Journey & Santana; April 13, 2016; Madison Square Garden
Live Tweeted with pictures and video: @jaxxshack
I’ve been extremely fortunate over the last couple of years to be able to attend hundreds of live shows – including some of the biggest names in rock history. Some were outstanding, some were horrible. And then there were Journey and Santana.
Santana opened the show at 7pm on-the-dot. (On behalf of venue employees everywhere, thanks guys). The first half of their set was pretty unremarkable. Tons of jamming, but not much substance – nothing I haven’t heard before from bands with a quarter of the tenure of Santana. Carlos Santana’s presence was seriously lacking, especially for a guitarist so celebrated.
Once they got into Black Magic Woman, Oye Como Va, and Maria Maria, the crowd responded to the band for the first time since Carlos dejectedly mentioned the lack of marijuana smell at the top of the show. They weren’t bad. They just weren’t special.
I, like the rest of the world, LOVE Journey. When this show popped up I immediately jumped at the chance to attend. They opened with Separate Ways, and sounded awesome. Thennn, I’m not sure what happened. After an extremely rough segway into Be Good To Yourself, I could’ve closed my eyes and sworn I was in a karaoke bar. Arnel Pineda does a great Steve Perry imitation on the mega hits, but his voice does not cut it elsewhere.
They recovered fairly well with Open Arms, only to fall back into amateur status afterward (100% due to the lacking vocals). However, I was absolutely enamored with Jonathan Cain’s keyboard solo. This was the standout moment of the night, in my opinion, and of course I was too engrossed to record it.
The band then hit you with one after another: Wheel in the Sky (not the encore), Faithfully (not the encore), Don’t Stop Believin’ (NOT the encore?!), and Any Way You Want It (not the encore). Encore: Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’…..
From start to finish the show was okay. It definitely wasn’t the worst (looking at you, Ace Frehly), but I definitely wouldn’t watch it again if I had a choice. 5/10.