40 Years ago Journey First Concert
On December 31, 1973:
It’s impossible to predict the future, but it seems safe to say that no matter what happens this New Year’s Eve in the world of classic rock, it won’t measure up to Dec. 31, 1973, when future rock titans Journey and AC/DC both played their very first concerts on the same night.
The Journey lineup featured at this San Francisco, California show was very different from the pop-friendly version of the band that ruled arena rock in the ’80s. Keyboardist Jonathan Cain (who joined in 1980) and singer Steve Perry (1977) were nowhere to be found. Instead, attendees witnessed a progressive rock-leaning semi-supergroup led by former Santana members Neal Schon and Gregg Rolie. The lineup also featured Ross Valory and George Tickner from Frumious Bandersnatch, as well as drummer Prairie Prince.
Rolie sang lead vocals, but the primary focus was on the group’s instrumental prowess, which they displayed during a nine-song set at their hometown’s Winterland Arena. Highlights included a cover of the Beatles‘ ‘It’s All Too Much’ and several tracks (‘Mystery Mountain,’ ‘Topaz’) that would wind up on their 1975 self-titled debut album.