Journey and Pat Benatar Rock Tampa

Still riding their “Glee”-ful resurgence, a revitalized Journey brought a few of their fellow 80’s rock stalwarts to the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre in Tampa this weekend.  Paired with Pat Benatar and Loverboy, it promised to be a fun flashback packed with iconic rock tunes.

Due to an absurdly long line of traffic entering the facility,and being re-routed to a lot which seemed to be in Clearwater, we missed Loverboy. We arrived right at the printed start time of 7:30, which turned out to be the time they wrapped up.  Guilty pleasure confession: I always loved the band’s music and was kind of bummed I missed their set. The general consensus was that despite their considerably tighter black and red leather, the Canadians still sounded good.

Pat Benatar is sharing her billing with husband and long time guitarist Neil Giraldo on this tour. They sounded good and offered up a great setlist featuring songs from their entire catalog.  The band kicked off the set with a trio of powerful hits, “All Fired Up,” Invincible” and “Promises in the Dark.” They then brought out a pair of stools, caught their breath, and slowed it down a bit.

Over the course of the 50 minute performance, the band offered up all of their biggest hits including crowd favorites “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “Love Is a Battlefield.”  The highlight of the set was a great closing version of “Heartbreaker,” during which they deftly weaved in Led Zeppelin’s identically titled classic and Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire;” a great version of a great song.

The headliners took the stage with a nice line-up reminiscent of that from the band’s heyday. Neal Schon, Ross Valory and Jonathan Cain, holdovers from the band’s epic 80’s line-up, are still performing and were joined on stage by Deen Castronovo who has been at the drums for the last dozen years. The new face is Filipino, Arnell Pineda, who was discovered by Schon covering Journey songs on Youtube (really).  Pineda’s voice is eerily similar to Steve Perry’s and his vocals were damn near perfect throughout the show.

They immediately got the crowd engaged with a rousing version of “Anyway You Want It,” and did a nice job sampling hits from their entire catalog.  Early highlights included “Feeling That Way / Anytime,” “send Her My Love” and “Faithfully.”  The band took a quick break and Schon offered up a fantastic solo version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”  Schon is an under-appreciated guitar legend with a slew of great, memorable riffs to his credit, and he truly shined during the solo.

The second half of the generous set included “Separate Ways,” “Lights,” and “Wheel In the Sky,” as well as “Just The Same Way,” with Cain taking over lead vocals.  The band also offered up a few deeper cuts, which were generally received with ambivalence from a crowd that was there for the hits.  Overall, the band offered up a nice, broad selection of hits, but at times seemed to be going through the motions. They closed the show with “Don’t Stop Believing” and came back with an anti-climactic version of “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin.'” It was a nice end to a decent, yet unspectacular show.

I did have a priceless experience as the crowd sang along loudly to “Open Arms.” My friend Luc the Toque, belted out “I come to you with broken arms!” Nice, a priceless cross-up between Journey and Mister Mister… Thanks, Luc!

We had lawn seats in the equivalent of deep right field.  I’d recommend the lawn if you’re just going to hear some classic tracks, chill with friends and sing along a bit, and that worked on this night. But, the truth is, the sound was muddy and the mix inconsistent throughout the night so far from the stage. If you are headed to the Amphitheatre and are looking for a mpre pristine sound, I’d definitely recommend moving up into the reserved seats.

Check Out the full Setlists below.

Rock On!

Pat Benatar Setlist

All Fired Up
Promises in the Dark
We Belong
You Better Run
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Love Is a Battlefield
Heartbreaker/Ring of Fire

Journey Setlist

Anyway You Want It
Ask the Lonely
Only the Young
Feeling That Way / Anytime
Send Her My Love
Neil Schon Solo – Star Spangled Banner
Stone In Love
Separate Ways
Just the Same Way
Wheel In the Sky
Open Arms
Don’t Stop Believing

Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’

9 thoughts on “Journey and Pat Benatar Rock Tampa”

  1. Here is my review of the night….

    Loverboy sounded great but being out in right field, kinda left you hoping for a little more energy in the music. Pat Benatar was by far the best of the night. It was nice to see her interact with the audience and get all of us involved in the music. You could tell she really does enjoy her talent. I was really disappointed that she did not sing “Hell is for children”. Maybe she just cant belt it out like she used to. In relation to Journey, they reminded me of a band that was paid to play 12 songs and played 12 songs. No more, no less. I don’t believe anyone from the band even acknowledged the crowd. And yes, I think that they were singing “Broken Arms” just to get the excitement in the crowd.

  2. Luc – thanks for your perspective. Agree with your thoughts on Benatar and wish I had seen Loverboy. You kind of nailed it with Journey, it just seemed a bit stale and lacked some passion. Still not buying the “broken arms” comment… Is it true you were also singing “face will be…”

  3. I must admit I was also hoping for a bit more interaction with the audience from Journey. Their songs are wonderful classics and sounded good, but they seemed more just there to put on a show and collect their money. Pat sure continues to rock it though! We also missed Loverboy. I do not know why they start before the schuduled time on the ticket! I heard Night Ranger did the same thing at Journey last year too. Frustrating!!!!

  4. Michelle – thanks for sharing. Were you on the lawn, too? Definitely seemed to get that vibe on the lawn, and the crowd out there seemed to be more in a cocktail party mood – that may have contributed?

    You should Register an account in the future (bottom right) so that your posts appear immediately, and you could post in our forums, too.

  5. It was great to hear Journey pull out some of the old classics (“Feeling That Way/Anytime”) and they opened with Majestic which was a highlight.

    Maybe I didn’t catch your sarcasm but “The band also offered up a few newer songs” Did I miss some? The “newest” song they played was 1985’s Only The Young.

    As for the start time… The ticket said 7 but online it said 7:30. I call LiveNation and they refunded part of my ticket for an error on their part (though the box office laughed at me when I pointed it out saying “well you didn’t miss Journey and thats all that matter”).

  6. Andrew – you’re right. There was nothing new, I meant to reference the deeper cuts, which the crowd really didn’t seem interested in.

    I don’t recall hearing “Majestic,” and I’m fairly certain the first tune in Tampa was “Anyway You Want It.”

    Thanks for the tip on the refund through LiveNation – good to hear they offered up some credit.

  7. They didn’t do Majestic as the full song (ala studio version) it was the Captured cut where its the last 40 seconds are so.

    And yeah – I couldn’t believe the lack of response for the deeper cuts..!

  8. Andrew – nicely done. Forgot all about that. So, were you on the lawn on that side of the stage. Seemed like a much better choice than we made on the other side of the stage…

    Thanks for sharing the video!

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