Thursday, July 17, 2014

Another look at the 1994 Steve Perry FTLOSM Beacon Theatre Concert

Screencap from the 1994 concert
Before Steve Perry made his set of recent appearances with the Eels to show he's still got a lot of vocal talent left to share in live performance (here, here, here), the last look look at his live chops was during the 1994 For The Love of Strange Medicine (FTLOSM) tour. I decided to take another look at it. [He would later rejoin Journey for Trial By Fire (1996), but did not tour behind the studio album (you die hard fans probably already know that whole story).]

FTLOSM just came out at the wrong time; grunge was in. Listening to it today it has aged well; special props to the then baby-faced guitarist Lincoln Brewster, he's fantastic here; he's currently a popular contemporary Christian music artist.

The songs are all downtuned significantly here for SP in 1994. Even with a reduced vocal range because of time (and all that wear on his instrument from overtouring), what remains is his styling, soul, astounding sense of melody and lyrical interpretative skills.

This full concert vid at the Beacon Theatre in NYC was obviously shot bootleg. SP/Journey fans have to thank the boot videographer, TheNYBG1 for capturing this; it was shot before small camcorders, point and shoot cameras or cell phone vid. He said this in the YouTube comments:
"I'm the filmer of this video. Obviously back then, there were no cell phones doing video. You either had a $1,000+ video camera or you had no video. By far most of the concerts I filmed in the late 80's and 90's, the only video to come out of a show was what I filmed. That being said, to try and give people a feel for what it was like to be there filming it, the Beacon Theater 2nd balcony in the 1st row where I filmed quite a few shows from, as you can see, it's quite a steep angle down to the stage.

Sitting back in the seat, I was filming above a ledge, but below a bar that was about a foot above it. Plus, add in security coming to seat people in the only 9 seats across rows (like the camera duck about a minute in due to that). Regardless of anyone's opinion of this video, the fact is that there wouldn't be any video of this show to watch if I didn't videotape this. I left my mark. :-)"

The set list:
1) Only The Young
2) Girl Can't Help It
3) Oh Sherrie
4) Lights
5) Foolish Heart
6) You Better Wait
7) Someone's There
8) Missing You
9) Listen To Your Heart
10) I'll Be Alright Without You
11) Wheel In The Sky
12) Dixie Highway
13) Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'
14) Any Way You Want It
15) Separate Ways
16) Don't Stop Believin'
17) Faithfully

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Has it really been this many birthdays (51)? Yup.

Wow! Who knew that turning 51 would be so popular? People blew up my Facebook wall today, sharing a lotta love. Thank you all for taking the time to stop by. I am overwhelmed and deeply grateful -- what an outpouring of well-wishes from friends old and new, family, readers, folks on the other side of the political aisle... (I guess you haven't forgotten the old -- and sleepy -- blogmistress yet).

There are still a couple of hours left on the birthday clock as of this post, it looks like today will easily top 500 individual wall greetings, and 275+ "Likes" and comments are on my official birthday Wall post. Y'all are insane! xo

Pam Spaulding is sex-ay (hey now - quit the chuckling and LMFAOs... ;)

My days as a political blogger are now in the past, but I am being honored this year by the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance for my body of work on Pam's House Blend (2004-2013) advocating for equality for all.

I will deliver a keynote and receive its prestigious Vicki Award at Woodhull's Sexual Freedom Summit 2014. The conference is August 14-17, 2014 at the Alexandria Hilton Mark Center. #SFS14

It's a rare public appearance for me these days, so if you want to attend to see your favorite blogmistress of the past here's the 411:


From the site:

What is Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit?

The one conference focused on sexual freedom as a fundamental human right in the US. Now in its 5th year, and with four days of institutes, workshops, plenaries, and social events. The focus of the Summit is the goal of the sexual freedom movement – global recognition of our fundamental human right to sexual freedom.

What do you mean by Sexual Freedom?

Sexual freedom means a lot of things to people. We understand it to mean the fundamental human right of all individuals to develop and express their unique sexuality; to be personally autonomous with regard to bodily integrity and expression of body mind and spirit; and to enjoy sexual dignity, privacy and consensual sexual expression without societal or governmental interference, coercion or stigmatization.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Celebrating our 10th anniversary - my how the state of marriage equality has changed since 2004.

Kate and I married 10 years ago in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada in 2004. It was a big deal back then, as there were not many places Americans could marry. It was legal in Massachusetts, but you had to be residents of the state then.

We did a simple dinner out to celebrate; we plan to go to Maine next week to relax and really celebrate with good friends. No big blowout.

