JOURNEY/HEART @ SPAC, 9/2/09 – You Review – Capital Region concert and performance reviews – timesunion.com – Albany NY

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Neal Schon and Nancy Wilson were both born in 1954, seemingly with guitars already in their little balled up baby fists. Both of them have been onstage since they were teenagers, and both of them have performed at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center for virtually half their lives. So, Wednesday night must have felt a little like a homecoming.

Schon, of course, is the six-string engine behind Journey’s platinum sound, and Wilson has been strumming along beside sister Ann Wilson in Heart for over 35 years.

Both bands rocked the house at SPAC on Wednesday, pouring out a veritable hit parade of classics ranging from Journey’s “Stone In Love” to Heart’s “What About Love.”

In their heyday the bands both fused hard rocks elements with smooth singing to define the power ballad. And gosh, if you wanted power ballads, you could sway with your sweetie to “Alone,” “Open Arms” or “Faithfully.”

Conversely, if you wanted to rock, you could shake your stuff to “Anyway You Want It,” the still anthemic “Separate Ways,” the hard-riffing “Magic Man” or “Keep On Runnin’” (sung by Journey drummer Deen (CQ) Castronovo).

There’s a reason Schon’s a guitar hero. He can squeal, bend and whammy with the best of them – never losing his distinctive tone. Even though he was clearly suffering from difficulties with his monitor system at SPAC, he never let the crowd down.

Wilson is more the rhythmic heart of Heart (pun intended), but she also tossed out some flash, especially with a cadenza that kicked off the surging “Crazy For You.”

Wilson also added mandolin to “These Dreams” and a sweet reading of Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California.”

Schon stole the night’s top honors, along with Journey bandmate Jonathan Cain, in a preface to “Wheel In The Sky.”

via JOURNEY/HEART @ SPAC, 9/2/09 – You Review – Capital Region concert and performance reviews – timesunion.com – Albany NY.

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