Journey with Foreigner and Night Ranger Hollywood Bowl 10/11/11

Journey, Foreigner and Night Ranger are three of my favorite “80s” bands.  I’ve seen them for a combined total of at least 10 times.   I sat front row for Styx, Foreigner and Kansas at the Gibson/ Universal Amphtitheatre last year and consider it the best show I saw in 2010.  I also saw Journey, Heart and Cheap Trick a few times in 2009, and that was a great tour package as well.   Come to think of it, I saw Foreigner (with Johnny Edwards singing) with Night Ranger opening as a trio (Gillis, Blades and Keaggy) in the early 90s.   So, I’ve seen Foreigner live with 3 lead singers (Lou Gramm as well) and I think Kelly Hansen does a great job- perhaps the best of all of them.


I went with some friends that were kind of slow getting into the venue, so I think we missed Night Ranger’s first song and a half.  I was really looking forward to seeing Joel Hoekstra playing guitar with the band- he’s ultra-talented and seems like a cool dude.    “Sing Me Away” was playing when we got into the aisle towards our seats.   Night Ranger sounded really good.   Their set went by fast and they played a Doors tune- “Roadhouse Blues” and concluded the song with the “Secret Agent Man” guitar riff.   “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me “ and “(You Can Still) Rock in America” were cool to hear.  Excellent soloing!   By the time I was settled in, their set was a done deal.   


I wasn’t sure if Mick Jones was going to play with Foreigner or not.   When he first missed a gig this tour, Joel Hoekstra filled in for him and I heard he learned the entire Foreigner set in one day.   That’s very impressive.    Neither Joel or Mick played for Foreigner this evening- it was some guy named Bruce Watson (I’d never heard of him before) and he did a great job.  Foreigner sounded as magnificent as I had expected.   The only two members I am familiar with in the current line-up are Kelly and Jeff Pilson, most known for being Dokken’s bass player.   From what I can tell, everyone else in the band is just a hired gun.  The drummer is insanely good.   They played hit after hit to a delighted crowd (a ton of timeless classics- Double Vision, Head Games, Cold as Ice, Dirty White Boy, Hot Blooded, Juke Box Hero), including a couple of their “elevator rock” tunes (I just made that up, but it describes tunes like “Waiting For A Girl Like You” and “I Want to Know What Love Is”.)   It was an excellent set of worth the price of admission alone and, like their last show I saw, their stage show and backdrops were killer.



And it was a beautiful night- the the moon was full and the weather was great. 


Kelly commented that it’s nice to live so close to such a big show (he said it was a short drive) and that he thought this was the first time that Foreigner has played the Bowl.   Feels like the first time?

He even did a lap around the pool circle:


Everyone around was in agreement that Foreigner stole the show.   I kind of expected that.

Journey came out and sounded as polished as ever.   It was pretty predictable.   Arnel Pineda does a very commendable job handling Steve Perry’s vocals, but I’d rather see Steve Perry back in the group and with Steve Smith on the drums- that would rock!   Although they have an extensive catalog of rocking tunes, they did a lot of their sappier songs like Send Her My Love, Lights, Faithfully, Open Arms and stuff like that….    Couples were dancing together and looking all starry-eyed.     That, combined with some of their newer song (which I also had zero interest in hearing), gave me thoughts of leaving early if I hadn’t been stack parked and the fact there were going to be fireworks at the end of the show. Their standout song for me was “Escape”- it totally rocked.  And during that song, most of the people around me sat and played on their phones instead of making Section K3 a horrible karaoke abomination like they did for the majority of the show.  I was thankful for that.


Then I strolled around for a bit during the “bathroom break songs” to find a good spot to watch the fireworks.



This is the third time I’ve seen The Police at the Bowl (ha ha)- they were all huge fans- one officer was taking cell phone pics- Cop Rock:


Journey also played “Separate Ways”, “Ask The Lonely”, ”Stone In Love” and “Wheel In The Sky”, which were among the better songs in the set.

I noticed that Neal Schon was wearing his wedding ring during the show.  He’s a legendary guitarist, but all the recent stuff in the news kind of made me lose respect for him and I almost didn’t care to see him play.  Seeing him made me feel sad for his wife.   I was looking around for Joey Greco and was hoping he’d walk onstage mid-solo…


They ended up the show with “Don’t Stop Believin’” and an absolutely incredible fireworks display.  

The grand finale was awesome, but I got hit with two sparks in my eye that made it kind of hard to drive home.  And  I saw some drunken fool drive into a curb while trying to get onto the freeway.   Then he took a wrong turn and missed the on-ramp.  I’m glad we went our “separate ways”.    I had a good time and it was a fun night, but Journey is yet another band in 2011 that I’ve decided to “retire” from seeing again. 



12 Responses to “Journey with Foreigner and Night Ranger Hollywood Bowl 10/11/11”

  1. October 12, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Hey there,

    My name is Sharareh Drury and I am a journalist working for an entertainment outlet. I wanted to see if I could speak to you on the phone about your experience attending the concert?

    You can email me at sharareh.drury@nbcuni.com and we can figure out a time to talk today and I’ll give you my work number that way (rather not post it in the comments).

    Sharareh Drury

  2. 3 Steve
    October 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    I was there with my wife. Awesome show!

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