My wife and I had another chance to attend another concert on March 24th at the Vivint Arena. Two of the bands from the 80’s that I’ve been wanting to see, Journey and Toto. When we originally purchased the tickets in late 2021, Billy Idol was on the tour listing, however recent surgery prevented him from touring. So I’m hoping that I’ll get a chance to see Billy Idol sometime in the future as my goal is to try to see the bands I missed while growing up. I remember wanting to go to a lot of concerts and was told “no” or things would come up that would prevent me from going. Music shaped a lot of my life from the radio and the days when MTV actually played music. It cheered me up when I was sad. It made me laugh with the antics of Weird Al Yankovick and Dr. Demento. It inspired me when used in various movies and television series. It relaxed me before going to sleep. While I can’t create music, I can enjoy music.
Toto was the first band on stage. They opened up with the song “Orphan” from their 2015 album “Toto XIV“. I was impressed enough with the song that I added it to my playlist on my music streaming service and I’ve been checking out the album while I’ve been writing this blog post. Most of the other songs played by the band were their classic hits like “Rosanna”, “Hold The Line” and a cover of The Beatles song “With A Little Help From My Friends”. I think I’ll never experience the greatness that is the entire arena all singing the song “Africa” together with the band.
I had a chance to hear all of their radio hits in their performance which made me happy. While I didn’t hear any songs from it, the Toto album that was my holy grail for the longest time was the 1984 Dune Soundtrack. In the days before buying a lot of stuff on the internet, this rare CD was usually out of my price range when I did find it at a con. When I finally scored a copy, I used it as my “go to sleep music” by turning on the CD and turning out the lights.
After an intermission that allowed the stage crew to swap out sets, Journey came up on the stage. They took this stage by storm immediately jumping into several classic songs such as “Only the Young”. During the first few songs I noticed how many of the people sitting around us had this confused look on their face. They must not had known that Steve Perry hadn’t been the lead singer for Journey for quite some time as they were pulling up their phones and doing quick google searches. The lead singer, Arnel Pieda, was very active jumping around the set and getting the fans involved in the songs. He knocked the songs out like he had been singing them all his life. The stage was also set up with a video backdrop which added to the concert. Sometimes they would show different video scenes, sometimes they would show what was happening on stage. This later view would sometimes create interesting pinwheel or hall of mirrors effect which was very kewl looking.
The first song I ever heard (actually watched on MTV) from Journey was “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” so it is probably the most memorable for me. They played this song, of course, along with all of their other well known hits like “Don’t Stop Believin”, “Wheel in the Sky”, “Stone in Love” and others. There were two songs that I really hoped that they would play but did not. The first was “Only Solutions” from the 1982 Tron soundtrack. The second was the song “Rubicon” from the 1983 Frontiers album. However this song was never released as a single so it isn’t as popular as other tracks from Journey.
I remember seeing kids in my school show up in Journey t-shirts after they had gone to the concert (again that I was not able to attend) and I also remember Journey having their own video game in the arcade. I’m really glad that I’ve been able to experience Journey and Toto in concert.
Oh, and before I forget, one last note about singer Arnel Pieda. While the band was walking off stage he turned his microphone back on and sang a couple of lines from “Tom Sawyer” by Rush. I thought it was a kewl tip of the hat to a legendary band.