This is how our 10th anniversary post looked on Facebook this week (224 likes):

I thanked people for the well-wishes the next day, and more wonderful comments and Likes came in:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Remembering the organic sound of Journey - 1978 King Biscuit Flower Hour

Every Journey junkie knows this pair of tunes - Feeling That Way and Anytime - classics produced by Roy Thomas Baker on Infinity (1978). When it was released, back in those AOR days, they were played back to back. One or both are usually played on set lists today.

What some may not know is that Journey did several songs from the album, including Feeling That Way and Anytime, on a live-in-studio, audience-free jam on the 1978 King Biscuit Flower Hour -- aka Super Jam II. It was recorded at Automatt Studio in San Francisco. The band collaborated with Tower of Power, the Doobie Brothers' Tom Johnston, and two members of the group Stoneground, Annie Sampson and Jo Baker.

This is a powerhouse show that proves Journey was capable of excelling in a diverse range of genres; the R&B roots are sorely missed today, IMHO.

A great write-up of the entire program is at ConcertVault. What makes this worth a listen is the genuinely organic sound of Journey back then -- unvarnished production, pure musicianship, stellar vocals and harmonies -- no pre-recorded backing vocals -- it's all live. It was edited and readied for broadcast, but due to legal issues it never aired. But today you can find all of the performances from the program on YouTube, which you can listen to here. It's amazing.

A snippet from the ConcertVault write up:
"Despite excellent results, legal entanglements prevented these remarkable SuperJam 2 sessions from being scheduled for broadcast, and with the exception of a cover of "Let the Good Times Roll," none have seen official release. Bootleg copies of the sessions did eventually surface, and they became treasured items among Journey collectors, often accompanied with rumors that the masters had been either lost or destroyed. Now, for the first time ever, the complete "Superjam 2" KBFH sessions are presented here in superb quality. 
...Bookended by two pairs of classic Journey songs when they were just breaking big and featuring various configurations, performing choice cover songs in between, these recordings represent a peak moment in San Francisco's musical history. These recordings also prove that Journey had not only become masters of commercially successful rock music, but was a group equally adept at many styles of music, including R&B and blues, with compelling examples of both included here. 
The sessions begin with a pair of classic rock songs from Journey's breakthrough Infinity album, "Feeling That Way" and "Anytime." The former is a prime example of what Steve Perry brought to the table, featuring a penetrating lead vocal that raises the superb instrumental work of this band to another level. The latter, which features Rolie singing lead, is a solid rocker that also presents Journey in a most positive light. Both of these numbers feature soaring lead guitar work from Schon, but it is keyboardist Rolie's piano work that saves all of the recordings presented here from sounding dated. Nothing more clearly dates late 1970s/early 1980s rock music more than the sound of synthesized keyboards and Rolie wisely avoids using them on these sessions. A talented and tasteful pianist, Rolie's instrumental contributions strongly contribute to the organic feel that make these sessions compelling even decades later."

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tribute band Journey Revisited on the road, paying homage to the classic sound

Just a fun update on my favorite tribute band, Journey Revisited (see my earlier post). They may not have the posh budget or the gear of the mega-selling band they pay homage to, but fans turned out (this time about 6,000) at its gig in Redwood City, CA at the Music on the Square event to hear the classic sounds of the Perry era.

Journey Revisited's lead singer, Jeff Salado. Photo: Jim Branch.

Journey Revisited is (L-R): Kevin Jachetta - Keyboards/Vocals, Michael Gonzales - Bass Guitar/Vocals,  Jeff Salado - Lead Singer, Val Popovic - Guitar/Vocals, Dave Hawkes - Drums.

Sunday was the Monterey Beer Festival, Monterey, CA (below). More in the slideshow.

Photo courtesy of Journey Revisited fan group JR NATION member Tami Baloy.


Photo credit: Reese Entertainment where noted on Picasa.



On Twitter: (@JRNYrevisited)

On Facebook: | Listen to cuts on Facebook



Journey Revisited on the web:

Friday, June 13, 2014

Third time's the charm: Steve Perry hits the stage again in L.A.

What can you say? A pleasure to the ears once again. My first reaction:
Stephen Hazan Arnoff: @hazanarnoff - #StevePerry sings again...What's it all mean?

Me: Melting and weak knees here is what it means.
How it looked on Twitter...

The setlist:
It's a Motherf*cker
Only Sixteen (Sam Cooke cover)
Open Arms
Lovin', Touchin', Squeezing.

As I said on Facebook when the video surfaced: "Excuse me. Momentary break for weak knees and swooning. From Wednesday night in LA..."

Only Sixteen was jaw-droppingly good this time around. Steve Perry had so much more power and command of his reinvigorated gift -- his instrument -- it was all there. You could hear a pin drop at times in the Orpheum theatre. Perry's trademark vibrato and judicious use of melisma -- the whoa-oh-whoa-whoas that send chills up and down your spine -- resonated throughout the room. I confess, I was tearing up as I heard it. Joyful tears at missing that tone, that presentation. He's back; the rusty pipes are clearing up at lightning speed and he now has the self-confidence to let us see him getting back up to speed. That in itself is a victory. So many of us don't mind watching him bloom again, we've all waited for so long.

