Springfield Symphony Orchestra, Springfield, MA
October 18, 2015
by Eric Sutter
The Springfield Symphony Orchestra Pops concert series touched off with a unifying force in the sound of the Journey tribute band “Faithfully.” Power ballads mixed with rockers to create a hypnotic effect of heightened appreciation of the glorifying freedom in the spirit of connection to the music and to each band member. As the audience's instinctual attraction to the music grew, it seemed as if the collective unconscious manifested in the music. Somehow, the sounds became ever more commanding to a point of spiritual awareness and clarity.
The Springfield Symphony Orchestra joined the six-member band in celebration, which multiplied the positive vibe. Guest conductor James Fellenbaum was marvelous at keeping the Orchestra in the Rock 'n' Roll mix. Premier rock songs "Anyway You Want It" and "Wheel In The Sky" expanded the good atmosphere outward until it seemed every note of music cried out for freedom.
Notable guitar solos galore included one especially upbeat extended single jam to "Stone In Love" by the amazing Dan Kalisher. Good balance to sound was added by the Symphony strings that enhanced the emotions. Intense vocal harmonies complemented superb lead singers Jesse Bradman and Alisha Zalkin's performances. The delicate "Open Arms" was well done with keyboards, woodwinds, and strings elevating the musical experience.
The band started the second half in a similar clear melodic formula with the dramatic "Lights" sung by Zalkin. Bradman's suppliant take on "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" surged with youthful love. The prominence of keyboardist Will Herrington added to the creative force measurably as did his lead vocal on "Foolish Heart." The exhilarated musical moments of "Faithfully" gave a completely positive mood to all in the audience. Steve Perry would be proud. The rhythm section kicked in once again to "Don't Stop Believin'" which reinforced the mutual connection between the music and the masses in an awestruck ending of excitement.
This was one of the best Pops concerts and made one wish the house rocked full.