The Doobie Brothers perform at SPAC Tuesday night July 5th, 2016Classic rock blossomed Tuesday night at SPAC as three great San Francisco bands rocked out to fans under a clear hot summer sky. However, it was the Doobie Brothers that were the real highlight of the night, outshining even Journey for a few songs despite being the opening act.
It was a night full of classic rock Tuesday night at SPAC. Fans swarmed into the venue literally-the lines seemed to go on for forever just to get into the gate, but they were treated to an incredible live show by the Doobie Brothers. Journey was Journey of course, delivering a powerful set list that included their early hits. Dave Mason was fairly good as well, singing songs from his beloved band Traffic. However, the highlight of the night was the Eight piece San Francisco jam band the Doobies.
It was incredibly hot-almost uncomfortable warm as the temperature approached near 90 degrees Tuesday afternoon. The sky was clear as a bell, and despite the warm weather, rock fans invaded SPAC by the thousands eager to see some of their favorite classic rock bands.
One of the only negative things about the concert was Journey actually requested everyone to be scanned via metal detectors before entry, which caused a few line builds up heading into the show. Besides from that, the concert was a success with no other major problems and every band coming on stage on time.
Dave Mason of Traffic was the first San Fransisco group up. He proved a valuable opener for the night, expressing his love for his band and how he wrote and played the iconic song 'All Along The Watchtower' with Jimi Hendrix. That song was one of the best of his set, and of course 'Feelin Alright'. Members of Journey and the Doobie Brothers sat in during some of the songs in his set as well, making the crowd oh and ah as they got ready for the headliners.
A great poster of the San Fransisco bridge with the skyline in the background treated fans as the Doobies came on stage. The group played the powerful 'Jesus is Just Alright' as their first song before digging deeper into their early career. Indeed, the band mostly played songs from the first part of their existence during their set. The crowd got up and dancing as they began to play hits like 'China Grove', 'Rocking Down the Highway', 'Black Water' and 'Long Train Running.' The Doobies are a great band to dance to, and most of SPAC was up on their feet doing just that despite the heat. It was good to see original band members Patrick Simmons and Tom Johnston together onstage jamming out on their guitars, delivering great riffs everyone enjoyed. Marc Russo was equally impressive on Saxophone, giving the brass some love with the Doobie Brothers. All in all, and with a great set list, the Doobie Brothers may have been the best band Tuesday night at SPAC.
Of course, Journey was still incredible as they graced the stage, opening up with the classic 'Separate Ways (World Apart)'.
Perhaps the best thing about Tuesday night came when Journey's own Neal Schon blasted through his version of the national anthem. The ballad was exceptionally emotional being just a day after Independence Day. The guitarist didn't skip a beat with that tune or any other song through the night. He rocked like no other, proving he is still one of the great guitar gods of rock and roll history.
New lead singer from the Philippians Arnel Pineda proved his own weight for the band with powerful vocals that matched the original members music. He was great, with endless energy showing that he's the fruit of Journey for the new ages. Arnel sang along perfectly to such vocal lead tunes like 'Don't Stop Believing' and "Wheel in the Sky'.
The crowd at SPAC were mostly older concert fans in their forties or above, however they were some young dudes and gales thrown in wanting to hear some great classic rock that their parents loved.
Like the Doobie Brothers, Journey's set list stuck to songs mostly from the beginning part of their career, to the delight of the crowd. It was a great and classic Journey set list, making every fan scream and shout throughout the night.
The band has had a long history with SPAC. 'We lost count on how many times we played this venue,' said original member and bassist Ross Valory. It was great hearing about it and seeing the relationship the band has with the venue, which just so happens to be in its 50th anniversary this year.
The Journey concert Tuesday night was an ultimate success, despite the long lines to get in due to weapon scanning and the intense heat.
Journey's setlist July 5th 2016, Saratoga Performing Arts Center
1) Separate Ways (World Apart)
2) Be good to Yourself
3) Only to be young
4) National Anthem solo
5) Stone in Love
6) Anyway you Want it
7) Line of Fire
9) Piano Solo
10) Open Arms
11) Who's Crying Now
13) La Do Do
14) Dead or Alive
15) Wheel in the Sky
17) Don't Stop Believing
Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin