Journey/Bon Jovi Tribute Band

CALUMET – While Journey and Bon Jovi can still pack them in, it is difficult to get tickets for either band in a venue that is relatively nearby. The Calumet Theater will be offering a two-for-one special with the Journey/Bon Jovi Tribute Band this Saturday.

Gary Bivona is the musical director for the band and also plays the piano. Bivona said the whole thing started when he saw an ad for a Journey tribute band that was being put together. He went and auditioned and faced competition from at least 100 other people. But he was eventually chosen to be a part of the band. The man he auditioned for said he wanted to put a band together, and Bivona said all he needed was three months to put a band together.

“It actually took me about five months to find a lot of really, really good guys that are versatile, and shortly after that we started Bon Jovi so we could do two shows,” Bivona said.

The band currently consists of Bivona, drummer Jerry O’Malley, Kam Falk on bass, guitarist Clint Ettorre and Charlie Viagas on vocals.

Bivona said the band felt it wasn’t really worth it to go away for one night to do a show, so they added the Bon Jovi element.

“It was great. We’d do Bon Jovi on a Friday night and Journey on a Saturday night,” Bivona said. “But now it’s taken off so much that we do both shows and we’re still packed on Friday and Saturday. It really was a great idea.”

The band performs on a somewhat regular basis, with an average of about six gigs a month.

The music for Journey and Bon Jovi will be separated, with the band usually starting out doing some of Bon Jovi’s biggest hits and then moving on to Journey. The show is also equipped with costume changes to get the full feeling of each band.

Bivona said that people who come see the show can expect to brought back to what Bivona considers to be the greatest time for music.

“It really is the feel of the ’80s and everybody after the show, they thank us,” Bivona said. “They’re happy. It’s just a night of hits.”

About two months ago during Daytona, they played two hours and 15 minutes of Journey music.

“People were going nuts and that’s what this band does,” Bivona said. “This band’s a machine. Everybody is just really good musicians.”

While they have played in areas like Central and South America, they have never played as far north as they will be when they play The Calumet Theatre.

“This is really exciting for us, but I heard we’re going to freeze,” Bivona said.

The band will perform Saturday at The Calumet Theatre. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.

Edit: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that Journey still performs regularly.