where women celebrate their ageless authenticity

A Journey to Experience Journey (Sort Of)

The Alphabet Adventures With Nancy Hubbell Fournier (pronounced Forn yay)

Journey along with our resident humorist Nancy as she embarks on unusual adventures from A to Z. With the alphabet as her guide to new experiences, Nancy rates her excursions as a “Fourn-Yay” or “Fourn-Nay.” 

Letter “J” – Juicing Joyful Memories with Live Music

After Tracy Chapman’s outstanding performance at the 2024 Grammys singing “Fast Car” with Luke Combs, I saw a meme: “If you’re old enough to remember hearing ‘Fast Car’ on the radio, it’s time for your colonoscopy, mammogram and shingles shot.

Check, check and check.

The beautiful thing about music is that it never really gets old…it just conjures up old memories. Why else is “name your first concert” a frequent security question on the never-ending list of password-protected websites that have taken over our lives?

When it was time to pursue a “J” adventure, I queried my friends about what to do. Juggling? Jumping? Jam-making? My friend, Jeff, said “a journey?” and my friend, Jill, said, “take me…my name starts with J.”

So, I combined those thoughts and decided we would go see one of my favorite high school bands: Journey. One problem. The members of Journey are not young.  They toured last year and had no upcoming tour dates. No problem. Let’s see a Journey cover band.

Journey band album covers

I located a performance in Thousand Oaks, Calif., featuring Journey USA, which advertises itself as “the closest thing to ‘70s and ‘80s Journey music you’ll ever hear.” Then I invited Jill, Joanna, Janet, Christine Jo, and other friends without J in their names (Karen, Lisa, Dawn, Suzanna), to join me, Nancy Jo, at Journey. I even bought tickets in Row J. Yes, that’s taking my alphabet theme too far, but whatever.

At a pre-concert dinner, which was kindly hosted by Lisa Carey, founder of IF, I asked everyone to share a favorite memory of a concert, but it didn’t have to be their favorite concert.

  • Jill – When her husband, Cliff, played bass at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go and she was part of the roadie crew.
  • Joanna – Hands down, front row at the Las Vegas Luke Bryan concert.
  • Janet – Seeing Elton John and Billy Joel together and letting the music float her away.
  • Lisa – When she was pregnant at the Rod Stewart concert and she could feel the vibrations through her body.
  • Karen – The Morgan Wallen concert with her husband and two of her boys who sang to her “Thought You Should Know,” a tribute Wallen wrote to his mother.
  • Christine – The Hollywood Bowl with her college friends. “I’m 99 percent sure it was Depeche Mode.” She had so much fun with her crew that the band didn’t really matter.
  • Nancy – On a solo trip to Key West, I caught wind that Jimmy Buffett was playing at Margaritaville, “but if you’re not in line by now, you won’t get in.” Hold my margarita. I rushed over, got in, and danced all night as Jimmy performed cover songs as only he could.

As we arrived at the Journey USA concert, which started right on time (when has that ever happened??), we were greeted with some lesser-known Journey songs, but quickly moved on to their popular hits such as “Lights,” “Any Way You Want It,” and, of course, “Don’t Stop Believin’”. The lead singer did vocal work with Steve Perry during his solo career, and absolutely held his own on all the tunes. Meanwhile, the experienced band members, who have toured with a variety of rock bands, showcased their talents as a group and individually.

The mostly mature crowd sang along, and some danced enthusiastically, but it was clear that everyone was having a good time.

Journey cover band on performance stage

While some might say seeing a cover band is a far cry from the real thing, there are advantages. You can recreate a memorable concert without the travel, cost, and potential disappointment of seeing a favorite performer past their prime (looking at you, Steve Winwood, who didn’t play “Back in the High Life” and Van Morrison who insists on playing all his new music, making his concert, “just a fat guy in a leisure suit,” according to a friend.)

Another advantage to seeing a cover band is that everyone is singing along, and that’s ok. I’m still mad about the drunk guy behind me at the Eagles concert who drowned out every one of their stunning harmonies by screaming off-key lyrics.

Perhaps it was with this guy in mind that I spared my colleagues when asked to join members of Styx on stage at a small company-sponsored performance. I was spotlight-shamed into going on stage and they put a microphone in front of me to sing along with “California Dreamin’”. As the song progressed, the lead singer said, “your lips are moving, but I don’t hear you.” Yep. I may be a horrible singer, but at least I’m smart enough to hide it!

As we mature, it’s clear our favorite performers may be singing their last tunes (RIP Tom Petty, Jimmy Buffett and Don Henley).  So now is the time to see one of your favorite artists playing at a smaller venue, or enjoy a cover band at a local bar or a concert in the park. Perhaps one day I’ll run into you when Taylor Swift is playing at an Indian Casino. I’ll be the one singing along. Or maybe I’ll just be mouthing the words.

post concert photo with band

Fourn-yay: There are so many opportunities to enjoy live music. With a quick search, you can find a band that rekindles fond memories, and bring along friends to make new memories.

Fourn-nay: You may need to temper your expectations about seeing either the original performer or the cover band.  The songs may not be as good as you remember, but you can have fun anyway.

Other J activities: Jump roping, jewelry-making, journaling

Got something fun on your bucket list I should try? We’d love to hear your suggestions at intentfullyfit@gmail.com

montage of fun faces