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Escape on a Musical Journey in Wine Country

http://https://wordpress.com/post/100477080/11856/Things were heating up at Keyways Winery and it wasn’t just the weather.  Friday night Escape was rocking and they proved to all that they were not just another tribute band.  Some whispered that they sounded more like Journey than the present day band.  In spite of electrical issues that continued to cause audio problems, they showed the ultimate of professionalism and overcame them. The audience for the most part was busy singing and dancing along with the band and was so exuberant at times that it appeared that lead singer Dave Alcantar had to use his microphone stand to defend himself from the onslaught of excited ladies.

The doors opened at 6pm and shortly thereafter our local band The Bash took the stage.  They heated us up with electrifying dance music from the 70’s and 80’s.  The five member band includes vocals from Kepi Payne; vocals and guitar from Kelly Cowan; Skip Noell on keyboards and guitar; J.D. Pickney plays bass and harmonica; and Lonnie Sumrall on drums. During intermission the crowd swarmed the booth that Wahoo’s had set up serving Mexican food which soon sold out.

 There was plenty of wine available and I for one took advanage of that and grabbed a glass (or two) and prepared for the headlining band.  After stumbling through some complications with the audio they aroused the audience with their first song, “Who’s Cryin’ Now.” Escape further ignited the Journey fans when they played “Oh Sherrie” and “Any Way You Want It”.  There were times when it appeared that security might be needed to control the crowd when they overpowered the stage in their high spirits, dancing amongst the members of the band. Stu Simone, music director and in the role of Jonathan Cain worked the stage with his portable keyboard entertaining the assemblage with amazing riffs. Music aficionados may recall Simone from when he played with the group Poison and Heaven and Earth. Multi-talented, Stu is the backbone of the band playing guitar, keyboard and vocals.

A graduate of UCLA and a rock journalist in the 1980’s, Simone hung out with music greats such as Motley Crue, Quiet  Riot and Ratt. Besides Escape he also is the “head head-banger” for another tribute band by the name HAir Guitar that displays over-the-top high voltage rock with all the classic flash and fury of the original 1980’s bands.

Dave Alcantar, as  Steve Perry, shows amazing vocal range and a charismatic stage presence.  With his full head of jet black hair you can easily envision Steve Perry performing.  Alcantar has over 30 years  experience as a vocalist who plays keyboard and trumpet. When he’s not playing with Escape, he also entertains with Dave and Friends.   Many may remember Alcantar when he appeared with the Righteous Brothers and he still maintains a close relationship with Bill Medley. Alex Knoll stepped in for regular guitarist Jay Gore who plays the role of Neal Schon. He was an amazing guitar player and gave a fantastic performance that led you to believe the Schon was actually there.

On bass was Daniel Pearson as Ross Valory, substituting for Marvin Sperling who is on tour with another band. Pearson was formally educated in music from Berklee College of Music where he received a Bachelor’s Degree and still continues to study under many of music’s greats. Pearson’s career goes beyond being a bass player /vocalist as he produces and composes music for film and television. He has worked with innumerable artists such as: Jennifer Lopez, Clay Aiken, Coolio, Sheila E., Taylor Dayne and many more.

Drummer Gary Ponder has been with the band for 10 years and has an impressive resumé with experience in movie soundtracks, commercial and television shows .Performing the role of Steve Smith he completed the Journey ensemble and played to perfection such classics as “The Party’s Over (Hopelessly In Love)” and “Stone in Love.”

The evening came to a screeching halt at 10 pm because of time regulations, but the fans would have had them play on. Their last set included “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’”, “Faithfully,” and crowd favorite “Don’t Stop Believin’.” I never had the chance to see Journey play live, but Escape went back in time emulating Journey classics to near perfection that I feel like I actually experienced a Journey Concert.

The event was sponsored by Keller Williams Realty to provide for their charity KW Cares and produced by Hey Day Events.

Photos by Kat Ellis

Contact Info:

EscapeThe Journey Tribute Band – Contact:  Stu Simone at  booking@escapetribute.com  818-203-8536

Keyways Winery 1-877-KEYWAYS  37338  De Portola Road Temecula, CA 92592   info@keywayswine.com

Heyday Productions Contact:  Robert Rankin Walker  heyday@heyday.com  760-716-6295   http://www.heyday.com

KW Cares http://www.kwcares.org  kwcares@kw.com Crisis Line 866-591-2737

The Bash Contact:  Kelly Cowan  951-205-0754   http://www.thebashtheband.com

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