Foreigner and Journey at the Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion, 7/24/11

Categories: Last Night
Thumbnail image for foreigner review (1).jpg
Maria Vassett
Foreigner
Night Ranger, Foreigner, and Journey
Sunday, July 24

Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion

In all my years attending concerts at this pavilion (under its myriad names), I've never seen traffic like what we waded through before the Foreigner/Journey concert. Cars were still backed up and blocking the intersection at 83rd Avenue and McDowell an hour after the concert started. The upside of this surprising throng (who knew two bands who peaked in the '80s could still draw such a massive audience?) was this dude who flashed his man-boobs at the long queue of cars waiting to pull into the AFHSP. Dressed in cut-off jean shorts, a purple cut off T-shirt that read "I'm with the band," and sporting an orange and yellow ascot, mountain man beard, and big cop sunglasses, he danced around and yelled indecipherable things. I'm not sure if it was meant to be ironic, but it was freaking hilarious.

I was not one of the maybe 17,000 people who arrived in time to catch Night Ranger 's opening set, but that's okay, because the only song of theirs I wanted to hear was "Sister Christian." I was much more excited to see Foreigner, my all-time favorite band of the big '70s FM-era. I know and love all their many radio hits, and I was pleased to hear every single one of them (except "Blue Morning Blue Day") at the show.


nightranger-ab.jpg
Maria Vassett
Night Ranger
Unfortunately, I was still waiting at will call (and then to get through security) for the first three songs of Foreigner 's set, which were "Double Vision," "Cold As Ice," and "Head Games." 

Things sounded much better when I got to my seat, during "Waiting for a Girl Like You." Current Foreigner singer Kelly Hansen sounded great, with a voice as strong and smooth as original vocalist Lou Gramm's. But his stage presence was more akin to Steven Tyler's -- tall and thing (and wearing skinny black jeans), he danced from one of the stage to another, occasionally adding rock star gestures like twirling his microphone stand and grabbing his crotch. During "Dirty White Boy," images of Elvis, James Dean, and Marlon Brando flashed across the backdrop screen and Hansen fondled and grabbed his ass with particular aplomb.

Hansen introduced guitarist and Foreigner co-founder Mick Jones, who told the audience, "This little ditty is what started off the band," before launching into "Feels Like the First Time." Jones showed his guitar chops were as sharp as ever, playing a bluesy guitar solo that lead into "Urgent." The song was boosted by the fiery saxophone solos of Thom Bimbel (also Foreigner's rhythm guitarist). People love a live, screaming saxophone. It's one of those chill-and-adrenaline inducing instruments. The crowd went nuts screaming and clapping as Bimbel did James Brown-like side steps and dropped to one knee while making his sax weep and wail.

The booming audience singalong and sea of swaying cell phones during "I Want to Know What Love Is" showed that people still dig a good power ballad, too. Foreigner ended their set with some rockin' tracks: "Hot Blooded" (during which Hansen jumped off stage and ran through the crowd, all the way up to the 200 sections), and encore of "Juke Box Hero" (complete with animated cartoon video on the background screen and a crap load of stroboscopic effects).

Foreigner set list:

Double Vision
Head Games
Cold As Ice
Waiting for a Girl Like You
Dirty White Boy
Feels Like the First Time
Urgent
I Want to Know What Love Is
Hot Blooded
Encore: Juke Box Hero

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Maria Vassett
Journey

Journey didn't play an all-hits set, choosing to mix some deeper cuts and new material with a handful of crowd favorites. They opened with one such favorite, "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)." I was immediately struck by how much lead vocalist Arnel Pineda sounded like former Journey singer Steve Perry. His voice didn't have as much rasp to it on the high notes, but Pineda hit all those notes right on the head, and then some. I haven't heard Perry sing lately, but I'd almost bet Pineda nails those Journey songs better than Perry would now.

Pineda's a little guy, lithe and toned, arms covered in colorful tattoos. He was a popular singer in his native Philippines before joining Journey, and he certainly knew how to work the crowd. He did a couple knee slides and sang to women in the audience. His energy and youthful looks really belie his age (43). He belted out great vocals for the familiar hits, like "Send Her My Love," and the newer songs as well, like "City of Hope" and "Edge of the Moment," from Journey's 2011 album Eclipse.

The lighting in the Phoenix sky started during "Who's Crying Now." Lead guitarist Neal Schon played a smokin' solo during the song, and another mesmerizing solo (with lots of clusters of high-pitched, fast notes) leading into "Stone in Love." The lightning continued for the next two songs, and by the time Journey started playing "Lights," it was clear a nasty storm was headed our way. As the wind started picking up and a light mist began to fall, a large percent of people on the lawn packed up and headed for the gates. They might have missed the maelstrom that came during the next number, "Wheel in the Sky," but I doubt it.

Journey sounded great, and up to that point, they'd played the same set list they used for the last few dates of the tour. Unfortunately, "Wheel in the Sky" turned into our walking-to-the-car song. Actually, it turned into our walking-to-the-car-in-a-torrential-downpour-screaming-with-a-bunch-of-other-fleeing-fans song. About a quarter of the crowd cleared out when we did, and I have to admit, I'm not sorry my friends and I left early. The "Wheel in the Sky" was just turning out too much icy rain and wind.

