Review & Photography by Paul Sabin
In these crazy times that we currently live in, the world of live music right now is both exciting and scary.
With so many of us starved of our live music through the pandemic, the anticipation of seeing a real band and soaking up the atmosphere is greater than it been in a long while.
At the same time however, many of the big names are nervous about travelling and risking cancellation of tours and of catching the latest variant. Equally those that do make the trip change astronomical ticket prices which are simply not realistic for the average fan. As result a sub-genre of music has seen a rise in popularity, that of the tribute band.
Historically the “true fan” always shunned these acts as they often were nothing more than a bunch of average musicians in dodgy wigs playing the tracks of their heroes.
That era is passing, and many tributes now give a show that’s equal in content a quality to the original bands themselves.
One such band is A Foreigners Journey. Formed over a decade ago by bassist, Paul Flanaghan and aided on guitar by Ricky Middleton, Italian vocalist Andrea Ojano, Keys play Jon Pease and drummer Ian Ferris, this band faithfully re-create the sound of two the worlds most iconic classic rock bands.
So, with a reasonable sized crowd gathered at The Wharf in Tavistock, the lights go down and smoke drifts across the stage.
As the band arrives on stage, Ricky Middleton proudly displays the Ukrainian flag in support of our European friends, then we head straight into `Escape’ by Journey.
These guys don’t just play the hits, but also the lesser know tracks that diehard fans love like `Ask The Lonely’.
Of course, `Foreigners `Double Vison’, `Waiting For A Girl Like You’ and the softer `Faithfully’ by Journey are all here too.
The pace changes slightly as Andrea Ojano shows that not only does he have a golden voice and Italian charm that makes every woman in the place go weak at the knees, but he is also a great acoustic guitar player as he does a solo spot before the whole band return with a kickass version of `Head Games’.
After a brief interlude the band start set two with `Urgent’ and another costume change from Ojano! No sax available tonight but a stellar solo from Ricky Middleton ably fills the gap. Barely pausing for breath, Journey’s `Be Good To Yourself’ rings out
whos crying now’ slows things down and is then followed by Middleton & Ojano performing an acoustic version of the `Message of Love?’ great stuff! `Feels Like The First Time’, `Cold As Ice’ are up next then audience participation time arrives in the form of `Anyway You Want’ and the crowd laps it up.
Jukebox Hero’ gets the audience ready for three epic encores in the shape of `Separate Ways’, `I Wanna What Love is’ and `Don’t Stop Believin’. The band take their bows to a totally satisfied crowd that loved every second of this evening’s music.
These guys play every track as if their life depends on it, correct to the original but filled with fun and enthusiasm. No wonder they are rated as one of the UK’s top tribute bands!
Take five musicians who know their craft, mix in Italian charm with a killer voice and you having winning formula. No egos, only a common desire to please the crowd are to be found here.
The band clearly enjoy playing live and the bond within the band is strong. Its not all deadly serious as the various light-hearted moments throughout the night illustrated, but what is certain is that every member of that audience went home feeling as good, if not better than having seen the real thing!