And after some touching and amusing storytelling, he launched into Lights and Lovin' Touchin, Squeezing...downtuned a couple of keys, but who cares. Swoon again...

For fantastic photos of the event, check out Leslie Kalohi's Flickr Photostream. 

He seems ready to come out of that shell...officially. He told The Hollywood Reporter, in a piece ("Journey's Steve Perry Joins Eels Onstage at Orpheum: 'The 20-Year Hermit Thing is Overrated'"):

Dancing like a man at least 20 years younger than his 65 years, Perry rocked out on "Lights (When the Lights Go Down in the City)," nimbly leaping over the microphone cords perilously snaked around the stage, turning his back on the audience to groove with Eels drummer Knuckles (Derek Brown), then facing the audience to hit the high trills flawlessly, yet with a new rasp in his voice sounding just a bit like E himself.

"The 'cit-ee' is L.A.!" shouted E.

"Here's another," said Perry. "I was 18, working as an assistant engineer in a music studio... I'm out of breath! I guess I haven't done this enough lately to get in shape.

..."It's been so goddamn long," said Perry to the audience. "I gotta thank the Eels for inviting me out here -- the best band that any singer could want. I met E because of a friend of mine, Patty [Jenkins, director of Monster]. She burnt me a CD of Daisies of the Galaxy, and I told Patty, 'Someday I want to sing that song.'" Then Perry and Eels performed the Eels tune, "It's a Motherf---er."

..."Listen, I've done the 20-year hermit thing, and it's overrated," said Perry. "Why now? It's a long story, but it has to do with a lot of changes in my life, including losing my girlfriend a year ago, and her wish to hear me sing again." 

As I shared with my friend Jeff Salado, lead singer of the fantastic tribute band Journey Revisited, I can be tough as nails in other areas, but I'll easily cop to being weak-in-the-knees, schoolgirl crushing on this stuff (it's why my political blog readers often made light of my Journey obsession).

But I wasn't the only one crushing on The Voice. Former Journey lead singer Jeff Scott Soto hit the nail on the head in a Facebook post (and he faved my Tweet when I pointed folks to it):
Ok, I’ve sat back and watch the cheers (and jeers), the big hype, the fatuous rumors and lastly, the criticisms of what once was and/or isn’t anymore so now I’ll chime in…as I do! 
Being a member of the legendary Journey for all of 11 months, I have my own thoughts about how I feel about this monumentally influential band today…but how I still feel about the phenomenon that is Steve Perry!

Mr Perry has resurfaced recently performing with The Eels, and I will admit, regardless of all the hoopla made out there, I personally just enjoyed hearing THAT voice again…in any capacity!

The words ‘aged, husky, raspy’, even ‘too rested’ have been thrown out there but to me personally, that ‘tone’ is still there, the one and only thumb, or rather, voiceprint, still exists and I couldn’t be more excited to hear it again!

A few weeks after the 1st earshot of Steve’s voice rang out, quite possibly a reality check in that YouTube is the end all be all in one’s humble beginnings or belated comebacks, and he’s seemed to spring back even more into his ol’ form. Sure, the Journey tunes he’s doing are a key or 2 lower give or take, but JESUS CHRIST, that tone, it’s there, it’s STEVE F-ING PERRY! If you don't believe me, here's what I am talking about from LA, I believe just last night.

So as I shake off the cobwebs of my own memories with this band that ended 7 years ago, I revel in the (hopeful) return of this monolith who was one of the reasons I could see R&B & Rock be plausible, the man who influenced me in so many ways and now after a 20 year absence, continues to do so…thank you Steve Perry!

UPDATE: Martha Quinn (@marthaquinn) agrees with my weak-kneed review!

UPDATE 2: Former Journey frontman Steve Augeri beautifully weighs in (in an oh-so-NY way, lol):
Today I experienced what I or any singer or songwriter dreams of and aspires to but seldom achieves. That is to be moved to tears, tears... by a singer and his or her song. The singer, Steve Perry, and the song penned by The Eels, "It's a Mother Fucker".

I am / was apprehensive of writing and expressing myself because there will be those who will perceive this to be either a kissing of the "tuckus" or… a show of disrespect to the gentleman who so successfully and beautifully followed us both, Arnel. They are neither, but a tribute to, and an acknowledgement of, an achievement that so many thought no longer obtainable.
This should be a lesson and an inspiration to us all. It certainly is to me.

Welcome home Mr. Perry.

Steve Augeri

And there was more...after the jump.