Journey with Loverboy

journeyBands: Journey with Loverboy

Venue: Cow Palace, San Francisco, CA

Date: December 1981

Back in the early eighties, the period of a school child’s life now known as middle school was referred to as junior high school. I don’t know when the nomenclature changed but since I used to work at a middle school, I do know for sure that it has changed.

Even though the name has changed, the general composure and demeanor of a junior high school student has not. In 1981, I was a nervous, straight A earning, no girlfriend having, rocker wannabe whose taste in popular music was just about to grow it’s first root on it’s own, without parental assistance and/or pressure. Even though I was a few albums and concerts away from an adolescent level of musical independence, this was the time and place that it began.

I remember for my birthday in sixth grade I received as a gift from my Dad my first “real” rock album. It was the Eagles’ “Hotel California”. Before that I was listening to lots of 50s and 60s rock and roll (1955 to 1965, American Rock and Roll, to be precise) on our family’s jukebox, Sha Na Na, Elvis Presley, Star Wars soundtrack albums, and various Disney lps. This album, “Hotel California”, was the first record I could actually proudly display and show off to my friends.

One day, months later, I was hanging out with my friend Matt Berry and he played for me Journey “Captured”, a double live album that featured all of Journey’s major hits at the time. I loved the harder rocking edge that this disc featured and so I cajoled my Dad into purchasing that record for me as well. I listened to this record over and over and over again, until, in 1981, Journey released the follow up record, “Escape”.

“Escape” was freaking huge. As popular as Journey was during the “Evolution”, “Departure”, “Infinity”, and “Captured” era, “Escape” dwarfed the success of those great records and garnered a massive new fan base. Suddenly everyone was singing “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Who’s Crying Now”. Junior high school cafeterias that doubled as dance floors on select Friday nights were jam packed with hormone crazed adolescents looking to get close to members of the opposite sex.

And the best thing was, I was there on the ground floor because I had the record (and the one before it; I was no poser). I knew all the song lyrics by heart; I even had the sheet music. In fact, it was the aforementioned songs “Don’t Stop Believing” and “Who’s Crying Now” that catapulted me into getting noticed by girls. I remember hanging out at lunch time near a piano one fateful day at school and I sat down and began to play those two songs. The next thing I know, I am surrounded by all these girls asking me to play them again. It was pretty much then and there that I realized that all those years (since first grade) of taking piano lessons from Fred Cadiente at ABC Music were worth every torturous scale and fingering exercise I had endured, if the payoff was going to be female attention and hopefully, affection.

So, here I was, feeling like I was riding a personally discovered wave of cultural popularity, what with being like the hugest Journey fan ever, when one day my Dad came in and made an announcement to me that set me on a path that I am forever grateful; a path that I still travel to this day. He informed me that we were going to go to see Journey in concert at the fabled Cow Palace. He had arranged for us to go to the show with his buddy, Stubie, who was at the time a rock critic for a local newspaper. Not only were we going to the show, we got to sit in a special press section, which included a super cool, cloth material press pass sticker. save_the_cable_cars_ticket_0011

jrny81Even though my memory of the show is pretty much forgotten, I do vividly recall where we sat; so much so that if I were to go to the Cow Palace today, I could most likely lead you to the exact area we occupied for those three and a half glorious hours that Journey and opening act Loverboy played. I’m sure that Journey played all their hits from albums new and old alike, but I honestly do not remember any of it. They could have played middle c for the entire time, it wouldn’t have mattered. What matters was that I had arrived on the scene. Going to concerts and shows would remain a vital and important part of my life from that moment in time forward. Just like Steve Perry sang, “Don’t Stop Believing”, I didn’t then and I haven’t now.

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