a certain amount of sleep. Yes, I’m old.

So even though it was a Tuesday night, we ventured out. We’ve both seen Cheap Trick many times and we knew we were in for a solid rock show. Neither of us had seen Journey, but we’d heard good things and we wanted to check out their new lead singer. If anything, we’d find some unintentional comedy.

I was hoping for more interesting people-watching, but the only outfit worth mentioning was the woman in the glittery aqua blue halter top with the strip of lace fabric down the back. Otherwise, everyone was dressed pretty normally.

Cheap Trick delivered an energetic, solid set of mostly greatest hits (The Flame, I Want You to Want Me, Voices, Surrender, Dream Police). Robin Zander’s voice is amazingly strong after many years. Rick Nielsen still has an amazing selection of guitars, and the rhythm section of Bun E. Carlos and Tom Petersson provides a steady backup.

During the set change, my husband commented on the contrast in drum sets. The Journey drummer’s set looked like Neil Pert’s kit compared to Bun E., who uses a very basic set.

They needed two people to bring out the board for Neal Schon’s guitar pedals– seriously, there were at least 50 different ones. It was the most complex setup I’d ever seen.

Before the band entered the arena, the video screens displayed a giant ad for their new album Revelation– available at kiosks now! The image was replaced by a video of the band backstage singing along to AC/DC’s “Back in Black”.

They began the set with one of their new songs, “Never Walk Away”. The new material sounds extremely similar to their old material, which isn’t a bad thing. It still has lots of melodic hooks and they’ve stayed true to their sound.

The singer’s voice was unbelievable. The band recruited Arnel Pineda from the Phillipines after seeing him on YouTube, and he did not disappoint. His voice filled the arena, and he had a ton of energy and a fun-loving stage presence. He used the steps in front of the drum kit as a launching pad for several jumps, and he looked like he was enjoying himself, as he was smiling almost the whole time. Apparently he has a huge Filipino following that turns out in every city, which I think is very cool.

The rest of the band was quite good as well. Even though every song had a guitar solo, it was a treat to see Neal Schon play– he was pretty amazing.

The crowd was really into the show, on their feet for most of the set. During a new ballad (“After All These Years”), the audience sat down except for one guy in the next section, who was swaying back and forth to the beat of the music with his arms in the air. I applauded both him and the band when the song ended. That guy ruled.

I was worried that they wouldn’t play “Separate Ways” but they did not disappoint. Unfortunately, they didn’t reenact some of their moves from the video.

My favorite moment was when they played “Don’t Stop Believin'”. After the song ended, on the video screens there was a giant “Journey” graphic in the style of The Sopranos’ logo, with the “r” in the shape of a gun. It was funny and cool at the same time.

Near the end of the main set, there was a small glitch when Jonathan Cain was making the “cut it” motion after one of the songs, trying to signal the end before the encore. The lighting guys didn’t see it and neither did the rest of the band, but my husband did. He said that Jonathan just threw up his hands and went back to the keyboard. I didn’t see it, so I didn’t notice any awkward pauses in the show.

All in all, a fun evening out and definitely worth leaving the house.


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