Journey,Whitesnake,Thunder LG Arena Birmingham 28-05-13

So 2 nights after the monumental Rush gig we are back for a 3 band package that I'll be honest have found a little strange from the day it was announced.

We saw Thunder's last show 4 years ago, Whitesnake ok new live cd and 35 year anniversary tour and Journey no new product for 2 years.

Walking into the arena the first thing you notice is that the venue is only about two thirds the size of Sunday's gig.They have the curtains in use and the last block is far from full. 

To a filling venue Thunder come on and show us why they should be thought of as one of England's finest ever bands.

Their 45 minute set had for me their top 8 songs and I only wish they would carry on and record more music.

Here is what they played:

Dirty Love
River Of Pain
Higher Ground
Low Life In High Places
Backstreet Symphony
The Devil Made Me Do It
Love Walked In
I Love You More Than Rock n'Roll

Danny Bowes has the perfect voice and was in fine form both vocally and his usual quick wit. Sadly his bad dad dancing gets no better.The guitars of Luke Morley and Ben Matthews both sounded great and if there is a better song live than "Love Walked In" then I am still to hear it.

Quite superb and band of the night for me.

After a quick 15 minute change over we are ready for DC and his troops to celebrate 35 years and the year of the snake.

After plenty of concerns about DC's voice on the last tour it was nice to hear he was in good voice although noticeably he sang the "Don't Break My Heart Again" chorus in a lower key. He also lets the band and crowd do their bit and hey the man is 61 and when he looks so good and can still work a crowd in the palm of his hand better than 90% of someone in their 20's who are we to complain.

Here is what they played over the course of 85 minutes:

Give Me All Your Love
Ready And Willing
Can You Hear The Wind Blow
Don't Break My Heart Again
Love Will Set You Free
Guitar duel Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich
Steal Your Heart Away (including Tommy Aldridge drum solo)
Best Years
Bad Boys/Children Of The Night
Fool For Your Loving
Here I Go Again
Still Of The Night

Great to see "Ready and Willing", "Don't Break My Heart Again" and "Gambler" all back in the set. The last mentioned was dedicated to fallen friends with a montage of Mel Galley, Cozy Powell and Jon Lord on the back screen that had now sprang to life.

Nice to see Tommy Aldridge back on drums although his solo was pretty similar to the first time I saw him 25 years ago.

Reb Beach and Doug Aldrich are 2 of the finest gun slingers on the planet and again both were in fine form. Reb definately plays more solo's than a couple of tours ago which is right as he is such a great player and Doug is DC's right hand man and he can shred, riff with the best of them and always with a highly melodic tone.

High spot of the set for me was the title track of the last cd and
"Forevermore" with it's acoustic start and Doug soloing all over the end really hits home hard.

Nice to see "Bad Boys" back in the set and with "Fool For Your Loving", "Here I Go Again" and "Still Of The Night" as the last 3 songs the band left us begging for more.

Very very good & band of the night for Shazz.

Now this I find really difficult to put into print.

In 2005 we went to see Journey in America after a major health scare. As they wouldn't come to us we went to see them and a 3 and a quarter hour set and 33 songs later they were incredible. Everything we could have hoped for.

We were also at the Manchester Apollo for the show that the fan club begged for, again wonderful.

The 2 Jeff Scott Soto shows we saw were again superb and the first show with Arnel Pineda was again superb with crowd and band as one.

The LG Arena show of 2 years ago had some cracks in. New songs played with Neal Schon soloing all over them and the large Glee crowd knew very little .No interaction at all with the crowd and just doing it for themselves.

After a 20 minute break Journey came on and within minutes people started to leave.This continued for the rest of the set and I could see why.

A poor guitar heavy sound with many oldies played at near thrash pace, no crowd interaction and a setlist that had many unsure of who they were watching.

Here is what they played:

Seperate Ways
Anyway You Want It
La Do Da
Ask The Lonely
Only The Young
Stone In Love
Keep On Runnin'(vocals by Deen Castronovo)
Edge Of The Blade
Open Arms
Dead Or Alive
Wheel In The Sky
Be Good To Yourself
Don't Stop Believin'

We were down to a 80 minute set with no new material that Arnel had played at all.


What were they promoting?

"La Do Da" off "Infinity" was a surprise.

6 songs played off "Escape" which if you are a long term fan would be heaven but to a Glee fan it means nothing. As did the 3 off "Frontiers".

Neal used to play with such a melodic tone but now he seems to want to shred at all times with a flurry of notes.

You could only hear Jonathan Cain on piano at the start of "Faithfully","Open Arms" and "Don't Stop Believin" the rest of the time nothing.And he looked disinterested.

Deen Castronovo is a wonderful drummer but the songs seem to be played too fast and with a near thrash element.

Arnel sounded ok a bit strained at times and his constant leaping around got tiring to watch and his poor English doesn't help the crowd interaction.

Neal played a short solo before "Wheel In The Sky" and finished to silence.
As did the start of "Lights" too.

I was glad when it was over. As was most of the crowd who were left to leave in near silence.

I really don't know where Journey go from here in the UK?

The fan club euphoria that got the band over here has long since faded.They don't play any new material that they believe in and seem to be doing it for Neal.

Very very sad.

Would I see them again? I really can't say at the moment and I would never have thought that I could ever see myself saying that!

With a different running order I would have left feeling so much better.

Best band seen in last 2 days.

Rush by a country mile. Playing for the fans with new material included.
Journey take note.

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