Journey set list:


Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
Ask the Lonely
City of Hope
Only the Young
Send Her My Love
Who's Crying Now
Stone in Love
Edge of the Moment
Lights
Wheel in the Sky
(The set list up to this point is the same as their July 21 show in Salt Lake City and their July 18 show in Omaha. The rest of that set list is below. If you were at the Phoenix show and the end of this set list was different, please let me know.)
Chain of Love
Open Arms
Escape
Faithfully
Be Good to Yourself
Don't Stop Believin'
Encore: Any Way You Want It

Last night: Foreigner and Journey at Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion

Better than: Boston, the last "classic rock" band I saw at the pavilion (around 2003).

Personal bias: I've wanted to see Foreigner since 1983...when I was 7.

The crowd: About 17,000 strong and mostly comprised of 40somethings. Lots of older guys in Journey T-shirts, and a few women in tie-dye and hot pink.

Overheard in the crowd: "There should not be this many fucking people here."

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25 comments
Bel
Bel

Saxophon is played by Thom Gimbel!!! (just for the one who wrote this nice review

Rickgunnip
Rickgunnip

would it be time for a steve perry come back! or did the other members do the wrong thing in hiring ! just a thought !!!!!

JAE81
JAE81

I'm the awesome guy in the article! Glad you enjoyed the show...and I don't mean the concert. I almost forgot about that lol. Did you get any pics of me? I'd be happy to sift through some my friends took and see if there's one acceptable to post on the site. That means that yes, several are unacceptable

azmama
azmama

Gotta question your assertion that "a quarter of the crowd" fled when the rain started. Nothing like dancing in the rain on a hot summer night to make the worries of the world go away...  It was the first time (for me) that a concert delivered on the rain poriton of the "rain or shine" promise, and the crowd on the lawn was loving every minute of it. 

Not so much the 45 minute wait in the parking lot to get out of the place.  I agree that traffic before + after was out of control.And finally, what was with the gate?  I pity the fools who paid for a "fast pass" and stood in a line longer + slower than the rest of us to get in. 

Vic
Vic

I am past the days that I want to fight a crowd to see any concert now but was lucky to seeJourney(Steve Perry,ya!) and Foreigner in Phoenix back in the eighties.  Two of the bestconcerts I ever went to.  Never did see Night Ranger though.

 I'm content now to listen to all that great music on CDs now with all the original band members.  Wouldn't it be great if MTV would bring back all those great music videos on a 24 hour loop?  Seems they'd have an audience for it at least on the weekends!

16 Again
16 Again

According to one interview, Perry won't take the band's calls. They are only able to contact him through his attorney. Lame.

that guy
that guy

Unfortunately Mr. Goldenvoice has lost it, just cannot sing the same way.

Jason P. Woodbury
Jason P. Woodbury

Pass them along! We would love to talk with a superfan like yourself. 

Da4givingirl
Da4givingirl

I agree! I LOVED dancing and rocking out in the rain! It was sooo worth it to stay, in my opinion! :-)

piolneamw
piolneamw

I am thinking same but it wouldn't be possible that MT bring back all those great music videos on a 24 hours loop.. Whatever i having CDs of this video song and have enjoyed a lot. Now expect something wise and fascinates from these band members.London escort

cybercy
cybercy

I am not going to waste my money and time/gas driving all the way out to West PHX to see 3 bands who only sport at the most 3 original members of each group.  I have never seen Journey live but a lot of video live and, in my opinion, no one can touch Steve Perry, vocally or stage presence.  As to Night Ranger and Foreigner, I have seen both bands live in the 70's and 80s and they both put on great shows back then and I don't think this Hansen guy can touch Gramm vocally, which he was the stock and trade sound of Foreigner. As far as Night Ranger, I'm not even really sure if any of the band are original members.  I consider groups like this to be "tribute" bands I'd probably pay $5 to see.  Unfortunately, you can't go back

azmama
azmama

maybe SP knew when to say when. his vocal cords are 62 yrs old...and that's lots of wear + tear on a voice.  case in point - Pat Benatar last summer. as much as she wanted it (and we wanted her to do it), she never quite got it - struggled to hit notes + hold notes + petered out way before the concert was over.    

Yvonneroberts57
Yvonneroberts57

Dear cybercy in response to your comment: I am sorry you feel this way, my response to this is hmmm....your loss!!

that guy
that guy

Eh well even in the 80's Journey only sported "some" of the original members.  Steve Perry wasn't an original member!

Cityofhope
Cityofhope

No one denies that. Certainly I don't, but it is also true that no one is irreplaceable. Perry was a singer not a god. The healthy attitude to life is to honor the past and enjoy the present.

Anton
Anton

Journey existed before Steve Perry, but began to live when SP came on board.  His Voice defined Journey and is on all the known songs and The Greatest Hits and they have always continued on with "Steve Perry sound-alikes" and ALL his albums, went multiplatinum (no re-recording for fake platinum) and are being played 30 years later so for all intense reasons and purposes and LEGACY, he is the ORIGINAL.

Nice day!

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