And once again the slogan is: Melodic Rock is dead, - long live Melodic Rock. Halleluja!! And well, how good that there is a Germany, where all those half forgotten bands  and thought - to - be - dead bands still have a home. Recently an american journalist said: it is truly surprising, that over here in Germany there are bands touring, which are meant to be already dead in the US. Well, how shall we call that? Heaven on Earth, where honey flows out of the water pipe. I don't know. But it's a fact, that music biz is very down to the bottom right now. So artists are touring wherever they get a possibillity, no matter how much or less money they get for it. 
Anyway, all those guys we've got here in this review, are not that unknown. And they all have travelled to Europe from the States, where they are still pretty well known. And that package touring which is already a common thing in America, is now coming over to here. Because it is indeed this receipy only, which works and pulls still a certain crowd - in our case - these so called Melodic Rock Fans. Whereby I hate this expression - Melodic Rock. In the USA it's simply called AOR (Adult Oriented Rock or Mainstream) sometimes softer, sometimes heavier. In each case it's been around over there already, that Germany is still the place to be. And we truly get to feel this, as we get drowned in concerts of all kind, and we have the choice.
However, it's also all those AOR Rockers, who seem to start a second spring now with a chance in Europe. Well not sooo much for Foreigner, who, with only one orginal member left, are coming here every year now  for quite a while. And they are fit indeed. Rocklegend Kansas are also one of those returning on a more or less regular base. But Journey for instance hadn't been here for many years and Nightranger for almost half an eternity. But now, both with a new album in the back, want to conquer the world again and the rest of the universe. Night Ranger with still 3 orginal members and within Journey the most important dot on the i is missing (we get to that a little later). But never mind, we gonna start this thing here now and see whether this package did have the power to convince everybody about -Melodic Rock ain't dead yet, just like right hiere in Augsburg tonight.


Night Ranger  1981


Kansas   197?


1977


Journey 1980

However, the current Rock The Nation Tour is split in several cathegories. There are these outdoor festivals,feat more bands, than the in door events. We've got here such an in door show feat. Night Ranger, Kansas, Foreigner and Journey. Thanks to our local radiostation Rockantenne, this thing gets promoted like mad including give-away tickets and meet&greet competitions. In the end there are aprox. 3.000 people and Melodic Rock lovers here at the Schwabenhalle in Augsburg to celebrate the rising up again - of this musicial style including it's flagship Journey. Show Time is set very early with 7 p.m.. And the result is, that half of the audiance do miss out on Night Ranger. I myself miss only the first 3 or 4 songs due to a heavy thunderstorm catching me on the freeway on my way from Munich to Augsburg. So unfortunately the first 3 tracks are gonne where official photographing is usually allowed. (thanks to my collegue Manfred for these pics here also the images of Kansas) ...

As I mentioned before for Night Ranger this is the first visit to Germany for 26 years. 
 


And at the very first show of this trip in Hannover - after only 3 minutes singer/guitarist Jack Blades had kissed the stage floor pretty unluckily  and hurt himself badly. After that accident he had to perform the next 2 shows seated. Here in Augsburg things seem to be better again. Because as he tells me later on within our smalltalk, he hates nothing more, than not beeing able to move around up there. Yeah well, I don't know about that, because what he right now does on stage doesn't seem to me like non moving. And I ask myself what does it look like, when he really moves and is in action...? Probably the location will be teared down or something like that. But seriously, that here right now is, what I think, of an energetic live show and nothing else. - 
As I said before, Night Ranger have a new album out named 'Somewhere In California'. And this one I can only advise you, to have a listen to. It's a great record and just as powerful, as Jack Blades acts at this very moment right now up there. 

Also guitairst Brad Gillis seems still very fit after all those years, same to drummer Kelly Keagy. Second guitarist is Joel Joekstra, who is in the band since 2008 and Eric Levy has just joined the group. 
Well, Night Ranger are great and their smash songs like  ‚Don’t Tell Me You Love Me’, ‚Growing Up In California’ from the new CD, and their biggest hit 'Sister Christian' (sung by drummer Kelly Keagan)  and last but not least 'You Can Always Rock In America' go well down on the audiance. And don't forget most of these songs are olden than 20 years and stills sound fresh and right. 

Setliste
Touch Of Madness
Sing Me Away
Growing Up In California
When You Close Your Eyes
Don’t Tell Me You Love Me
Sister Christian
You Can Still Rock In America

And I get transfered back to 1985, where I've seen Night Ranger for the first time at the Out of The Green festival in Nuremberg live on Stage. The only critics I've got tonight is: it's miles too short with just about 40 minutes. And I myself caught only half an hour. On the other hand better this than nothing at all.
So let's wait and see, whether it takes another quarter of a century for the next visit of Night Ranger. Jack Blades has promised (see interview) that the band insists to come back for a Clubtour next years. Though I fear, the audiance will be a bit smaller than now. But it's their own fault by neclecting us for so many years... so they gotta start from down there again.  

http://www.nightranger.com/

Next is my date with Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain for a few statement what's up to his band.
Behind the backstage door a huge big bodyguard is taking care, that noone without permission enters the dressing room area. And thanks to these pretty chaotic organized meet & greets we go on this Gibson bus  to have a few minutes of peace. Listen to our conversation below.
At least listen to my very last question and the answer, which says, whether the band could ever imagine to have Steve Perry back in the saddle. The answer has been: he just has to come and go up there on stage and sing - and everything is fine again... Well that says more than 1000 words, doesn' t it?!


(click on photo - Streaming Audiofile f. WMP -
no downloading time - starts with short musical.Intro) 

Which again means, that Journey might have realized, that only a reunion with Steve Perry could bring them really on the top again. The only problem is, Steve doesn't want to right now for the moment. And if so - one day, he will probaby think about, not to rather make another soloalbum instead, as Perry has also been very successful as a soloartist. 

