Photos and writing by TourBusLive.com
So what if we had never heard of the Eels (and we recommend you do check them out – they are pretty great, as it turns out). Once the news hit social media a few weeks ago that iconic Journey front man STEVE PERRY had walked on stage FOR THE FIRST TIME IN TWENTY YEARS and sang some songs during the Eels’ final encore at a show in St. Paul, Minnesota – and then did it again at their Washington, D.C. show a few days later – there was NO WAY this reporter and fan wasn’t going to be sitting in her seat at the last scheduled Eels show on their 2014 North Amercian Tour – which just happened to be right here in Los Angeles, California!
So with a few clicks of the mouse (and one excited moment realizing this could actually happen), tickets were purchased and plans were made! It wasn’t long before the day arrived and it was time to head out to the Orpheum. With great anticipation – my friend and fellow Steve devotee and I waited nervously, hoping that lightning would strike a third time.
After an unexpected great set by the Eels (I was drooling over the many awesome guitars on stage, including a pedal steel, and a pretty expansive array of percussion), the band finally began a third and final encore. As some kids in the seats across the aisle from me tried to leave, I urged them to stay in their seats, just in case. And then it happened: Eels front man E introduced to the stage, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ELEVEN DAYS, the one and only STEVE PERRY!!!!
Sounding as good as ever, and looking equally as amazing (see the photos!), STEVE PERRY waltzed on stage with the same swagger he always had!! Every movement he made was reminiscent of the old days – viewed so many times on that old VHS tape of Journey’s MTV gig Live in Houston that I wore it out (from 1981 *gulp*) – and every look he threw towards the audience he obviously loves and appreciates, was as gracious and genuine as expected from this ICONIC yet HUMBLE singer.
Starting out his short (but oh-so-sweet) set with a dedication to the love of his life (his girlfriend Kellie Nash passed away in 2012 after a battle with cancer) – he sang to/for her the Eels’ song “IT’S A MOTHERF#CKER” – a song titled appropriately about living life without the one you love.
Following that beautiful dedication, Steve busted out the beginning of Sam Cooke’s “ONLY 16”, which then melted beautifully into the quintessential 80s power ballad, Journey’s “OPEN ARMS” – which sent chills down this writer’s spine at how perfectly Perry’s voice still, as always, danced through those lyrics.
Perry then explained the origins of his next song – “LIGHTS” – which was really about L.A. (When the lights go down in the cit-ayyy, and the sun shines on LAyyyyy…duh! Of course! The sun shines on L.A.!!!), but that had changed to “the Bay” when he joined the band that was from the City By the Bay. This song was the surprise in this short set – as Perry hadn’t sung it at the other two Eels show appearances – so we were MORE than thrilled. Definitely a first in twenty years!!
And, finally, Steve told the story about being cheated on that one time by that one girl (a story he’s long told from the stage) and then started into his most recognizable sing-a-long – LOVIN’, TOUCHIN’, SQUEEZIN’!!! And, on cue (albeit not as emphatically as I would have hoped), the L.A. crowd teamed together for a great round of “Na na na na na nas”!!!
It was great to see him so happy. It was great to see him so healthy. It was great to see him enjoying himself so much (he looked TRULY thrilled to be up there again). It was great to see him sounding so good. Yeah – it was just GREAT TO SEE HIM. Let’s hope the bug has bitten again.
And what about those kids I urged to stay in their seats? Well, they stopped ME after Perry left the stage and totally thanked me. Yeah, you bet they did.