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Package tours pack Detroit area amphitheaters this week
In music, good things come in big packages.
At least venues and promoters hope that's the case.
Pairing bands of similar styles and status is a long-practiced strategy in the concert market, especially during the competitive summer months. The hope, of course, is that the totals are greater than the sum of the parts -- i.e., that one plus one equals more than two and ticket sales that would be better than if the acts toured individually, allowing everyone to, as Steve Millers sings, take the money and run.
Three of this summer's hottest packages hit the metro area this week, moshing together reliable, and complementary, alternative and classic rock bands. Here's a quick look at what each has to offer...
Who: Fall Out Boy, Paramore and New Politics
The Vibe: Hits of the 00s and now the 10s -- "Ain't It Fun" to "Dance, Dance." Both bands came out of the Fueled By Ramen label camp but are touring for the first time together. "There's certainly similar DNA shared," notes Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz. "We came up at different times, but the cool thing about having it come together now is that we share some similar DNA to both our legacies. Our fans have been asking for it for a long time. Getting it together is a big deal for us and a big deal for both our fan bases." Paramore's Hayley Williams adds that, "Our bands really did grow from the same scene and we share a lot of the same fans, yet I think we exist separately, like two individual bands. This is gonna be so perfect to just really celebrate where we've come from and where we're going."
Comeback Kids: Both groups are riding the momentum of No. 1 albums from 2013. Fall Out Boy's "Save Rock and Roll" was the quartet's first in five years and followed a band hiatus, while "Paramore" was the group's first after a hostile parting with two founding members.
Competition Or Cooperation: Williams says that "any competition`s friendly competition. I don't really look at it like that." Wentz concurs, invoking his hometown Chicago Bulls icons as he explains, "It's like (Scottie) Pippen and (Michael) Jordan...You're on the same team at the end of the day. Paramore's an awesome, huge band that has a completely different vibe than us. I think that raises the bar for us as a band to want to perform every single night."
Unified Front: The two groups have yet to do anything together on stage, but Williams predicts that "it's very likely that will happen" at some point of the tour.
Down The Road: Both bands' next albums exist as ideas only at the moment. Wentz says that "we haven't, like, officially started working on any new music. We haven't gone into the studio or anything," but there have been discussions about new music, and a few fresh ideas presented to each other. Williams says that Paramore has "writing going on. Taylor (York) is writing every day; he never really stops making music. everybody seems to be pretty excited about what's going on with Paramore, and that makes us feel awesome and it's crazy to already be kind of anxious to write and record new music. I love that we're already thinking about it."
Monumentour with Fall Out boy, Paramore and New Politics
7 p.m. Tuesday, July 8
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75
Tickets are $38.50-$68.50 pavilion, $28.50 lawn with a $94 lawn four-pack
Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com
JOURNEY, STEVE MILLER BAND, TOWER OF POWER
The Vibe: San Francisco of the late 60s, 70s and 80s. "Don't Stop Believin' " that "The Joker" will tell you "What Is Hip." "The scene was happening," remembers Neal Schon, who was with Santana before forming Journey in 1973. "It was popping. Hanging out in the city through the week and the weekends there were numerous places I could pop in and jam. I thought that's the way it was everywhere. So it'll be good to reunite with everyone." Miller adds that it "was a social phenomenon as well as a musical phenomenon...an unusual creative environment for three decades, really. There was just an amazing amount of creativity that came out of there, and I think that's what shaped bands like Journey and us." Journey bassist Ross Valory, meanwhile, was with the Steve Miller Band from 1971-73.
Jam Possibilities: Nothing's happened yet on the tour, but the door is open. Schon was part of Paul Rodgers' band when it opened for and played a few songs with Miller in 1993 and predicts that "we'll probably end up jamming a bit with everyone" at some point. Schon and Miller crossed paths during a conference call with reporters in May, with Miller saying, "I hope we get some time to jam and have some fun" and Schon telling Miller, "You're welcome to come up and jam with us, too. We'll put out a blues jam and you can come up and just grab it, bro."
