Journey, Loverboy, Benatar fans cheer on their '80s idols -- faithfully

Originally Posted Online: Feb. 07, 2013, 1:23 am
Last Updated: Feb. 08, 2013, 11:35 am
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By Laura Anderson Shaw,

MOLINE -- Some 8,000 rockers got a blast from the past Wednesday night at the i wireless Center.

A throwback show featuring Loverboy, Pat Benatar and Journey shook the i wi from the floor to the rafters as the crowd reminisced about big hair, jean jackets, gnarly nights and MTV actually airing music videos.

Loverboy took the stage first, with a 30-minute set of a half-dozen songs that included "Queen of the Broken Hearts,""Lovin' Every Minute Of It,""The Kid is Hot Tonight.""When It's Over" and, the crowd's favorite,"Working for the Weekend."

"It took us a little while to get here -- but we got here!" singer Mike Reno told the crowd.

The show initially was scheduled for November, and Wednesday's crowd was happy the night finally came.

"Moline, you guys rocked!" shouted Reno as Loverboy's short set closed. The band tossed picks and sticks to the crowd while Reno wrung the sweat from his bandanna before tossing it out as well.

A short while later, Pat Benatar took the stage by storm, playing air guitar while her husband, guitarist Neil Giraldo, performed on a real one.

She opened with a booming "All Fired Up," and the crowd was just that.

The multi-award-winning singer and her band are a bit older than they were when they first hit the airwaves, but they certainly didn't seem like it. The strobe of spotlights, the iconic synthesizer, the roll of the fog and Benatar's absolutely incredible voice seemed timeless as fans danced and shouted out lyrics as though the songs were released last week.

Benatar told the crowd the group had been playing together for 35 years, and that she and Giraldo soon will mark their 31st wedding anniversary. The crowd went wild.

She and Giraldo sat for a bit -- "because we're old," Benatar, who turned 60 last month, told the crowd -- but the flow and the energy of the Wednesday night show never faltered.

As Benatar belted out songs such as "Invincible," "Promises in the Dark," "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and "Love Is a Battlefield," her voice didn't seem to have aged a day. She was still the edgy, red-lipped vixen hypnotizing you to rock back and forth and shake your big hair or -- in some cases -- what was left of it

The two got together in 1979, Giraldo said, when Benatar had an idea and he had a plan.

"Thanks for taking the ride with us," he said.

During their set, the audience slow-danced, screamed and did what seemed like interpretive dance, especially to "Love Is a Battlefield."

After a short break, Benatar and her band returned for an encore that included "Let's Stay Together" and a tubular mash-up of "Heartbreaker" and "Ring of Fire."

Around 9:10 p.m. Wednesday, Journey took the stage -- and the crowd was more than ready. The simple banners that had backed the first two bands dropped to reveal several screens that would blast wicked colors and images throughout the rest of the night.

Frontman Arnel Pineda -- who sounds more like Steve Perry than Steve Perry -- bounced around the i wireless stage like the curls of perfectly-permed hair. Journey opened with "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" as Pineda coolly tossed the microphone.

At some point during their set, each band members used solos or jams to showcase their personal talents, all still as strong as the curl in guitarist Neal Schon's hair.

Their retro fan favorites included:

-- "Faithfully," with every girl within earshot screaming the lyrics;

-- "Wheel in the Sky," featuring a wonderful bit of harmonica, courtesy of keyboardist Jonathan Cain;

-- "Open Arms," with several folks slow-dancing as if at the junior prom; and

-- "Don't Stop Believin'," which will be stuck in my head until the end of time.

They also performed a beautiful and patriotic shred-fest rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," with fireworks illuminating the back drop screens, and then a waving flag.

It was insane to hear and see Pineda perform with the band. His energy and crowd interaction kept the group going until 11 p.m., when white confetti and streamers transformed the i wi into a snow globe.

It was totally radical.

Throughout the crowd, parents and grandparents danced with their children, older couples smiled and held hands, and moms and grandmas relived some of the best times of their lives.

Whether you were old enough to have been driving when these bands first hit the airwaves, or you were in diapers at the time (like me), Loverboy, Pat Benatar and Journey did not disappoint. Their music was just as rocking Wednesday night as it was on the boom-box in your bedroom as you sang into a hairbrush.

"Journey loves you," Pineda shouted before leaving the stage.

Not to worry, Pineda. The Quad-Cities loves Journey, too.


Local events heading

  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.

(More History)