Do you remember when rock & roll was fun? Do you remember rock & roll radio? If so, then Generation Radio is for you. Comprised of members who have played on literally hundreds of hits, a night with Generation Radio will bring back memories of listening to the radio in your bedroom, waiting for your favorite song to come on.
Generation Radio is made up of Jason Scheff (Chicago), Jay DeMarcus (Rascal Flatts), Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers), Tom Yankton (Rascal Flatts, Christina Aguilera), and Chris Rodriguez (Keith Urban, Kenny Loggins). Originally, the lineup also included Journey drummer Deen Castronovo who left the band to rejoin Journey. Even though the band released a stellar 2022 debut record of original music, this night was filled with the monster hits of their collective pasts.
Although Castronovo is no longer in the band, Journey songs were still featured prominently in the set, including the opener “Seperate Ways (Worlds Apart)” with a tremendous vocal by Yankton. DeMarcus served as the defacto MC of the evening, introducing songs, telling stories, and entertaining the crowd.
It was apparent from the start that not only are these 5 incredibly talented musicians who love playing live, but they are 5 people who genuinly love and respect each other’s musical pasts. While Scheff, DeMarcus, and Yankton all shared lead vocals equally, it wasn’t necessarily what you would expect. Yankton handled most of the Journey and Tom Petty vocals as well as some of the Rascal Flatts material (such as “Fast Cars and Freedom”), DeMarcus performed his hits (“Broken Road”, “My Wish”) and also some Chicago material (“Saturday In The Park”) and Petty (“Don’t Do Me Like That”). Scheff took most of the Chicago songs (“Will You Still Love Me”, “Hard To Say I’m Sorry”) and even a Journey track (“Anyway You Want It”). Rodriguez had the spotlight for Kenny Loggins’ “I’m Alright”.
The overriding theme of the night was fun. It was a fairly sparse audience considering the star power on the stage, but the band played as though it was a capacity crowd. Midway through the set DeMarcus began asking the crowd for requests from their various bands. While some (“Look Away”) sounded amazing, others (“American Girl”) hilariously broke down as the band had no idea how to play the song. For a band that is there because they love playing together, it’s refreshing to see them laugh at themselves as songs broke down. Rodriguez seemed a little snake-bitten as he had numerous techincal issues throughout the night, but he played through them, including a mid-song mic change that saw DeMarcus swap out Rodriguez’s dead mic with his own.
So many legacy bands hit the road as a money grab, going though the motions when it’s obvious they don’t want to be on stage with each other. Much like their 2022 debut record was, Generation Radio is a shot in the arm that is badly needed in rock. Superstar members who play because they love playing, there’s no agenda, no pretense, just a night of great rock & roll.