Last night I performed at the “Legendary Rockers Tribute” Festival in Sacramento. I have been playing with “Departure,” a Journey Tribute band, since last fall. I’ve been having a great time with these guys, and it seems every performance is a cool new experience. This event was a two day-long bonanza of Tribute bands playing back-to-back-to-back. Included were tributes to the Beatles, Pink Floyd, ZZ Top, AC/DC, Tom Petty, Journey (us), and a whole lot more. I had never been to this sort of event, and I found it interesting watching the other tribute bands.
The band before us, an AC/DC band called “Touched Too Much,” really stood out for their fun and energy. These guys entertained the audience by coming off the stage and walking around the room with their wireless guitars and moving around constantly. It was cool to be able to watch a band that really seemed to understand the “entertainment” factor of performing. It made me think that, yes, the best way to handle a performance like this is to have fun with it. Another thing that impressed me about them is that they managed to recharge the audience, which had thinned out somewhat and was sort of low energy when they started. They managed to get everyone’s attention and to attract a crowd of people dancing right in front of the stage. I was impressed by how they managed to rock out like they were standing in front of ten thousand people and create a fun party atmosphere where there hadn’t been one a moment before.
As for us, we played for about an hour, covering the big Journey hits starting with “Separate Ways” (I got to start the show with the cool keyboard synth part of this song) and covering songs such as “Lights,” “Who’s Crying Now,” and of course, “Don’t Stop Believin’.” The audience seemed to really enjoy it, and furthermore, we really enjoyed playing. Even though the audience had somewhat thinned out by the time we performed, we didn’t let that deter us. I believe that no matter what the audience or situation is like, you should always do your best to put on a good show anyway. And we definitely did that. People came up to me afterward and said how much they enjoyed us, and apparently the event organizer was also very pleased.
It’s been a lot of fun delving into the rock band experience. I first started playing with bands a little over a year ago. It is something I have wanted to do since I was a kid. My first gig with “Departure” was at a Brew Festival for over 1000 people. I am enjoying many things about this band, including the music, the camaraderie with a great group of guys, and the chance to play venues I never played before. Finally, it’s great to be able to do my thing at the keys and be appreciated. It’s fun working on a team of other musicians who are all united with a common vision to play music.
All in all, last night’s gig was a yet another satisfying experience in this latest phase in my musical journey.