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Rock triple threat sizzles Journey, Heart, Cheap Trick wow 10,000 fans at Zoo
by Brandy McDonnell -
July 25, 2008

A potent brew of crowd-pleasing hits, dynamic showmanship and bone-rattlingly loud rock 'n' roll cast a spell on the Zoo on Wednesday night.

The triple threat of Journey, Heart and Cheap Trick - all rock bands that have been making music for more than three decades - attracted a sell-out crowd of 10,000 sweat-soaked, sun-scorched rock fans to the Zoo Amphitheatre. Near 100-degree temperatures didn't dissuade the masses from waving their arms, bobbing their heads and shouting along with the classic rockers.

Local fans got the chance to see whether new Journey front man Arnel Pineda could match the vocal prowess of former vocalist Steve Perry. The Filipino singer proved not only a worthy successor but a virtual vocal doppelganger.

Most fans seemed to welcome Pineda with open arms, and his indefatigable stage presence seemed to win over any detractors. One female fan snuck onto the stage to steal a quick embrace before security guards hauled her away, leaving the grinning Pineda to quip, "Anyone else?"

By the time the band played favorites such as "Don't Stop Believin'," "Lights" and "Anyway You Want It," most everyone was singing along.

The highlights of the set were an extended version of "Wheel in the Sky" and the new and appropriate track "A Change for the Better." Heart may have been playing in the second slot, but the ever-impressive Wilson sisters and their band proved they are second to none.

Through their hits "Crazy on You," "Never" and "Straight On," Ann Wilson belted out vocals with seemingly effortless power, while Nancy Wilson's fleet fingers kept coaxing heady rock out of her guitar. Ann's tuneful wailing on "Magic Man" elicited goosebumps even in the heat, and she proved she is one of the only vocalists worthy to cover Led Zeppelin with her achingly lovely "Going to California."

The band wowed the crowd with a potent cover of The Who's "Love Reign O'er Me" leading into a scorching rendition of "Barracuda." Despite some issues with the sound mix and balance, Cheap Trick warmed up the overheated crowd with rowdy rockers "I Want You to Want Me," "Surrender" and "Dream Police."

Tuxedoed guitarist Rick Nielsen punctuated the performance with his energetic showmanship, wisecracks and array of outlandish guitars.

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