Journey Brightens Soggy Night At Darien Lake PAC

DSC_4681Concert Review
Journey
Steve Miller Band

Darien Lake PAC
Darien Center, NY

Tuesday June 24, 2014
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto

 

 

What started off to be a muggy evening eventually turned to rain, lots of it. That did not dampen the spirits of the crowd out on the lawn as many soldiered on despite heavy downpours at times. After all it had been three years since Journey had last played under the tent. This marked the band’s second visit with Arnel Pineda in charge of the vocals. Pineda seemed more comfortable than he did last time as he has grown into the shoes of former vocalist Steve Perry very nicely.

The band took the stage at 9:30 P.M. promptly and rolled out a ninety minute hit parade that began with “Be Good To Yourself”. “Separate Ways” quickly followed. With a one-two punch like that you knew it would be hard for the band to keep the momentum going.

Pineda seemed really strong vocally early in the show as he dished out formidable renditions of “Stone In Love” and “Only The Young”.

Drummer Deen Castronovo admirably took over with vocals on “Mother, Father”. Guitarist Neal Schon and bassist Ross Valory are the longest serving members of the band and they seemed happy with smiles on their faces throughout the ninety minute set.

Fans that go way back with the band were teased by keyboardist Jonathan Cain during his solo. It featured snippets of such awesome songs like “Patiently”, “Who’s Crying Now” and “Send Her My Love” all of which if played as full songs could have turned this into an over-the-top affair.

Placing “Faithfully” near the end of the set did not work for me as I felt Pineda did not sound as strong as he did early on causing the song to lose some of its luster. “Don’t Stop Believin” closed out the main set to no one’s surprise. Did you know it is the top selling catalog track in digital history as it has vastly grown in popularity over the past five years. A quick encore of “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin'” closed out the performance.

As I left the venue I overheard one fan saying he felt Journey played too many new songs. My take is if Pineda is your singer then reflect it in the set list. While the band showed a little diversity in devising the set list, if they do not want to be regarded as an oldies act, they need to mix in more of Pineda’s recorded material now that he has two albums under his belt. It was a travesty the band did not play anything from their vastly underrated 2008 release Revelation.

The band is still very relevant despite what some critics may say. Pineda has given the band a renewed life. It will be very interesting to see where the band goes from here.

The Steve Miller Band preceded Journey with a crowd pleasing eighty minute set of their own. Miller played all his hits and sprinkled in some rare cuts from his 1974 release The Joker which is celebrating its fortieth anniversary this year. It was about halfway through Miller that the skies opened and the weather took a turn for the worse.

Opening the show was Tower Of Power another band from the bay area, Oakland, California to be precise. They have been recording and touring since 1968 and needless to say have gone through many lineup changes. Comparing them to another band I would say they are reminiscent to a bluesy version of Chicago.

Journey
Be Good to Yourself
Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
Any Way You Want It
Only the Young
Guitar Solo (Star Spangled Banner)
Stone in Love
Mother, Father
She’s A Mystery
Lights
Piano Solo
Open Arms
Ritual
Dead or Alive
Anytime
Wheel in the Sky
Faithfully
Don’t Stop Believin’
Encore
Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’

Steve Miller Band
Jungle Love
Take the Money and Run
Abracadabra
Sugar Babe
The Stake
Ooh Poo Pah Doo @Cover[Jessie Hill]
Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma
Dance Dance Dance
Gangster of Love
True Fine Love
The Joker
Swingtown
Rock’n Me
Jet Airliner
Encore
Space Intro
Fly Like an Eagle

 

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About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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