The road trip from the weekend house to Jim Thorpe, PA wasn't too bad at all. Some smaller roads, but a few of them were roads we had traveled on before. The new car was a joy to drive, especially on the return trip when the insanely great headlights lit the way. The 70 mile trip took about an hour and twenty minutes. Not bad at all.
Opening act was The Pat Travers Band. One of the first things Pat said Sunday night, was that they were gonna kick our asses. Well, they sho 'nuf did. You want loud and hard rock & roll...you got it. A solid set fronted by a man who has paid his dues and still has the nerve to apparently love what he's doing.
"Boom Boom...Out Go The Lights", which had a lot of crowd participation and "Snortin' Whiskey." After a terrific set, Pat & the boys had a fine Meet & Greet session with the assembled troops at Penn's Peak. Nice touch.
Opening the show with "Can't Give It Up," a nice surprise off the Too Hot To Sleep album. Second song in...must be time to throw in one of the hits: "Broken Promises," one of those songs which never fails to deliver the goods. Jamison and lead guitarist Frankie Sullivan both seemed relaxed...easily falling into a familiar rhythm, the payoff of doing years of live shows together. "High on You" ...another crowd favorite was up next, followed by three songs which were not recorded by Jamison, but by original lead singer Dave Bickler. "Poor Man's Son," "Take You On A Saturday," and a gem version of "Summer Nights."... all from the 1981 album Premonition.
Jumping back into a Jamison era song, "Desperate Dreams" off Too Hot To Sleep, is a lyrically haunting song from the Peterik-Sullivan catalog.
"Two souls drawn to the fire in desperate dreams
Two hearts lost to desire's desperate schemes
One girl lost in a reverie
Lost love found in a memory
Those nights live on forever
Two fools lost in a desperate dream"
The next song was a tasty treat to be sure. 38 Special had a #1 hit with "Rockin' Into The Night." Jim Peterik (former Survivor member and Sullivan's long-time writing partner) and Frankie Sullivan were two of the writers of that song. The crowd was pretty pumped up by this time, so this rocker was just throwing "a little gasoline on the fire."
The Search is Over," "I Can't Hold Back," and "Burning Heart"...how can you argue with the set choices there.
Another oldie from the pre-Jamison days "Somewhere in America" gave way to the finale, no surprise there... "Eye of the Tiger." As the song approaches its 30th anniversary, it has become more than an anthem...for many people it has become their mission statement,
Drums: Marc Droubay has been with the band, well almost forever. Never missing a beat, his talent lies in complimenting the rest of the band and not overpowering it. As strong as ever.
Bass: Billy Ozzello is not a wallflower type bassist. A wild man with long flowing hair, his get-in-your face bass provided a huge dose of solid work and a lot of energy.
Keyboards/Guitar: Walter Tolentino is one nice surprise. Multi-talents and a great stage presence, boy it sure seemed like he had fun.
Lead Guitar: Frankie Sullivan works hard, real hard. Watching just how hard he worked got me a little exhausted to tell you the truth. And all the hard work pays off. He's damn good. Something which might go unnoticed is just how well his voice backs up Jamison's. He fills in all the right places, creating a perfect blend.
Lead Vocals: Jimi Jamison, well that's the voice now isn't it? He is so acutely aware of his vocal abilities, it's scary. Still a master of the stage, throw in the still-strong vocals and you have one of the best singers to ever front a rock band.
The evening was definitely worth the road trip. A night to meet up with friends who like us, drove in from some distance and spent the night enjoying two old-school rock bands still ready, willing and able to "kick our asses."
...and that's how you do it son.