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Jukebox: Veteran bands Journey, Cheap Trick to play at SPAC

Jukebox: Veteran bands Journey, Cheap Trick to play at SPAC

Veteran bands return to Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs

Veteran bands return to Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Spa State Park, Saratoga Springs, in the coming week’s biggest shows.

Some are more veteran than others and one isn’t a veteran at all: OneRepublic, opening for John Mayer on Monday. But even multi-Grammy winner and heavily tabloided former Jennifer Aniston boyfriend Mayer is a musical generation younger than Journey, Heart and Cheap Trick, the 1970s-vintage bands who team up on Sunday.

A metaphor for Journey’s Journey: When they formed in 1973, they used tie-dyed de rigueur psychedelic amp covers, and last year they found their new singer Arnel Pineda on YouTube. Along that journey, many different Journeys have played SPAC: the pre-Steve Perry fusion instrumental powerhouse, the Perry-led hit machine and reunion band/brands with Steve Augeri and Jeff Scott Soto Xeroxing Perry’s pop howl, more or less. Recruited from a Filipino Journey cover band, Pineda is the best Perry clone yet, a charming and grateful striver and a real feel-good story among rock reunions. Their new “Revelation” album debuted at No. 5 in Billboard.

When Journey played a free SPAC show many summers ago, hordes of kids skipped pre-exam reviews to see a hot and hungry band on the way to way up there. Amazingly, Journey has regained its hunger, but their veteran openers should challenge them, too.

With the Wilson sisters up front, singer Ann and guitarist Nancy, everyone else in Heart has changed since they formed in 1974: 24 players including members of Spirit (Mark Andes) and Guns ’N’ Roses (Gilby Clarke). The current lineup has been stable since 2006, re-creating the band’s classic Led Zeppelin-inspired hard pop.

A nerd before his time, Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen may be the quartet’s most recognizable figure, with a cartoon persona and a big fleet of vintage axes, some bearing names. But this band has everything: tough, buoyant songs, pretty faces singer Robin Zander and bassist Tom Petersson, a hard-hitting drummer (Bun E. Carlos) even nerdier than Nielsen, a radio presence as ubiquitous as Journey’s, and a powerful onstage reputation backed up by the boom and slash of their 1979 live album “At Budokan.”

Show time for Journey, Heart and Cheap Trick is 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $125, $85, $59.50 and $39.50 inside and $20 on the lawn. Phone 587-3330 or 476-1000 (Ticketmaster), or visit www.livenation.com or www.ticketmaster.com.


Famously dating Jennifer Aniston, then breaking up, didn’t distract guitarist/singer/songwriter John Mayer from making music of all kinds with all kinds of people. His new two-CD “Where the Light Is: Live in Los Angeles” album presents a mostly solo acoustic first set, a second set with his blues trio and a third with his eight-piece long-time touring band. Performances and song choices are both strong. No, it’s not the obvious hits; and yes, there are interesting covers, by Jimi Hendrix, Tom Petty, Ray Charles and others.

John Mayer plays Monday at SPAC. OneRepublic opens at 7:30 p.m. Formed in 2002, they first became MySpace stars just as their first record label dropped them. They broke big with the single “Apologize,” legally downloaded more than three million times and played on radio more than 10,000 times in a single week. Tickets are $55 inside, $32.50 on the lawn.

Quiet Kane

At the other end of the fame and noise spectrum from Sunday’s arena rockers at SPAC, simultaneously with Journey and company, and not far away, country-folk singer-songwriter Kieran Kane sings, usually pretty softly, at Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs). Formerly of Nashville’s O’Kanes duo with Jamie O’Hara, Kane now lives in a Great Sacandaga Lake-side cabin. Percussionist/son Lucas Kane accompanies him.

Both Kanes play on the new “Kane Welch Kaplin” album with singer-songwriter Kevin Welch and multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin.

Opening for Jesse Winchester at The Egg several years ago, Kane said he put Lucas through college on the proceeds from writing Alan Jackson’s hit “I’ll Go On Loving You.” Similar song/gems gleam on his four solo albums, three more with Welch and Kaplin, several classic O’Kanes’ discs and on numerous collaborations with other artists.

Show time is 7 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Phone 583-0022 or visit www.caffelena.com.

Dylan photos

Bob Dylan arguably looked somewhat younger than his age (67) at SPAC last Sunday: Ever wonder how he looked at 20?

The answer is in the newly published knockout “Bob Dylan through the Eyes of Joe Alper: A Photo Essay from 1961-1965.” In hundreds of black-and-white photos, Dylan grows from a baby-faced, unguarded itinerant troubadour, who stayed with the Alper family at 520 Brandywine Ave. in Schenectady, into the confident folk-rocker who famously “plugged in” at the Newport Folk Festival and electrified the music world.

George Alper, Linton High School grad and former Frank Zappa T-shirt merchandiser, lovingly assembled his father’s photos into a remarkable sequence. There’s George himself, at age 4, building a castle of blocks on the floor with Bob on a few pages early in the book. It’s available in bookstores, via Amazon and at www.dylanbook.com

Riverside blues

Take Me to The River Blues Fest presents six top local blues bands this weekend for free in Troy’s Powers Park (Saturday) and Riverfront Park (Sunday).

Saturday in Powers Park:

4 p.m.: Tom Healey Blues Band

6 p.m.: The Foy Brothers

Sunday in Riverfront Park:

1 p.m.: The Blues School Band led by Charlie Smith and featuring Jared Alpern

2 p.m.: Joe Lowery and the Second Mile Blues Band

3:45 p.m.: Blues Sanctuary (winner of the Northeast Blues Society’s Colossal Contenders Contest at the Electric City Blues Fest in July)

5 p.m.: Tas Cru and the Slow Happy Boys (winner of last year’s Colossal Contenders Contest.)

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