Live - Journey, Heart & Cheap Trick @ Shoreline Amphitheater | Mountain View, CA

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Yeah, you read that headline correctly. In the biggest collective display of geriatrics on stage since the Rolling Stones, I had the pleasure in witnessing the greatest bands of our soft rock generation. And I gotta say – belting out "Open Arms" while eating Pringles with my friends in between is more or less paradise.

I initially bought tickets to the gig for my dad as a gift for Father's Day; I credit him for my introduction to all things rock'n'roll, and for instilling my love for live music. When I was a teen I wasn't allowed to go to concerts by myself, and my dad jumped at the chance to see any rock act with me when he could. After all, this is the man who used to pull out my brother and me from our cozy beds to stand in line at Ticketmaster on Sundays when they still did first-come, first-serve hard tickets.

After my circle of friends also figured out I was going to see Heart play "Barracuda" live and we could all air guitar together, the deal was done and we decided it would be party central. After settling into the lawn area on fleece blankets, all seven of us munched on fruit snacks and beef jerky while opener Cheap Trick turned out "Surrender."

"How much do you think it would have been if we saw these dudes at the State Fair?" I asked my friend Stuart as the sun started to set. He gave me a look.

Shortly after, Heart took the stage, and after all this time, lead singer Ann Wilson still has the chops to bitchslap Amy Winehouse any day. Sister Nancy and co joined in with Ann to nail "Never", "Alone", Crazy On You", and immaculate versions of The Who's "Love Reign O'er Me" and Led Zeppelin's "Going To California". Ann Wilson's vocals sold Heart's set more than anything else; deep and yet still soft, her voice rumbled across the ampitheatre to even where we were at, and I got goosebumps by the sheer strength in her projection power. Damn son.

Then, it was Journey. Honestly, what do you say about a band who delivered such a classic like "Wheel In The Sky"? Yet I was a little nervous about the performance, as was Papa. Power ballads are what these guys are, but they've gone under so much change in band lineup in the past 20 years like it was going out of style. And then "Lights" came on, and I was so blissfully content: new singer Arnel Pineda not only picks up where Steve Perry left, but I would even argue, moves the band toward solidifying legend status for the next generation. It's scary how much he sounds like Perry, true; at times we wondered whether or not it was a huge karaoke session for Pineda, who seemed to throw the idea of rock star out of the window in favor of bouncing around the stage like an excited teenager. But dude has only been with the band for a little over a year and a half (after being found on YouTube, no less – YouTube!), and in that time has managed to record new album Revelations, tour a good part of the planet, and bring home a new icon for his home country of the Philippines (several times Pineda would shout "Pinoy!" into the audience at every awkward transitions, but it was well-received). Not a shabby job done for someone who used to front a covers band.

While lots of the show was new material, it was still gems like "Don't Stop Believing" and a beautiful rendition of "Faithfully" that pleased the sold-out audience; it's kinda funny to sing how many Journey lyrics you actually know. And to also be sitting next to someone nearly wholly responsible for my music tastes, and seeing him rock out too – it was invaluable. Thanks, Daddy. I love you.

"Don't Stop Believing" Live @ Shoreline

"Faithfully" Live @ Shoreline (from a bit closer perspective)


Live - Journey, Heart & Cheap Trick @ Shoreline Amphitheater | Mountain View, CA