WMGK has teamed up with the Connecticut School of Broadcasting (CSB) to give some of their standout students the chance to write and record concert reviews for some concerts coming to the Susquehanna Bank Center this summer. CSB’s Nate Rosborough reviewed the Journey/Steve Miller Band/Tower of Power Show on 6/22.
Check out his written and audio review….
A San Francisco Treat in Camden, NJ
On the night of June 22, 2014, the Susquehanna Bank Center was transformed into the famous Fillmore Auditorium, as 3 of the Bay Area’s biggest artists rocked a packed house by the river in Camden, NJ. Journey and Steve Miller Band, with special guest Tower of Power, kicked off the Summer Concert Series with a celebration of sounds that only few acts can follow.
Rain clouds were spoiling the party a bit, as Tower of Power opened up the show. The gray clouds soon gave way to clear, blue skies, as lead singer Ray Greene, backed by a really, really ridiculously good sounding horn section, let the crowd know that they came to play. During their half hour set, they played the hits like “Don’t Change Horses (In The Middle of a Stream)” “Soul Vaccination” “This Time It’s Real” & “So Very Hard To Go”, each time showcasing their soulful, funky sound. A series of saxophone, trumpet, and organ solos rang throughout, and, by the time they asked “THE ETERNAL QUESTION” (WHAT IS HIP?!), they had several of us dancing like we were on Soul Train, circa 1973. A wonderful opening performance set the tone for what was to be a marvelous evening.
A twenty-minute intermission allowed the rest of the crowd to get to their seats. If they were on the lawn, they staked out the best possible position with blankets and chairs to get a glimpse of Steve Miller Band. It was a diverse audience with people of all ages there to hear songs that have carried them throughout their lives. A soundtrack of hits from the last 40 years began in the jungle of love, and went from Phoenix, AZ all the way to Tacoma. As Steve Miller Band traveled their musical catalogue, the crowd responded in kind, dancing and singing through the entire hour and fifteen minute performance. A middle-aged blonde woman seemed to be directing the crowd during “Dance Dance Dance”, while a mother and her teenage daughter in front of us belted out “Serenade” & “The Stake”. The Battleship New Jersey was the perfect backdrop as Steve dedicated “Living in the USA” to the men & women of our Armed Forces. Steve allowed the band to grab a break with a solo, acoustic performance including “Gangster of Love” & “True Fine Love”. An anticipation built as the band returned for the finale, with a huge ovation for the first chords of “The Joker”, as if they had been waiting for this moment the whole time. “Swingtown” “Rock’n Me” & “Jetairliner” finished out the set, or so we thought. An encore of “Fly Like an Eagle” was a fitting end, and left the entire crowd soaring, waiting for the headliner, Journey.
Another twenty minutes was all it took before Journey was being good to us. Jonathon Cain’s keyboard opening “Separate Ways” sent the crowd into a roar that would carry the entire set. Arnel Pineda’s vocals were uplifting, and his energy was incredible, with him running to each side of the stage and engaging the crowd on multiple songs. Ross Valory supplied backup vocals and a bass line that wouldn’t quit. Deen Castronovo was pounding the drums all night, even picking up lead vocals for “Mother, Father”. Neal Schon ripped a few ear-bursting solos, including an awesome rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”. An overwhelming feeling of patriotism filled the air as one of the most iconic American rock bands commanded the stage. A beautiful piano solo by Cain was a harmony montage that included “When You Love a Woman” & “Who’s Crying Now” that transitioned magically to “Open Arms”. The songs in the show kept on turnin’, as the hour and a half, crowd-strong karaoke session built to a crescendo. Journey’s postcard “Faithfully” had arms, lighters & cell phone screens in the air swaying gently. After a huge ovation, “Don’t Stop Believing” burst through the speakers, and ignited the audience to its loudest roar of the night. As to be expected, everyone in the building was united in this moment, with Journey supplying the ultimate energy source. For an encore, they sent us out of there in a lovin’, touchin’, squeezin’ mood. It was as if no one wanted the party to end.
Of course it had to, and we all strolled to our cars, still floating from the musical brilliance just heard. Music brings people together like few things can in this world. These classic & iconic tunes blending the lines of young and old. We were lost in the moment, and this San Francisco trio delivered an All-American rock show in the backyard of freedom. It doesn’t get much better than that.
By: Nate Rosborough