On a very warm summers evening thousands of people jam packed the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto to see Dave Mason, The Doobie Brothers and Journey. By the time the Doobie Brothers hit the stage everyone’s carefully done hair and clothing was pretty much drenched due to the humidity in the air but that didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. This is what we have come to expect in July in Canada. The Doobie Brothers started their set with “Jesus is Alright” and “Rockin Down The Highway” and by the time they hit their 5th song “World Gone Crazy” the band tried to encourage the crowd to stand up but the crowd wasn’t having any of it, not because it wasn’t rocking, but because it was too hot. The fans were dancing in their seat and clapping their hands above their heads screaming “Doobies” “Doobies”.
The Doobie Brothers have been around for as long as I can remember and now that I am seeing them for the first time I can see why. The double drum kits on stage, the horns, the keyboards and the guitars all standing out on their own but yet part of a well oil machine. There wasn’t too much interaction between the members on stage and the audience but it didn’t seem to matter, the fans sat and soaked it all in showing their appreciation every chance they got. They of course ended their set with “Long Train Runnin” which by far was the crowds favourite, not before a second close favourite “Takin It To The Streets”. I would be amiss if I didn’t mention “Black Water” in which the crowd took full advantage, singing their lungs out.
First of all let me state for the record I love Arnel you will not find a bad review here if you are looking for one. This is the 3 time I have seen them live and will continue to see them every time Journey is even somewhat close to my home town of Niagara. The 2 hour drive in the heat with no a/c was well worth it. By the time Journey hit the stage the air had cooled down just the slightest and the beer was flowing, everyone was ready for a great show. They started their set with “Separate Ways” followed by “Be Good To Yourself”. Arnel jumps around on stage and it is almost like following the bouncing ball, I am not sure where he gets his energy from but on a sweltering summer night I have to give him props for keeping up the pace. I must make mention that if you didn’t know Arnel was found by way of YouTube by Neal Schon. Neal Schon, Journey founder, lead guitarist, and only member of Journey who has remained in Journey since the beginning took hold of the stage and the fans attention when he played “O Canada” to the crowds delight. The screen in the back of the stage had the Canada flag waving proudly and a sense of pride swept through the Molson Amphitheatre. By the time Journey started “Faithfully”, written by Jonathan Cain, who also wrote most of Journeys hits, their fans had forgotten about the heat and were singing their hearts out almost over top of the PA system. I heard 90% of them crystal clear. When the first notes of “Faithfully” we’re played, I looked around the venue and the phones lit up the Molson Amphitheatre like electronic stars.
For the first time since 1989 Steve Smith rejoined Journey and entertained the fans with quite the drum solo. By the time he was finished beating the crap outta the skins the crowd cheered and some even stood up in their appreciation. Next followed Ross Valory on bass, a co-founding member of Journey for a very short bass intro and then Neal Schon once again took centre stage to show off his talents with an extended guitar intro before going into “Wheel in The Sky”. Finally the crowd rose to their feet and honestly I was surprised it didn’t happen sooner.
Arnel was on point this evening, every note he hit, he seemed to do it with ease. I am not sure how he does this with all the running around on stage he does. Arnel has been Journey’s lead singer for longest amount of time of any Journey singer. Journey finished off the night, with my favourites by far, “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin” which was a perfect ending to a hot and steamy summers night.
Once again thanks to the crew because without them there is no show.