Minor Drama: Former Journey frontman Steve Perry caused a stir earlier this year by `revealing that he and Schon had been talking and hinting that a reunion with Journey could be in the offing. Arnel Pineda, Journey's current singer, subsequently said he'd step aside to make room for Perry, but Schon, while confirming he and Perry have been in touch on a friendly basis, says that "we want to assure fans that no, Arnel is not going anywhere. He's still right here with us. He's just a completely awesome human being and singer, amazingly talented. He's been here for six years. He's sounded amazing since he came into the band."
Hall of Fame future?: None of the three bands are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet, though Schon says the distinction is "not a big deal to me. It's pretty much politics, and that's just the way it goes, you know? I have no clue what the real deal is, but Steve Miller certainly has a lot of classic hits, too, huge hits, and for him not to be in there, they should be ashamed of themselves."
Down the road: Schon released a solo album, "So You," in May, while he and Pineda recently recorded a version of the Police's "Synchronicity II" for "Set Them Free," a benefit album for Rock Against Trafficking due out later this year. Journey is planning to return to the studio later this year; keyboardist-guitarist Jonathan Cain says the group plans to revisit older, unreleased material, some from a scratched 2000 album called "Rival," in addition to writing new songs. Schon is also part of a Santana band reunion, with a new album due out "hopefully next year some time." Miller, meanwhile, is selling recently re-recorded version of his 1973 album "The Joker" at shows and is "constantly recording" at his home studio, though a new album is not yet in the offing.
Journey, Steve Miller Band and Tower of Power
6:45 p.m. Wednesday, July 9
DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township
Tickets are $45-$145 pavilion, $38.50 lawn with a $114 lawn four-pack
Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com
THE SOUNDTRACK OF SUMMER
Who: Styx, Foreigner, former Eagles guitarist Don Felder
The Vibe: Rock radio hits galore from the 70s and early 80s -- "Lady" takes "Hot Blooded" residence in the "Hotel California." "It's like a bunch of heavyweight prize fighters getting together," says Styx guitarist James "J.Y." Young. "When you've been heavyweight champion of the world you have the most in common with any other man who's gotten there as well 'cause it takes a special and unique individual..and a certain type of tenacity to accomplish the kind of success we've enjoyed. It takes a certain amount of luck as well, but there's got to be talent and tenacity and skill and resolve. So I guess I look at it like we're a bunch of old heavyweight fighters."
Competition or cooperation?: "There was always that sense of competitiveness," says Foreigner's Mick Jones. "We actually did some big shows with the Eagles, about a week of them, I think, in the early 80s, and we've played with Styx many times over the years. They're very professional guys and a great band and nice people, so it's a good touring situation."
Join Together: Members of the three acts joined forces for new versions of the Eagles' "Hotel California" and Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love" is for a special tour CD. "It's a brilliant song," Jones says of the former. "I think it's one of their best songs ever; it may be THE best song. It's a great song. It's very simple, but I think it really paints a picture, y'know? And it was a lot of fun playing it." Styx's Tommy Shaw has joined Felder on stage to play the song during his set, but there have been no other regular collaborations.
Down the road: Young says Styx is "threatening to start doing some recording, but the time frame of it has not been set." Jones, who's been quietly dealing with health issues, says Foreigner has "plans to start making a new album" after this year's spate of touring, which will include dates playing its landmark 1981 "4" album in its entirety. Felder is "constantly writing demos" of new songs and planned to have a new album out this fall, but the tour has altered his timeline.
The Soundtrack of Summer with Styx, Foreigner and Don Felder
6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 10
Freedom Hill Amphitheatre, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway, Sterling Heights
Tickets are $35-$89.50 pavilion, $10 lawn in advance ($20 day of show)
Call (586) 268-5100 or visit www.freedomhill.net
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