|Gin Blossoms lead singer Robin Wilson ventured into the crowd during the band's set at Jack's 7th Show on Sept. 15.|
With six artists performing over the course of exactly six hours – Missing Persons kicked things off at 4:48 p.m. and Joe Walsh wrapped everything up at 10:48 – Jack’s 7th Show offered up a menu sure to please casual concert-goers out to party hard on a Saturday night.
With all acts playing relatively short sets at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, hits were the main course, giving the audience all the substance they needed to feed on at an event that started at about the same time temperatures mercifully began to drop from the 100-degree mark.
Ironically, it was on a similarly blistering day almost 30 years ago that Missing Persons and Walsh shared the same stage at the US Festival. This writer’s most vivid memories of that concert (May 30, 1983, at Glen Helen Park in San Bernardino) is how Missing Persons was placed in a true no-win situation when that band had to follow just-breaking U2, which simply blew away the massive crowd with one of the most compelling sets ever in Southern California.
Walsh, who went on much later that day under cooler skies, delivered a solid set that lacked the power of U2 or David Bowie’s impressive finale, yet it was exactly the sort of entertaining rock show he brought to his headlining 75-minute turn in Irvine on Saturday (Sept. 15, 2012).
A successful member of several classic bands (principally James Gang and the Eagles), the 64-year-old Hall of Famer also has scored with solo smashes along the way. This night Walsh performed a bit of everything in a cohesive and winning set, launching with his 1973 hit “Rocky Mountain Way.”
Highlights centered on his distinctive vocals and slide guitar work. Crowd favorites came courtesy of the comedic “Life’s Been Good” and Eagles tracks like “In the City” and the night-ending “Life in the Fast Lane,” but even better were his tribute to late friend and Band drummer Levon Helm (via “I Shall Be Released”) and the weighty title track from his June return Analog Man, Walsh’s first solo album in 20 years.
|Toto's Steve Lukather|
But the singer, her husband-guitarist-keyboardist Neil Giraldo and their backing band definitely pleased the crowd with hard-rocking versions of “All Fired Up,” “Invincible,” “Promises in the Dark” and the finisher, “Heartbreaker,” which included a middle break where Benatar and Giraldo effectively sang a bit of the Johnny Cash classic “Ring of Fire.”
Like poor Hammer, Missing Persons, still led by singer Dale Bozzio, faced a mix drowned in low end. Still, the group offered up energetic versions of New Wave favorites like “Mental Hopscotch,” “Words” and their best song, “Walking in L.A.,” much to the delight of those who braved the heat and got to the show early.