The Jukebox Heroes Tour featuring Foreigner, Whitesnake, and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience came to an end on Aug. 1 in Irvine, CA at the Five Point Amphitheater. For it being the final show of the tour, you would never know all three bands had already played nearly 30 shows prior to this one.
The first group of the night was Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin experience. There are several notable Led Zeppelin tributes out there, but only one features the son of rock’s greatest drummer, who played with Led Zeppelin on each of their three reunions. When it comes to Led Zeppelin, you could play a five-hour show and still not cover all their classics. JBLZE packed as many hits they could with the allotted time. JBLZE played one great Zeppelin song after the next including “Immigrant Song,” Good Times Bad Times,” “Rock and Roll,” “Whole Lotta Love” and “Stairway to Heaven.” This was my first JBLZE show and it’s easy to see if there’s any tribute that recreates the magic of Led Zeppelin, this is the one to see.
The next band to play was Whitesnake, whom just like Foreigner is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year. Another thing in common between Whitesnake and Foreigner is the number of lineup changes each band has been through over the years. Since the beginning and throughout every lineup, frontman David Coverdale has been there. My first time seeing Whitesnake was 3 years ago and they’re the type of band worth seeing every time they come to town especially since most of their shows are overseas. In 2013, drummer Tommy Aldridge rejoined Whitesnake after departing in 2007. Also in Whitesnake are former Night Ranger and Trans-Siberian Orchestra guitarist Joel Hoekstra, former JBLZE bassist Michael Devin, Winger guitarist Reb Beach who has been a member since 2002 and their newest member Michele Luppi (Keyboard). At 66, Coverdale is still one of the top frontmen of the last 40 years and really knows how to put on a great rock show. Whitesnake played their hits “Is This Love,” “Slide It In,” “Here I Go Again” and “Still of the Night.” Their set also featured a guitar duel between Hoekstra and Beach as well as an unforgettable Aldridge drum solo where he threw out his sticks and played with his hands for a portion of it.
Closing out the show was Foreigner. Just like Whitesnake, Foreigner only has one original member in the group-- founder Mick Jones, who has played in every Foreigner show I've been to, despite the fact that he's had to miss shows in recent years and not play full shows due to health constraints. Foreigner has had a number of lineup changes, mostly drummers. However, I would consider this lineup to be the best aside from their classic one. Foreigner is Jones (Guitar/Keyboards), Thom Gimbel (Saxophone, Flute, Guitar) who is the second longest member with the group, former Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson, former Hurricane vocalist Kelly Hansen, keyboardist Michael Bluestein (Enrique Iglesias, Roger Hodgson) Bruce Watson (Guitar) and former Whitesnake/Steve Vai drummer Chris Frazier.
Although Jones joins the band a few songs in, there’s always some type of magic the current Foreigner brings from the moment they walk on stage. From the fog machines to the way Hansen gets the audience moving, the audience is always captivated beginning to end. Foreigner opened with “Long, Long Way from Home,” and broke out one hit after the next with “Double Vision,” “Head Games” and “Cold as Ice.” Jones took the stage half-way through their set starting with “Feels Like the First Time.” The final song before the encore was “Jukebox Hero.”
After an electrifying ten songs, Foreigner came back out for “I Want to Know What Love Is,” with the Rosewood Ave. Elementary School Choir. For the final song “Hot Blooded”, Jason Bonham who was the drummer for Foreigner between 2004 and 2008 took the drum chair. Just three days later Foreigner played a show with both past and present members at the Buffalo Chip Casino in Sturgis, SD. Not too long after, an announcement came out that Foreigner would be playing another four reunion shows later in the year. These reunion shows bring back the classic lineup of Lou Gramm, Dennis Elliot, Ian McDonald and Rick Wills in addition to the band’s current lineup.