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Summerfest,Milwaukee, 1 July 2005

Despite a recent appearance at the Dutch Arrow Rock Festival in Holland, the chances of Survivor playing the UK are as remote as ever so I was delighted when they were added to the Summerfest line-up late on.

Summerfest, incidentally, is a long established, and dirt cheap, ELEVEN DAY festival in a downtown riverside location. It covers all genres of popular music on about ten stages, and in a bid to attract the more mature clientele, a stage is now dedicated to Classic Rock where Survivor headlined the second night of the festival.

With genius songwriter Jim Peterik long departed, guitarist Frankie Sullivan is clearly the dominant force in present day Survivor (though drummer Marc Droubay is still on board). It was him, rather than Jimi Jamison, who introduced the songs and he wastes no opportunity in showing off his rapid-fire guitar prowess, extending the songs well beyond their four minutes or so on record. However a solo instrumental lasting 20 odd minutes was pushing it, even if it allowed Jimi to catch his breath. The voice has lost some of its power and range and seeing him have a crafty smoke before coming on did not inspire my confidence in him.

Interestingly the set included three numbers from the Bickler-era Premonition- Poor manís son, Summer Nights and Take you on a Saturday- but it was the Vital Signs US hit singles- The Search is Over, High on You and a storming Canít hold back- that brought the biggest cheers and still bring a shiver to excitement to me when I hear them. Predicatbly, Eye of the Tiger, with Frankieís son Ryan pounding the drum kit, ended the set though Caught in the game- albeit once again a showcase for frankieís jamming, was a surprise encore.

Survivor are one of the legends of AOR but Iím afraid live they are not a patch on the likes of Journey, Styx or REO Speedwagon.


Review: Andy Nathan

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