After that, I got another date with Jack Blades, who is telling me about his bad luck, but fortunately doesn't see this as a bad omen or so for this first european trip in 26 years. Well and of course he can't remember our first interview back then, but he does what's up to this tour in 85. 
He truly has stayed young at heart - respect. And as a musician he's a real workaholic, who is pretty restless. Next to Night Ranger he will release a new solo album in the fall. And maybe one day we get to hear news from the Damn Yankees again... 
Also this small talk can be checked out by clicking on the pic below. 


(click on photo - Streaming Audiofile f. WMP -
no downloading time - starts with short musical.Intro) 

During all this time, Kansas have played their show, and I have not heard a single tune of it. Sorry my friends, when I can't tell you anything about them, exept providing their setlist, a clip, I found on You Tube and a photo from my photographer's collegue, who already helped me witht he Night Ranger images.

Setliste Kansas
Magnum Opus
Point Of Know Return
Hold On
Dust In The Wind
Miracles Out Of Nowhere
Portrait (He Knew)
Fight Fire With Fire
Cary On My Wayward Son


(c)


http://www.kansasband.com/

The Meet & Greets  with Journey are still ongoing when I'm back from the bus into the venue. 


(Alex & Friends from Munich with  Journey)



(Photo collegue Manfred witht he band)

Back into the venue  having a quick shake hands with Mick Jones of Foreigner, who is, by the way the only european in the whole band trek, and is waiting for his stage time...
And here we got - Foreigner live on Stage as every year....


I've seen this band last time at the Tollwood Festival in summer 2009. And checking the setlist, I remember Lou Gramm's comment within our last talk in January 2010 at the Rock Meets Classic tour, which was: Mick Jones always takes the same setliste, even after 20 years... Well that's only partly true. The first five Foreigner classics are the same, that's right, but then there are slight changes since last time. However it's a fact, that Foreigner 2011 are a very energetic liveband. And that's mainly due to singer Kelly Hansen and bassist Jeff Pilson. Only original member Mick Jones a more calm to earth, but meanwhile 67 years of age, I guess, he's allowed to. At least Mr.Jones trys hard to put his youthful spirit into the right limelight. 

Let's put it that way... it's those evergreens still getting down well at the audiance, such as ‚Urgent’, ‚Hot Blooded’, ‚Cold As Ice’ or the encore ‚Jukebox Hero’. And singer Hansen is very good friend with the audiance, seeking them all the time. So he jumps down from stage at one point to shake hands with everybody in the front row...And the fans obviously like it... 


Setliste
Double Vision
Head Games
Cold As Ice
Waiting For A Girl Like You
Can’t Slow Down
That Was Yesterday
Starrider
Feels Like The First Time
Urgent
I Want To Know What Love Is
Hot Blooded
Juke Box Hero

Though I have the feeling Foreigner are using tons of samples within their set - however....

Apart from that, I can only repeat myself  what I have already said in former reviews: Foreigner 2011 are a great and entertaining live band. But with those classic Foreigner back then it got not much in common, just the music itselves. But only people like me, who have this comparison, can say so... for everybody else, this has just been great.
http://www.foreigneronline.com/


And there we are at the last chapter of tonight's epos. The Melodic Rock legend, the flagship of this musicial style is up there - Journey. 


Eieiei it's getting difficult now for me, as I confess, I'm a huge Steve Perry fan. But I try to be neutral anyway. This story is very old now of what has happened and all these following singers etc etc. But now it is said, they have found the ultimate solution - Arnenel Pineda. Unfortunately I don't know, in how far he is received by american audiances. Here in Europe Journey are celebrating their second spring since last year, playing mainly big festivals and like here in packages. And now they are back again with a vengeance to convince us, that Melodic Rock ain't dead yet. 
Sorry my friends, But this doesn't work that way. First of all, this here doesn't come across the right way. Secon my advice: close your eyes and just listen, because the silhouette of this new boy just doesn't fit inbetween the other's from the visual aspect. Apart from that, it's the famous sparkle not jumping across. Neal Schon does everything  to get himself in the right limelight. He and bassist Ross Valery are the only members who are in the group since the beginning in 1973. Jonathan Cain came in 1980 and does actually belong to the classic line up. On drums - Dean Castronovo since 1998, and the name is pretty known as well in musician's circles.


(
c)

There are only 2 songs from the new album 'Eclypse' on the seltist, the rest is a greatest hits menue. And that again is a very rich one. Pineda's voice does indeed sound very similar to Steve Perry one's, but there are still worlds apart between them. But whoever doesn't know the band from back then, doesn't know that anyway. 

Setliste
Seperate Ways (World's Apart)
Ask The Lonely
City Of Hope
Guitar Solo
Stone In Love
Keep On Running
Edge Of The Moment
Lights
Wheel In The Sky
Piano Solo
Open Arms
Escape
Faithfully
Be Good To Yourself
Don't Stop Believin
Anyway You Want it


In the end, I've got to say, Journey 2011 do make a solid Job, but the sparkle from the past is definately vanished. 

And they are no Superstars anymore. –But there is still the possibility to get right back up to the top. Because there is only one little thing missing to this. And that one is named   Steve Perry – where are you?!!!!!

http://www.journeymusic.com/

During the last encore I do leave not to get into the crowd at the parking slots.
Well and I have to say, this evening has been definately well worth an experience. From many people, including myself, the real headliner of tonight were Foreigner. But for me personally the secret winners of this evening were Night Ranger without any doubts.
I'd be very happy, if Jack Blades, as he told me earlier, would come back To Europe next year on a club tour. The question is only: who ever does still know this band after so many years? Well, let's wait and see - I'm sure there is a future no matter what.... .