Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Journey to nostalgia

Lately I've been indulging in Rock & Roll nostalgia, prompted by a series of posts at Uncommon Sense. I also recently posted about the Hollywood Sportatorium. All of this coincided with the Journey/Def Leppard tour coming to town, so I decided to buy a couple of tickets for me and the Mrs. The show was at Hard Rock Live, which is the new arena/concert venue at the Seminole Hard Rock gaming complex in Hollywood, only about 12 miles away from the old Sportatorium.

Let me tell you about my experience, the good, the bad and the ugly.

First of all, the tickets said 7:30 PM. Now I've been to quite a few Rock shows in my life but I've never been to one that started promptly. Last night was the exception. This was bad. My wife had to work until 6:00 PM. She couldn't leave early because, as it happens, yesterday was her last day with that employer, it would have been bad form.

Yesterday morning traffic was light. It was a teacher work day in Miami-Dade county. But last night the rush-hour traffic was unbearable. So my wife left her job at 6:15 and got home at 7:30. Remember that was the time the concert was supposed to start. By the time we were ready to go it was 7:50. The drive to the venue was 45 minutes and when we got to our seats it was 8:45. Journey was already playing and I asked the girl next to me how long they had been on. "Since right after 7:30," she said. Shit, I thought to myself. This is the end of the show. Although I like Def Leppard, the reason for going was to see Journey. We got to see 4 songs (and one of the was the encore, Separate Ways).

I will say that what we saw we liked. Journey is currently being fronted by a singer named Jeff Scott Soto. He took over mid tour for Steve Augeri. Augeri's claim to faim is that he sounds a lot like the legendary Journey front man Steve Perry, with whom the band had a falling out. Soto did a good job with the vocals and sitting there watching the band you realize that the heart of it isn't the vocalist but Neal Schon (Guitar) and Jonathan Cain (keyboards). The background vocals were also excellent. The first song we saw was Faithfully, which interestingly enough was sung by Deen Castronovo (drums) and he he sounded fantastic.

The fact that I missed almost the entire Journey show was bumming me out. The intermission was short, which was good. Def Leppard came out and the first couple of songs were a little uneven, but overall they put on a good show.

Now here is the ugly. The Seminole Hard Rock Live is brand new venue but the acoustics are terrible. In that aspect it has a lot in common with its predecessor, the Sportatorium. In the 300 section, where we were, the music didn't sound loud enough. And what you certainly did here was the slapback echo, particularly when Def Leppard was playing with its big drum and bass sound. The arena is comfortable and seats 5,500 which is a nice size, but they need to do something about the sound. I suppose that if we had floor/lower level seats the sound may have been better but there weren't any left when I bought my tickets.

All in all it was kind of a tough night, compounded with my losses on the weak slot machines they have. I will say this however, the new parking garage at the complex is great.

I leave you with a clip of Faithfully, as sung by Deen Castronovo, from a show a few days ago in Birmingham, Alabama. You can get the idea of how good he actually sings it.

No comments: