Written by Dave Clements
ImageI certainly didn’t try to interview people as they left The Woodlands Pavilion this Friday night. I’m willing to bet, though, that if I had I wouldn’t have found these two things to be true. One, it would have taken a very long time as it was a sold out house, and two, that just about every single one of them were happy, satisfied customers. They saw one heck of a show from beginning to end!

The Oakland based band called Tower Of Power kicked things off early and the momentum just kept building from the first note to the last. The ten band members were terrific musicians and produced an excellent sound. They are called Funk by some, R&B by others, there band leader and founding member Emilio Castillo calls their sound…’Urban Soul Music’…I’d just call it ‘awesome’.

It doesn’t matter what we call it, they delivered beautifully in getting their job done. They got the party started and warmed up the crowd. And they did this despite the fact that I thought they were an odd choice to be on the same bill with the Classic Rock Groups, the Steve Miller Band and Journey. The obvious enthusiasm of their new lead vocalist (who just joined the band on New Year’s Eve of this year) Ray Greene would make Tower of Power fit in anywhere! His great voice and all of the horns offering support provided a very entertaining set.

As good as TOP was they didn’t hold a candle to what was to follow.

ImageI last saw the Steve Miller Band perform at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on March 14, 2005. What a difference nine plus years can make, along with the change of venue!

First, I hardly recognized him as he had lost a bunch of weight and changed his look considerably. Also, I think the Pavilion was a better setting for him versus the round rotating stage in Reliant Stadium. This venue allowed the fans to experience the show up close and personal.

Miller was simply incredible. He kicked off the set with Jungle Love, then Take The Money And Run, Abracadabra, and Living In The USA. The audience, already treated to these great hits, got even more. He ended the show The Joker, Swingtown, Rock’n Me, Jet Airliner and of course the iconic Fly Like An Eagle to wrap things up! How does it get any better than that collection of songs by a group of highly skilled players led by the magnificent Steve Miller? His music is clearly Rock and my research has it being called everything from Heartland Rock to Blues Rock, Art Rock, Progressive Rock, Pop Rock, Folk Rock, and Symphonic Rock. I personally had no idea there were that many iterations of rock.  For me, it was just ‘good ole Rock & Roll’. Thanks Steve and by the way I could have walked out after you left the stage and felt like ‘what more could one ask for?’.

That question will be answered next after one more SMB comment. I just discovered that one of my other favorite singers of all time played with Steve at some point early in his career…Boz Scaggs. Boz is off the charts for me and it is inconceivable to me to think of seeing them perform on a stage together. Wow, that would be a treat! I’m worn out just reliving the concert and I haven’t gotten to the other co- headliner, Journey.

So, back to my question: ’What more could one ask for?”

ImageAnswer: Journey. These guys can get it done. They are so high energy and have so much musical talent no one could ask for more for their entertainment dollar.

For several years now I have been unable to embrace the ‘new line up’ of the band. I guess you could say I was a ‘Steve Perry holder on-er’. I just have been unable to embrace Arnel Pineda as the lead vocalist. It wasn’t because he couldn’t sing as well as Perry because he can and did this night. Maybe it’s just because my journey (pun intended) began with Perry and substituting Pineda made it feel too much like a Journey cover band. But all that is out the window…I’d Stopped Believin’, but no more.

What I think put me over the top was the way he handled himself at the beginning of his set. Arnel Pineda came out on stage and not once but twice said ‘Hello Dallas’. After a few minutes of me and everyone else around me screaming ‘Houston’ at him, a lady directly behind me handed him a business card with the word ‘Houston’ written on it. He had obviously gotten the message and I really admired the way he handled it. He smiled, thanked the lady, apologized to the audience a couple times and then laughed at himself for the mistake. That’s all it took for me to get in line and say ‘You go Journey’, keep the spirit alive.

By the way it doesn’t hurt that Neal Schon and Ross Valory, two original members of the group, add the adhesion to keep everything together…just fine.

Together this Journey continued their legend by playing all of their classics including Separate Ways, Anyway You Want It, Stone In Love, and Lights. They closed the set perfectly with Anytime, Wheel In the Sky, Faithfully, Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’, and, yep, Don’t Stop Believin’. And I never will again!

Until next time remember there is no time to kill.