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Night Ranger, Foreigner, and Journey at Gexa in Dallas
by Jeannine Lee - Pegasus News
September 27, 2011

Saturday night was clear and warm, and for the 17,000 plus at Gexa Energy Pavilion at Fair Park in Dallas, Texas full of good old fashioned rock 'n' roll. The sell-out crowd nearly shook the venue off its foundations as audience members threw back their collective heads and assaulted the night air with screams and yells of delight as one, then another familiar song rolled out from Night Ranger, Foreigner, and headliner Journey.

People as far as the eye could see were full of pent up energy and enthusiasm - standing, dancing, singing every word to every song. And the bands didn't disappoint; not in the least. Each attacked the stage with high-energy rock. No Top 40, bubble gum, easy listening slow stuff here: Just pure hard driving, steady beating, hot and sweaty rock from groups the boomer generation grew up to.

Night Ranger opened the evening. Their job was to get the crowd rolling, and they took that job seriously. The lead singer worked the crowd from one end of the stage to the other, encouraging all to sing along. Many of the songs were ones you've heard before but might not realize who the band was. Then came a few we know, like "Sister Christian." When their short set was finished, we were definitely warmed up and ready for more.

It was Foreigner's turn. And wow, they arrived with a presence, loud and strong. Lead singer Kelly Hansen, who resembled Steven Tyler, was a blur dressed all in white, head to toe, as he prowled the stage left to right, front to back. The crowd stood and swayed and sang to opening songs "Double Vision," "Head Games," and "Cold as Ice." The band had a nice tight sound. Vocals were (almost) perfect to my ear, and who remembered that there is a saxophone in "Urgent?"

"Feels Like the First Time" was performed as if it was literally the first time, leaving us to wonder, how does a band keep from getting bored after playing the same tunes for 30 years? The massive crowd of appreciative fans screaming, swaying, and singing must've helped. After an hour of hit after hit, they ended with a "bring 'em back" encore, "Juke Box Hero." As they drove it to the end, we reminisced on how good, good music really is. The crowd was still rockin' even as Foreigner left the stage.

Journey came out with a stinging Neal Schon guitar blasting into "Separate Ways (Someday Love Will Find You)," before transitioning to "Ask the Lonely" and slowing down to "Send Her My Love." Lead singer Arnel Pineda, ever the athlete, jumped and danced and ran and spun in place while taking us on a roller coaster ride with his climbing melodies. Several times he stepped to the front of the extended stage to touch the close-in crowd only to withdraw and teasingly flash that impish smile.

Watching the fans while Journey worked through their repertoire of great hit music was almost as much fun as watching the band itself: Girlfriends nudged each other and laughed at certain lyrics, couples grabbed each other's hands or hugged as if to say, Remember what we were doing when that song came out?

Some reactions were more individual, like the woman who literally squealed in excitement when "Faithfully" began. She jumped to the railing, and almost climbed it, all while dancing and waving to the band. She, like so many others, seemed to truly appreciate the trip back into wonderful, forgotten times.

That warm buzz will certainly last them for days and days.

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