Journey, the Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason
Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
June 27, 2016
Journey was formed in San Francisco in 1973 by former members of Santana (Neal Schon on lead guitar and Gregg Rolie on keyboards and lead vocals) and Frumious Bandersnatch (bassist Ross Valory and rhythm guitarist George Tickner). Prairie Prince of The Tubes served as the original drummer. When Prince left to rejoin the Tubes he was replaced by Aynsley Dunbar. Soon the band was signed to Columbia Records and in 1975 released its eponymously titled first album. Over the years the band has gone through several musical phases as well as several lineups. Journey achieved its greatest success between 1978 and 1998 when Steve Perry held the position of lead vocalist. The band, during this time released a number of his singles including and "Don't Stop Believin,'" and "Open Arms." Its album releases which included Escape
(Columbia, 1981), Frontiers
(Columbia, 1983) and Raised on Radio
(Columbia, 1986) soared to the top of the Billboard charts. In 1996, Journey released Trial By Fire
(Columbia). The album peaked at #3 on the Billboard Charts and was the last to feature the classic lineup. Since that time, there have been a few personnel changes but none more prominent than that of the lead singer. Since Perry's departure Steve Augeri, Jeff Scott Soto and Arnel Pineda have all held down the title of lead vocalist of Journey. Journey's current lineup consists of Schon on guitar, Valory on bass, Jonathan Cain on keys and guitar, drummer Steve Smith and Pineda on vocals.
The Doobie Brothers evolved from a short-lived California band called Pud. In 1969, after Pud disbanded, guitarist/vocalist Tom Johnston began jamming with guitarist Patrick Simmons. The two guitarist decided to form their own group and named it the Doobie Brothers (after the slang term for a joint). The new band signed with Warner Brothers Records and released its eponymously titled debut album in 1971. Over the course of the past 45 years the group has featured a staggering number of official members and an even larger number of unofficial members. The Doobies have consistently delivered a musical gumbo that mixes rock, pop, country, funk, jazz, gospel, blues, R&B and swamp-pop boogie-woogie. The Doobie Brothers have sold well over 40 million albums worldwide, won numerous Grammy Awards
, have released numerous studio, live and "Best Of" albums. The Doobie Brothers are currently comprised of founding members Simmons and Johnston on guitar and vocals, longtime member John McFee on guitars, electric violin, vocals (as well as harmonica on "Long Train Runnin'"), Little Feat co-founder Bill Payne (who has played on many Doobie Brothers albums and tours), on keyboards, Marc Russo on saxophone, drummers Ed Toth and Tony Pia and bassist John Cowan.
Dave Mason, along with Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi, co-founded Traffic. He has been a member of Delaney, Bonnie & Friends and Fleetwood Mac, served as a temporary second guitarist in Eric Clapton's Derek & the Dominos and participated in the recording of George Harrison's All Things Must Pass
(Apple Records, 1970) as well as Jimi Hendrix' Electric Ladyland
(Reprise Records, 1968). In 1971 he formed a duo with Cass Elliot and released their eponymously titled album on Blue Thumb Records. He has also achieved fame as a best-selling solo artist and in 2004, Mason was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.
On a somewhat cool late June evening at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Mason and his band which featured drummer Alvino Bennett, Johnne Sambataro on guitar and Tony Patler on keyboards and vocals took the stage for a short but impressive set. The set featured incredible versions of solo offerings ("Only You Know and I Know," "We Just Disagree" and "Look At You Look At Me"), tight arrangements of the Traffic songs "Medicated Goo" (sung by Patler and introduced by Mason as "a song from a band I started when I was 18-years-old"), "Dear Mr. Fantasy" with an assist from McFee and "Feelin' Alright"(on which Simmons and Cowan joined Mason and his band), the incandescent cover of "All Along the Watchtower" and the deadpan opening quip, "Good Evening! It's nice to be here. As the senior member of this tour it's nice to be anywhere!"