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Journey/Toto Nashville 4/27 Gear, left hands, tying threads together


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My wife is a Journey fan. Outside of a couple of undeniably strong songs, I could take 'em or leave 'em.  I really wanted to see Toto so I got chocolate on her peanut butter and she got peanut butter on my chocolate.  To address a few threads from the past week, here's a mini review.  

 

On stage with Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams this season is bassist John Pierce (Huey Lewis and The News), drummer Robert Searight (Snarky Puppy), keyboardists / background vocalists Steve Maggiora (Robert Jon & The Wreck) and Dominique Taplin (Prince) plus multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Warren Ham (Ringo Starr).  David Paich was introduced about 2/3 into the set. I knew his health wasn't good and Lukather said he only came out once in a while.  The two songs he sang, Home of the Brave and Africa, were sung crisply and cleanly.  The set was magnificent, as one would expect, and Williams was in fine voice.  Hearing Africa, the set closer, through a big PA and with 17,000 people singing along was pretty special. One complaint--Rosanna does not have or need a sax solo.  Lots of red keyboards on their stage.  Taplin played a Nord Wave 2 on top of a Stage 3.  Maggiora had a Fantom 06 on top of a Jupiter 80 and an Electro 4 to his right in an L configuration. Ultimate Support Apex stands. Paich sat behind an 88-key Nord something or other on an X-brace stand.  The back of it was taped so I have no idea which model it was.  

 

Journey did what Journey does and they did it well. Pineda has been with them 15 years and looks very comfortable in his role. Still looks like he's having the time of his life.  Not the greatest night for him vocally but that's impossible material to sing for 100 minutes.  Hats off to him.  Somewhere along the line they ditched Randy Jackson and Narada Michael Walden and replaced them with bassist Todd Jensen and Deen Castronovo.  Jensen was the foot in the ass that Castronovo seemed to need to keep the tempos from dropping too much.  Castronovo's feature, "Mother, Father" was stunning. Sang it like he meant it. The second keyboard player/vocalist, Jason Derlatka, had a stack of boards but stood just behind the lighting so it was impossible to tell what he was playing.  Cain had a Jupiter 80 on top of the red piano shell loaded with a V Piano. To his left was a Triton on top of a Hammond XK5. What surprised me the most about Journey is that at this point they could've phoned in the show or played to tracks.  They did neither.   

 

Now--if you think left hands pounding out octaves below middle C is a cardinal sin, you'll have to speak to Paich, Maggiora, Taplin, and Cain, each of whom rarely did anything with their left hands except pound out octaves. Occasionally it was a pedal tone to supplement the bass but usually it was typical piano player behavior.  Nobody asked for a refund that I'm aware of.  :)  

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9 Moog things, 3 Roland things, 2 Hammond things and a computer with stuff on it

 

 

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Jason is playing a Roland Fantom 6 and Kronos 61

 

Randy had to drop out due to emergency back surgery before the tour began and he is still recovering.

Narada was only onboard until Deen could fully commit to the entire tour, as Narada has had booked recording and other tour dates for his own stuff.  Narada and Deen both contributed to recording the new album

Marco played the first few shows in December until they could get Todd on board for bass.   All of them have played together at one point or the other throughout their careers.

 

"Luke" talked about the sax solo, and basically said they're always looking for ways to do things a little differently, and that was one of them.  Said he actually preferred it.

 

When I saw them in Dallas a couple weeks ago, Steve had an FA-06 (black keys edition) over a Jupiter 80

 

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David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Arturia Keylab 61MK2 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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I heard the live stream, and was waiting for how the Rosanna solo was going to sound with those two players, and we get a sax solo.  What were they thinking????

 

I will say, that the re-arrangement of Georgy Porgy is killer.

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I saw both bands at the Prudential Center on 2/28, so here's my take:

I am an average Journey fan, I know many of their songs, including some of their deeper cuts, but I do not know every single song they've ever released in all 12 keys.  On the other hand, I consider myself a Toto super-fan; I own all of their albums except 1 (it's not on iTunes, and the CD version is quite expensive used), and I've seen all of their live DVDs.  I know the history of the band pretty in depth and I listen to their music all the time.  With that out of the way, here is my review:

 

Toto was great.  They sounded tight and clean and I had few complaints with their show, namely the sax solo in Rosanna (as someone who loves playing that solo on keys, it saddens me that they have replaced it, although Warren Ham is great).  The setlist when I saw them was a little different than it is now, at that time they were playing a Georgy Porgy arrangement that was closer to the original (I've heard the new one and I like it too), and the opening song was Till The End, rather than Orphan.  Paich did not stop in for that show either.

2 hours ago, ksoper said:

Lots of red keyboards on their stage.  Taplin played a Nord Wave 2 on top of a Stage 3.  Maggiora had a Fantom 06 on top of a Jupiter 80 and an Electro 4 to his right in an L configuration. Ultimate Support Apex stands. Paich sat behind an 88-key Nord something or other on an X-brace stand.  The back of it was taped so I have no idea which model it was.

Paich's 88 key Nord is a Stage 3, he's been using it taped up on Toto tours since 2018 (for the 40 Tours Around the Sun tour).  At the beginning he was using it with even more tape on it and it was inside his grand piano shell with a Montage 6 above it, both were controlling Mainstage. (When Xavier took over in 2019 for the US leg of the 40 Tours tour they ditched the shell but the rig was otherwise the same)  Now it seems like Paich is using the internal sounds on it.

