Three of the most pop-minded rock outfits of the late ’70s and early ’80s join forces when Journey and current tour mates Foreigner and Night Ranger come to town for two shows in September. Bay Area band Journey may have gotten it’s start as a platform for the jazz-rock exploration of former Santana stalwarts Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie, but by the end of the decade the addition of frontman Steve Perry tranformed the outfit into a radio-ready hitmaking machine. Over the course of four studio album and the double-live concert document ‘Captured,’ Journey released a seemingly endless string of chart-topping anthems (“Who’s Crying Now,” “Open Arms,” “Wheel In The Sky,” “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Anyway You Want It” to name a few) while redefining the power ballad. 

Though the band became plagued by infighting after Steve Perry scored his own solo album ‘Street Talk’ and eventually disintegrated, the clamor for more Journey hits from loyal fans has never ceased. Perry returned to the fold for one ’90s attempt at recapturing the band’s former glory, but Schon and company have continued to draw healthy concert audiences with a variety of musicians filling the role of lead singer. The latest contender, Filipino crooner Arnel Pineda who Schon discovered singing Journey songs on YouTube, does a remarkable job of matching the stratospheric high notes Perry once sang for the band. 

The band has experienced a resurgence in popularity with Pineda, scoring their first platinum album in over a decade with ‘Revelation’ in 2008. The band brings its latest headlining tour home to promote its latest effort ‘Eclipse.’ Joining Journey on the summer jaunt are two contemporary acts that had achieved similar heights in their respective heydays. Formed by British music vets Mick Jones (Spooky Tooth) and Ian McDonald (King Crimson) in 1976 with several American players including vocalist Lou Graham, Foreigner became one of the biggest hard-rock acts of the late 1970s and early 1980s with their heavy guitar riffs and radio-friendly hooks. 

The band’s self-titled debut was released in March 1977 and sold more than four million copies in the United States, staying in the Top 20 for a year on the strength of such hits as “Feels Like the First Time”, “Cold as Ice”, and “Long Long Way From Home”. Their follow-up effort ‘Double Vision’ topped their previous selling five million records and spawned the chart-toppers “Hot Blooded” and the title track. The band’s hit streak would continue with such songs as “Urgent”, “Waiting for a Girl Like You” and “Juke Box Hero,” culminating with their sole #1 song “I Want to Know What Love Is” in 1985. Though Graham is no longer with the group, Jones has soldiered on with an array of talented players including singer Kelly Hansen (ex-Hurricane), bassist Jeff Pilson (Dokken), saxophonist/guitarist Thom Gimbel (who used to tour with Aerosmith), longtime Bay Area keyboard player Michael Bluestein (Boz Scaggs, Linda Perry) and drummer Brian Tichy (Billy Idol). The group plays old favorites alongside tracks from its most recent release ‘Can’t Slow Down.’ Local favorites Night Ranger rode the success of their early ’80s albums and video hits like “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” and the iconic power ballad “Sister Christian” to multi-platinum success for the better part of that decade. The current line-up featuring founding bassist/vocalist Jack Blades, drummer/singer Kelly Keagy and guitarist Brad Gillis deliver those hits and more in the opening slot. 

Journey with Foreigner and Night Ranger

 

Wednesday, October 5, 7 p.m. $34-$144
Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord

 

Saturday, October 15, 7 p.m. $34-$144
Shoreline Amphitheatre

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