REVIEW: Journey, Pat Benatar and Loverboy at the BOK Center
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
10/11/12 at 2:50 PM
A twister of nostalgia roared to life Wednesday evening when crowds spilled into the BOK Center arena for a concert lineup that helped define the genre of arena rock: Journey, Pat Benatar and Loverboy.
Hits pealed from the stage with songs that spanned nearly four decades. Head-banging college students dressed in mullet wigs and denim jackets mixed with young children, Baby Boomers and parents with teenage kids as they all sang with one voice.
Oklahoma-born guitarist Neal Schon is the only founding member of Journey who has continuously been with the band since it was founded in 1973. That fact doesn’t deter longtime members Jonathan Cain on keyboards and Ross Valory on bass from performing the radio anthems with precision and — gasp — spontaneity. Metal-edged Deen Castronovo thrusting on drums helps, too.
The band spoke little to the audience, focused instead on a set that included “Any Way You Want It,” “Ask the Lonely,” “Only the Young,” “Anytime,” “Faithfully,” “Stone in Love,” “Wheel in the Sky,” “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” and “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’.”
Frontman Arnel Pineda comes closest yet to the vocal weight Steve Perry first brought to Journey’s music. His impressive agility is best displayed on tunes such as “Send Her My Love,” “Lights” and “Faithfully.”
However, Schon’s lead guitar — coupled with the band’s vocal harmonies — are what still best define the San Francisco rocker’s sound.
Pat Benatar fed into the greatest hits onslaught with close to an hour of belting rock classics and a skin-tight backing band led by husband rocker Neil “Spyder” Giraldo.
Benatar is lusty and powerful and relishes her distinctively ’80s girl power vibe. She is tough yet emotive, her trademark snarl still in time with her seemingly-effortless vocals on the timeless “You Better Run,” a rough-and-tumble tune inspired by a tour stop in a seedy Oklahoma hotel, she said.
In 1981, it became the second video played on MTV. (Bonus points for those of us who can name the first.)
Her warm, chatty set included “All Fired Up,” “Invincible,” “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” “Love Is a Battlefield,” “Heartbreaker” and the personal “Promises in the Dark” and “We Belong,” both written with her husband about their relationship, which now spans 35 years. Yes, that’s longer than many of her fans have been alive.
Loverboy frontman Mike Reno helped funnel 40 minutes of hits into the band’s short set. It was a disappointing rumble-and-gust rather than a full-throated prelude to the night’s storm of arena-rock classics, save for the band’s bass- and guitar-driven “Turn Me Loose,” which finally drove fans to their feet.
“This next song will remind you where you were, who you were with and just what the hell you were up to that night,” Reno yelled before rolling into “When It’s Over.”
Other hits in the set included “Lovin’ Every Minute of It,” “The Kid Is Hot Tonight” and “Working For The Weekend.”
With nearly all the members of the three acts close to 60 years old (save Pineda; he’s in his 40s), each set was just long enough to let the bands rip without getting tired, physically and figuratively.
After all, nostalgia can carry one only so far before reality sets in.
Original Print Headline: Legendary rockers bring four decades of music to Tulsa's BOK Center
Arnel Pineda, Journey’s lead singer since late 2007, performs with the legendary band at the BOK Center on Wednesday night, headlining a bill with Loverboy and Pat Benatar. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World
Rocker Pat Benatar connects with the audience at the BOK Center before Journey takes the stage Wednesday evening. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World
Loverboy was the opener for Pat Benatar and Journey at their Tulsa concert Wednesday. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World
Arnel Pineda, Journey’s lead singer since late 2007, touches a fan at the BOK Center on Wednesday night. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World
Arnel Pineda lets the Tulsa crowd sing along with Journey. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World