 

Journey was also quite good, but they sounded a little more loose than Toto did.  The mix going to the house was also not as good as Toto's, Arnel's vocals were too quiet and Jason Derlatka's keyboards (a Fantom 6 and a Kronos 2 61) were inaudible.

2 hours ago, ksoper said:

Cain had a Jupiter 80 on top of the red piano shell loaded with a V Piano.

I believe the V-Piano is not a shell, rather the V-Piano Grand, so it is a full on Roland factory product that has been painted to be red, most likely to pay homage to his older rigs.

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Instruments: Walters Grand Console Upright Piano circa 1950 something

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It's too bad they gave my friend Shem von Schroeck the ax, unless it was a mutual parting.  Besides being a great bass player, he sings as good, or better then anyone they've ever had.

 

I've known and played gigs with Warren for probably 30 years or more. I remember when he was new in town. Too bad they don't let him sing a tune, he's Great !  Although he has a more Ray Charles kind of voice, probably wouldn't fit all that well with their tunes.

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https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

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36 minutes ago, Dave Ferris said:

It's too bad they gave my friend Shem von Schroeck the ax, unless it was a mutual parting.  Besides being a great bass player, he sings as good, or better then anyone they've ever had.

Based on what I've heard, Shem and Luke did not exactly get along well on tour, so Luke did not want to have him back on.  He is a great singer, but luckily they've got Maggiora to replace him in that department.

38 minutes ago, Dave Ferris said:

Too bad they don't let him sing a tune, he's Great !

He is a great singer, and on dates when Paich isn't there, he sings the low part on Home of the Brave.

39 minutes ago, Dave Ferris said:

I've known and played gigs with Warren for probably 30 years or more. I remember when he was new in town.

The craziest thing is that he has been in and out of Toto since the mid 80s, he was on tour with them for the Fahrenheit (1986-87) and Seventh One (1988) tours as a backing singer (along with Paulette Brown) and as a winds player (on some dates he also played rhythm guitar on the Fahrenheit tour).

Instruments: Walters Grand Console Upright Piano circa 1950 something

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Ken, this sounds fun. But I think many missed the real story here, and I just want to offer my condolences and a friendly ear if you ever need one. I can barely imagine the pain and confusion. How have you been dealing with the discovery that your wife--the woman you love and married--was a Journey fan?

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For clarification on the keys rigs. 
 

here’s Jason’s 

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here’s Steve’s 

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Jon’s piano is in fact one of his Roland V-Grands that the had refinished in red.  
He still has the black one as well.  
 

As far as Shem, in a recent interview he said it was mutual as even though he loves playing, the rigors of this kind of tour was too much. 

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Arturia Keylab 61MK2 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, EscapeRocks said:

Narada was only onboard until Deen could fully commit to the entire tour, as Narada has had booked recording and other tour dates for his own stuff.  Narada and Deen both contributed to recording the new album

Marco played the first few shows in December until they could get Todd on board for bass.   All of them have played together at one point.

 


I saw Journey last year at the Aragon Ballroom the night before they played Lollapalooza. It was sort of a warm-up show since the band had not played live for a couple of years due to the pandemic. Marco played bass and both Deen and Narada played the entire show together on stage at the same time. The drummer friend and huge Journey fan I went with was in heaven! They played for about 2.5 hours and did some deeper cuts I haven’t heard live since their Raised On Radio tour. They really brought it...all of this cooped up energy released into a ball of fire on stage. Many of the people in the crowd (myself included) were wearing masks, kind of a surreal experience as the pandemic was still with us, but waning. Definitely the most unique Journey show I’ve been to.

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"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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1 hour ago, GotKeys said:

Based on what I've heard, Shem and Luke did not exactly get along well on tour, so Luke did not want to have him back on.  He is a great singer, but luckily they've got Maggiora to replace him in that department.

He is a great singer, and on dates when Paich isn't there, he sings the low part on Home of the Brave.

The craziest thing is that he has been in and out of Toto since the mid 80s, he was on tour with them for the Fahrenheit (1986-87) and Seventh One (1988) tours as a backing singer (along with Paulette Brown) and as a winds player (on some dates he also played rhythm guitar on the Fahrenheit tour).

 Yeah that doesn't surprise about that relationship. I've heard Luke pretty much runs it as a dictatorship, his way or the highway. I haven't talked to Shem in a long time, he moved out of LA probably at least a decade ago to Arizona. We used to do casuals together.

 

I was seeing Warren fairly regularly on the church gig when I would sub and he wasn't on the road. I stopped doing it last year. He can bring the house down when he sings something like Georgia. He would do one of the church tunes as an r&b ballad and people went nuts. He's a talented and super nice, humble guy. I'm happy for all his success, well deserved.

https://soundcloud.com/dave-ferris

 

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Yamaha AvantGrand N3X, P-515

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, EscapeRocks said:

For clarification on the keys rigs...
 

 

Thanks for these photos, David.  Very cool.  

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6 minutes ago, Dave Ferris said:

I've heard Luke pretty much runs it as a dictatorship, his way or the highway.

Considering that he is the manager of the band, it doesn't shock me that this is the case.  He and Steve Porcaro have been friends since the second day of high school and because of the last tour are no longer on speaking terms, its just sad.

Instruments: Walters Grand Console Upright Piano circa 1950 something

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