I’ve seen quite a few “cover” bands in my time. Some were good. Others just OK, while the rest were complete duds. That said, when I hear the word “tribute band”, my ears perk up. The reason being, tribute bands are typically more polished in their craft and live experience.
I’d actually never heard of the Queen tribute band “Queen Nation” until I read that they were slated to play the 2014 Monterey County Fair. When Queen Nation hit the stage on Thursday I knew from the first note it was going to be grand. The band currently consists of Gregory Finsley on vocals & keyboards as Freddie Mercury, Mike McManus on guitar as Brian May, Pete Burke on drums as Roger Taylor, and Parker Combs on bass as John Deacon. Playing through “Queens Greatest Hits” the energy was high. Finsley’s stage presence, vocal caliber and piano playing chops were the highlight for me. The music of Queen is intricate and the band was tight. Harmonies were spot on. My favorite songs were Killer Queen and Under Pressure. Catch these fellas if you get a chance. You can find Queen Nation on their official Facebook page.
Friday night was the historical band “WAR”. The coolest thing to me about this band playing the 2014 Monterey County Fair was that they weren’t a cover or tribute band. No, it was Leroy “Lonnie” Jordan from the original band playing many of the bands classic tunes that made them one of the most influential funk bands to come out of the 70’s. Consisting of ‘Lonnie’, ‘Stuart’, ‘David’, ‘Sal’, ‘Marcos’, ‘Pancho’, ‘Stanley’, the band churned out some of their most popular hits including “Why Can’t We Be Friends” and “Low Rider” to name a few. You can find WAR on their official Facebook page. You can also check out other original WAR members on the official Lowrider Band Facebook page.
On Saturday night, a large crowd gathered to watch the very impressive Journey tribute band “Journey Revisited”. I’d first seen this band live back in 2013 at the Monterey County Fair. They blew the roof off, which is still off as a matter of fact. The current lineup for Journey Revisited consists of Jeff Salado ( Lead Vocals), Val Popovic (Lead Guitar & vocals) Kevin Jachetta (Keyboards) Keytar (Guitar, & vocals) Michael Gonzales (Bass & vocals) and Dave Hawkes (Drums/Percussion).
The first thing I noticed about Journey Revisited was how similar singer Jeff Salado moves and sings like original Journey vocalist, Steve Perry. Salado hits all the right notes and has a great stage presence. He’s interactive with the crowd and takes many photos of the crowd and selfies from the stage. I’ve been a fan of the original Journey band for years and it’s almost eerie how similar Journey Revisited is to the original act. The tribute band performed many top Journey hits including “Don’t Stop Believin'”, “Open Arms”, and my favorite Journey song “Wheel in The Sky”.
In recent history, the original Journey band replaced Perry with the amazing vocalist Arnel Pineda. I tell you what though; check out Jeff Salado sometime if you haven’t already. He gives Pineda a run for his money, and I personally think Salado’s vocal style is even closer to Perry’s than Pineda’s is – and that’s saying something. Find Journey Revisited on their official Facebook page here.
The three nights of free outside concerts I attended with price of admission during the 2014 Monterey County Fair were an absolute bargain. After many midway corndogs, a slice of Pizza and some Fried Gator, I’d say my 2014 Monterey Fair experience was complete and a winner.