Another Five-Star summer tour hit Fivepoint Amphitheater on Wednesday August 1 as 40-year music veterans Foreigner hit Irvine for the last date of their Juke Box Hero Tour. Also on this bill are fellow veterans Whitesnake along with Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening, making for a killer 1-2-3 lineup that was surely going to make for an EPIC night of music.
If you think about the bands here, you are talking about some of the biggest radio hits ever so there is no doubt the capacity crowd will be fully engaged in every note and lyric from all three bands. The night started in the bright sunshine just prior to the top of the 7:00pm hour as Jason Bonham (son of the late John Bonham from the legendary Led Zeppelin) and his band took the stage and kicked off with “Immigrant Song” which immediately got the crowd involved and the energy never let up for the duration of the set.
Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening includes Jimmy Sakurai on guitar as well as the earth-shattering vocals of James Dylan and is a tribute to the music of Led Zeppelin honoring his late father John “Bonzo” Bonham and his extraordinary drum work. Jason is no slouch himself as he is without a doubt the premier tribute to his Dad. Bonham thanked the crowd for coming out early to see them play and then got back to business as the band hammered out “The Ocean”, “Black Dog” and “Whole Lotta Love” just to name a few. Dylan really nails the Robert Plant vocals and lead guitarist Sakurai totally nails not only the Jimmy Page sound but the looks and movements as well.
The band ended the night with “Stairway to Heaven” and Irvine had just witnessed the most authentic Led Zeppelin tribute on earth.
Jason Bonham Led Zeppelin Evening Set List:
Immigrant Song | Good Times Bad Times | The Ocean | Over the Hills and Far Away | What Is and What Should Never Be | Rock and Roll | Black Dog | Whole Lotta Love | Stairway to Heaven
And the night is just getting started . . . Whitesnake appeared onstage led by founder David Coverdale as the band cranked into “Bad Boys” and “Give Me All Your Love” off their 1987 eight times platinum self-titled album. This tour focused on Whitesnakes biggest hits and therefore all nine songs were from 1984’s Slide It In and 1987’s Whitesnake albums. Coverdale looked and sounded amazing (although his voice seemed to somewhat go out at the end of the set – understandable after being on tour for the past several weeks). His stage movements and swinging of his mic stand are still the focal point of any Whitesnake show and still a favorite of the females in the audience but guitarist Joel Hoekstra was also very popular with the ladies on his side of the stage. In addition to being a killer guitar player he knows how to move and pose as he is playing as his long blonde hair flails about.
Also on guitars is longtime Whitesnake member Reb Beach (also a member of Winger) who is himself a six-string master making for a fierce guitar duo with Hoekstra. And speaking of guitar duos, Hoekstra and Beach went back and forth center stage with a guitar duel mid set . . . ultimately both being the winners!
Now when you mention someone is 68 years old you think they are probably slowing down a bit and relaxing but NOT Tommy Aldridge. Aldridge has a drumming pedigree a mile long playing with Thin Lizzy, Ozzy, etc and he still hammers his drums with flailing arms harder than most half his age. Aldridge’s partner on the rhythm side is another master musician Michael Devin who when not playing with Whitesnake is always out jamming somewhere. And last, but not least is keyboardist Michele Luppi who adds that magic ingredient to the Whitesnake sound.
Having created some timeless and amazing music with Deep Purple and continuing that same legacy with Whitesnake, Coverdale is without a doubt a name that must be mentioned in a conversation regarding the best frontman in the business.
Whitesnake Set List:
Bad Boys | Give Me All Your Love | Love Ain’t No Stranger | Slow an’ Easy | Guitar Duel | Crying in the Rain (featured extended drum solo) | Is This Love | Slide It In | Here I Go Again | Still of the Night
After a 25-minute set change Foreigner opened the show with a song from way back in 1977 “Long, Long Way From Home”. Guitarist Bruce Watson took Center stage in the spotlight to get the night started as the highly animated vocalist Kelly Hansen commanded the crowd immediately and had all in the palm of his hands the entire night. With a huge stage and bright lights it was obvious this was going to be an classic night of arena rock old-school style as the band went into “Double Vision”.
Unfortunately, guitarist Mick Jones did not start the show onstage with the band and didn’t come out until the seventh song “Feels Like the First Time”. He apologized for being late to the show stating he missed the bus but it is well known Jones has had some struggles with his health and doesn’t have the endurance to be onstage for an entire show, but hey he gets an “A” for effort! Jones remained onstage with the band for the remainder of the show. In fact he switched from electric to acoustic as he introduced “Starrider” stating it was a song he wrote while being totally spaced out.
Hanson puts on a very energetic and passionate performance as he breezed through all the hits – he is the ultimate showman and his voice sounded great. He stated to the crowd that he just took a deep breath and recalled that CA is a recreational state and encouraged all to enjoy.
Obviously, the hardest rocking member of the band, bassist Jeff Pilson (formerly of Dokken) is headbanging and running around the stage the entire night with never ending energy. With that said the band effortlessly was able capture and re-live the power and spirit of the early days in 2018. Once “Juke Box Hero” started and the vocals began – you heard Hansen but where was he ? . . . ahh, he mysteriously ended up on a platform raised about 20 ft off the ground out by the soundboard in the middle of the crowd giving those out in the bleacher seats a chance to get up close and personal.
For the two-song encore, Jones took to keyboards as the band started “I Want To Know What Love Is” with the help of a local school choir on the chorus and then the band invited Jason Bonham (former member of Foreigner) out to play drums on the closing song “Hot Blooded”.
Four hours of classic rock n roll went by in the blink of an eye. The Juke Box Hero Tour is now over but the memories will live on forever in the eyes of the fans in Irvine.
Foreigner Set List:
Long, Long Way From Home | Double Vision | Head Games | Cold as Ice | Waiting for a Girl Like You | Dirty White Boy | Feels Like the First Time | Urgent | Starrider | Juke Box Hero
I Want To Know What Love Is (with local Elementary School Choir) | Hot Blooded (with Jason Bonham)