Another great Saturday night for 101 the 80s. We went to the Tally Ho Theater in Leesburg, VA to attend a high-energy show by the excellent Journey tribute band Trial by Fire. The North Carolina-based band played to a raucous packed crowd for a nearly three-hour show as a follow up to their sold-out Friday night performance in Raleigh, NC. Trial by Fire showcased all of the great Journey Songs spanning the 1970’s through the 1990’s and weaved in a few Steve Perry solo tracks as well.
Lead vocalist, Ernie Shepherd, brought Steve Perry’s range and emotion to life on such Journey power ballads as “Open Arms,” “Faithfully,” “When a Man Loves a Woman,” “Who’s Crying Now?” “Girl Can’t Help It,” and of courses, “Don’t Stop Believing.” Guitarist Scottie Jordan steps into the Neal Schon role and knocks it out of park. Jordan’s guitar playing is seasoned and controlled on all the Journey songs and hits all the right notes. Jordan’s solo rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner,” is Hendrix-worthy. Keyboardist Don McCray fills in for Jonathan Cain and doesn’t miss a beat. Drummer Dan Ross keeps the music and the tempo moving in the right direction on all the songs much in the same way as Steve Smith. Bassist Rich Barefoot who also fills in on lead vocals plays the bass with the same vigor as Ross Valory.
Prior to the show, Ernie Shepherd and Scottie Jordan, two of the nicest guys you want to meet, sat down with 101 the 80’s to talk about Trial by Fire and Journey. Shepherd said that the current group of Trial by Fire has been together for four years and everything seems to click. Shepherd formed the band 11 years ago in Charlotte, NC. Shepherd now makes his home in Greensboro, NC. Shepherd indicated this was the best group of guys he has played with. Jordan opined that the group really does feel like a family. Shepherd manages the day-to-day operations of the group on a full-time basis. The wide ranging discussion focused on the current make-up of Journey and the persistent question, is Steve Perry coming back? Shepherd believes it is unlikely given Perry’s age and the strain of touring. Jordan who embodies a classic rock look, talked about his music influences such as Led Zeppelin, Foreigner to name of few. Shepherd indicated the group has an ambitious tour planned for 2018.
When you need a Journey fix, Trial by Fire fills in nicely. There was nothing but smiles from the audience last night. Each Journey song evokes a memory. That’s the power of Journey’s music and Trial by Fire does not disappoint. If you’re a Journey fan don’t hesitate to see this group. Looking to hear Journey and more great ’80’s music? Listen in to 101the80s!