JUKE BOX HEROES TOUR
JASON BONHAM’S LED ZEPPELIN EVENING
Blue Hills Bank Pavilion
June 20, 2018
Photos & Review by Dan Wenc
It was a perfect night for the enjoyment of timeless classic rock and roll, performed live in a most ideal setting along the Boston waterfront. Part of a great summer time experience is relaxing outside and enjoying the music that you love and grew up with. This night was a perfect mixture of such at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion along Boston’s Seaport District. An open air music venue sitting right on the waterfront with a comfortable atmosphere and generally not a bad seat in the house. The price of admission to this show was well worth more than the cost of the ticket, to have these three great acts on the bill for the night.
It was spectacular spring night, on the eve of the first day of summer. It was a perfect night for a rock show featuring a performance of the music of Led Zeppelin , Whitesnake and Foreigner on the Juke Box Hero’s Tour.
JASON BONHAM’S LED ZEPPELIN EVENING
The night started out with Led Zeppelin classics, courtesy of Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening. Jason Bonham and his Led Zeppelin Experience kicked off the night with “Immigrant Song”. From there Bonham and company rolled through a 9 song set of Zeppelin classics. A perfect mood setting for what was to come in the night. Jason Bonham’s band is a most appropriate homage for fans to enjoy the music of the Led Zeppelin and the legacy that his father helped to create. Carrying on the tradition and bringing Led Zeppelin music out on the road for everyone to enjoy. Probably the closest thing that anyone will experience of the Led Zeppelin legacy at this time. As the reunion of Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, might not be seen again in a live performance. It was certainly a Led Zeppelin Experience. The vocals of James Dylan were a remarkable resemblance and great fit for the experience. Bonham and his crew of musicians warmed the crowd right up, literally the next best thing. What is better than sitting out on a warm summer night listening to some Zeppelin tunes? Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin experience was an impeccable tribute to his father, John, who would have turned 70 a few weeks ago.
Then the night of music moved along slow and easy… Not really, nothing would be slow and easy with a David Coverdale Whitesnake performance. Whitesnake took the stage at dusk and straight out of the gate it was all high energy with David Coverdale and his lineup of amazing musicians. Quite possibly one of the best musician lineups of the past forty year Whitesnake timeline. This crew has been touring with Coverdale for the past three tours, including this one. Coverdale and company hit the stage with the crowd roared. Joel Hoekstra on guitar, was as animated and high energy as could be. He owned his side of the stage and out into the crowd. Hoekstra would join Reb Beach on guitar at center of the stage throughout the night which included dueling guitar solos. Beach and Hoekstra are a phenomenal combination of musicans. Both are in a mix of other separate musical projects over the years, but the combination of the two of them in Whitesnake hit the mark. Hoekstra is awesome to watch perform. The show was a homecoming for bassist Michael Devin, who has been with the band since 2010. Devin hails from the Leominster, Mass area. On the drums is longtime Whitesnake fixture, Tommy Aldridge, who has no shortage of power and awe on the drums. Michele Luppi was to the right of the stage on keyboards, a guy who keeps the keys and smiles going all night long. Everyone on the Whitesnake stage looked as if they were having a blast up there, and who wouldn’t.
Rock and Roll legend, David Coverdale owned the night with his classic catalog of bits that kept the crowd going. The set kicked off with “Bad Boys”, right into “Give Me All Your Love” and “Love Ain’t No Stranger”. Coverdale still sounds amazing, blasting out line after line. Coverdale takes the stage with great confidence and enthusiasm. You can tell that he is having a great time on stage performing and that he receives the positive energy from the crowd. One thing that David Coverdale is able to do with his catalog of classics is to transform a venue full of people back to a time when rock music dominated the airwaves. Safe to say that Whitesnake fans in the pavilion probably felt like they were 16 years old again listening to David Coverdale perform. After the dueling, Beach and Hoekstra guitar solo, came an intense version “Crying in the Rain”, infiltrated with a Tommy Aldridge drum solo that was a crowd pleaser, and then right back into the song.
David Coverdale is a passionate performer and the great leader his Whitesnake camp. He is a true definition of rock legend, having Rock N’ Roll of Fame status, via Deep Purple. Everything sounded great, with a sound and vibe that brought you back to the days where we enjoyed watching the token Whitesnake videos on MTV in constant airplay. The players in Whitesnake have changed tremendously since its inception in 1978 and continually evolving, all great lineups and musicians in their own right. Coverdale’s current line-up is top notch and high energy, doing great justice to the Whitesnake classics we all know and love, a fine combination of musicians. This current formula that Coverdale has put together is the perfect storm for great music. Whitesnake closed out their set with “Is This Love”, “Slide It In”, “Here I Go Again” and “Still of the Night.” It is with great anticipation that Whitesnake fans await the release of the upcoming “Flesh and Blood” album.
The night kept rolling along with Foreigner, with what appeared to be an extremely large stage set up with a huge Foreigner backdrop. Chris Frazier’s drums and Michael Bluestein’s keyboards set up towards the back of the stage. There was plenty of room to play. Despite the far from original line up, make no mistake, Foreigner in 2018 sounds great and transforms seamlessly into its modern version and make it well worth attending a Foreigner.
Mick Jones (lead guitar) is the one remaining original member of the band. The rest, not already mentioned is Kelly Hansen on vocals, (formerly of Hurricane) Jeff Pilson on bass (of Dokken), Tom Gimbel on rhythm guitar, sax and flute and Bruce Watson on guitar. This entire cast of musicians are a most appropriate line up to keep the spirit and music of Foreigner’s 41 year catalog of music alive and well, now and in years to come. A perfect formulation of musicians.
Kelly Hansen, who has been with the band since 2005 does justice on all Foreigner songs. Hansen’s vocal styling is unmistakable of the Foreigner sound and was album quality throughout the night. Plus, he was highly energetic and entertaining as he moved all about the large stage.
Hansen engaged with the crowd throughout the night. Just before “Feels Like the First Time”, he talked about the varying ages in the venue and spoke of the true testament of music and the songs that have stuck with us for decades. At time the crowd was louder than the actual band on the chorus of that song.
Kelly Hansen provided a great intro for Mick Jones and his musical accomplishments other than Foreigner, such as producing albums Billy Joel’s Stormfront, Van Halen’s 5150 to mention a few, a true rock legend.
Mick Jones took the lead vocals on Starrider which he described as a more cosmic vibe song that he wrote many years ago. Then it was into a drum/keyboard solo. Next up was “Juke Box Hero”. Hansen sang the song from atop a small platform riser in the middle of the crowd.
At the conclusion of the night’s performance, Hanson talked with the crowd with some inspiring words on love and great build up to “I Want to Know What Love Is”. The stage was covered in a dry ice fog, as Hanson built up the song and Jones was at the keyboard at stage front. A special treat was the Boston Latin student choir who participated as a powerful addition to this Foreigner classic.
What’s more to say? It was a night filled with great classic rockers and their respective songs, all under one roof. Legendary artists that have been making music for the past four plus decades, still out on the road for the enjoyment of the fans. Rock is still alive thanks to these guys and the fans that come out to see the shows. They just don’t make bands and music like this anymore. Get out and see this tour or any one of the bands if they come out to a city near you.