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Journey with Foreigner and Night Ranger
Show Date: September 24, 2011
Venue: Gexa Energy Pavilion - Dallas, Texas

To say that the Journey/Foreigner/Night Ranger concert was a blast would be selling the show far too short. I can’t find the superlatives to describe the great time I had at this show.

Because I attended a meet and greet (courtesy of Boomerocity friend and Journey keyboardist, Jonathan Cain), I, unfortunately, missed the Night Ranger set. However, when my friend and I took our seats during the Foreigner set, I was blown away by the bands energy and persistent freshness to all the band’s great, legendary hits. While I’ll always be a Lou Gramm fan, current lead vocalist, Kelly Hansen does a remarkable job and had the 20K+ crowd eating out of his hands.

The only possible negative of the Foreigner show as that Mick Jones was inexplicably absent. However, the gentleman who filled in (and I couldn’t catch his name, so my apologies), did a great job filling in for Jones so, no harm/no foul.

Journey hit the stage early and with a bang, blowing the crowd away with Separate Ways. Arnel Panela’s signature long, straight, jet-black hair has succumbed to scissors but the look is quite good.

Let me stop right here and say that, while I have been and always be a Steve Perry fan, he’s gone and fans who refuse to accept that fact need to. Steve’s horse is long-gone out of the Journey barn. Arnel is great in his own way. He delivers the Journey classics with his own subtle touches added in without taking away from the incredible legacy of the band. He’s going to make great contributions to this great band for many years to come and I, quite frankly, am looking forward to it.

Now, back to the show.

The crowd was on its feet the entire show, singing and rocking right along. The crowd sang along, with lighters in hand, with favorites like Faithfully and Open Arms, during which Arnel came on-stage after a brief backstage visit, wearing a Dirk Nowitzki jersey and, at the end of the song, cheered, “Go Cowboys!”. Do you think that brought a huge roar from the crowd?

Neal Schon’s guitar work was better than ever. Tight, precise and exhilarating. Jonathan Cain’s keyboard work was phenomenal, especially during his long introduction/solo that segued into Open Arms, which drew squeals of delight from all the girls (and maybe even a few guys) in the crowd. Heck! He even demonstrated some great harmonica skills during Wheel In The Sky. Who knew?

Ross Valory delivered effortless excellence with his bass work and is a joy to meet in person. You won't meet a friendly person. Deen Castronovo was awesome, of course. I just wish he had sang, Still They Ride, because he does such a phenomenal job on it.

City of Hope from the band’s new album, Eclipse, was very well received and will no doubt result in Wal-Mart’s all over the metroplex selling out (Wally World has the exclusive on this CD as of this writing).

Neal Schon generated gasps from the crowd when he gave away a beautifully crafted Paul Reed Smith guitar to some young girl who must’ve been given the go-ahead to run up on stage. My friend and I stared at each other in disbelief, mouthing, “I want one!”

The evening ended with an encore of two other Journey standards, Don’t Stop Believin’ and Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’. If Pinela ever doubted his acceptance by Journey’s multi-generational fan base, then the show last night here in Dallas should have sent those doubts well on their Separate Ways (sorry, I just couldn’t resist).

If you ever get a chance to catch Journey in concert, DO! You will walk away feeling that you got more than your money’s worth.