Both Bay Area legends and both storied hitmakers from the ’70s and ’80s, Journey and the Steve Miller Band joined forces to bring nostalgia to the Pepsi Center on Wednesday. But the night also included a small tribute to local Colorado legend Barry Fey. During the Steve Miller Band’s set, Miller took a moment to point out that it was the late concert promoter’s birthday. He sang a line of “Happy Birthday” and continued on with the set.
Wearing a seersucker sport coat and dark glasses, Miller’s music got the crowd up and dancing to hits such as “Swingtown,” “Jungle Love,” “Rock-N Me,” “Take the Money and Run” and “Jet Airliner.” Miller’s dazzling guitar work on “Abracadabra” demonstrated that he still has some rock-n-roll magic up his sleeve.
“I do see a lot of old jokers out there,” Miller told the audience before playing the band’s ’70s chart-topper. Since its release, the track has stayed relevant through four decades of social change, and most recently the legalization of recreational marijuana. Miller took a moment to congratulate the “midnight tokers” of Colorado for passing the historic Amendment 64. For an encore, Miller and his band performed “Fly Like an Eagle.”
After losing lead singer Steve Perry, Journey found a way to resurrect their music when they discovered Arnel Pineda on YouTube. The Filipino frontman dubbed “the thrilla from Manila” channels the powerful ultra tenor of Perry — not easy musical shoes to fill. If Pineda hit notes any higher, he would’ve been in dog-whistle range.
Following an opening of “Be Good To Yourself,” Journey dusted off vintage hits. The band played “Only the Young,” “Faithfully,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Open Arms,” “Separate Ways.” During “Lights,” video of the Golden Gate Bridge emphasized the night’s San Francisco connection. Journey wound down with “Don’t Stop Believin’” and an enormous burst of white confetti. The band’s encore was “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’.”
Colleen Smith is a longtime contributor to The Denver Post and the author of the acclaimed novel “Glass Halo” and “Laid-Back Skier” by Friday Jones Publishing.
Joshua Elioseff is a Boulder based photographer of everything, a self-professed music junkie and regular contributor to Reverb. Check his photos out on Facebook or his website.