Welcome to the Stadium of Fire edition of Health & Wellness!
The annual big event of America’s Freedom Festival at Provo is scheduled for Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium. This year’s headliner is popular ’70s-’80s rockers Journey. The band previously headlined Stadium of Fire in 2015. Since then, Journey has been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Class of 2017) and just recently completed a lucrative 50th-anniversary tour.
“When Journey headlined Stadium of Fire in 2015, we had never seen guests in the stadium so excited,” said Jim Evans, executive director of America’s Freedom Festival, reflecting on Journey’s last performance. “People young and old danced and sang along to every word to every song. Journey’s hits are so ingrained in our national culture. We are so eager to have them back, and we wish them a huge congratulations on 50 years of incredible music!”
We’ve all undoubtedly heard a certain song come on the radio only to have it immediately transport us emotionally to a specific time or memory in our life. That’s the power of music. But music isn’t just great for the memory. Research has also shown that listening to music can reduce pain, anxiety and blood pressure, as well as improve mood, mental alertness and sleep quality. What’s not to be “stone in love” with any of those benefits?
With Stadium of Fire fast approaching, let’s Journey through time and look at lyrics from five of the band’s songs guaranteed to light a positive mental fuse at Saturday’s intersection of music and fireworks.
This song, off the 1978 album “Infinity,” was one of Journey’s early radio hits. Featuring a lead vocal by then-keyboardist Gregg Rolie, the song contains this lyrical passage:
Give me all of your sunshine
A spark is all I need
To take away, all of the shadows
Well what more can I say?
First of all, we know that sunshine — in proper amounts — is a health benefit for several reasons. The sun’s UV rays help your body produce vitamin D, providing a boost to your blood cells, immune system and bones while also helping you take in and use minerals such as calcium and phosphorus.
Additionally, sunlight boosts the production of serotonin, a chemical in your brain that can give you more energy than a Neal Schon guitar solo while helping keep you calm, positive and focused.
But, come on: When you’re talking about Stadium of Fire and its cacophony of fireworks, you can’t escape mention of “A spark is all I need.” Looking at it in conjunction with Stadium of Fire gives it an entirely new meaning, doesn’t it?
“Any Way You Want It”
She loves to laugh
She loves to sing
She does everything
She loves to move
She loves to groove
She loves the lovin’ things
The above lyrical passage from this hit off the 1980 album “Departure” is like an ode to a litany of good mental and physical health tips.
- Laughter? It’s the best medicine — and it’s a fantastic stress reliever.
- Love to sing? You don’t have to be able to carry a tune to reap health benefits — you just have to let loose with some joyful noise. Whether that happens in the shower, your room or in a large crowd is up to you. Benefits of singing include an immune system boost, the release of endorphins, potentially improved snoring, increased lung function, an upgrade in mood and mental health, an offset to grief and a sense of belonging and connection when singing in a large group (such as a stadium with 50,000 of your closest friends).
- Love to move? This sounds like an exercise reference to me! And you know what makes exercise even more enjoyable? Listening to music that pumps you up or inspires you.
- Love to groove? Exactly how Stella got her groove back may elude many of us, but researchers posit that getting “into the groove” of a pleasure-inducing song while sitting enhances prefrontal cortex executive functions. Groovy! Apparently, my primary prefrontal cortex executive function revolves around reaching over and turning the volume up.
In summary, any way you want it, that’s the way you need it. It’s that simple.
“Wheel in the Sky”
The majority of this monster hit, also from the “Infinity” album, is former frontman Steve Perry’s soaring vocals detailing the travails of incessantly being on the road — in the winter, no less — and missing life at home. But just when you think the life of a touring musician may not be exactly as you envisioned it, Perry plaintively drops this line:
The morning sun is risin’
It’s kissing the day
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been driving somewhere when the sun peeks over the Wasatch Range resulting in an extraordinary sunrise and these lyrics have immediately entered my mind. No matter what kind of hectic day awaited ahead, there was always a moment of emotional buoyancy and peace thinking of this lyric. It never failed to offer a ray of clarity that no matter how crazy things got in the course of the day, there would always be a tomorrow to try again.
“Be Good to Yourself”
One of Journey’s catchiest songs — off the 1986 album “Raised on Radio” — is also one with an important self-help message.
When you can’t give no more
They want it all but you gotta say no
I’m turnin’ off the noise that makes me crazy
Lookin’ back with no regrets
To forgive is to forget
I want a little peace of mind to turn to
Be good to yourself
When nobody else will
Oh be good to yourself
You’re walkin’ a high-wire, caught in a crossfire
Oh, be good to yourself
When it comes to taking care of yourself, sometimes you have to look inward, figure out what you need most and momentarily say no to anything else that might infringe on your own health and wellness. Good advice all the way around.
“Don’t Stop Believin’”
We all knew where this lyrical list was going to end up, didn’t we? But the universal battle cry to hold onto your goals and dreams still resonates today, whether you’re taking the midnight train to anywhere or the late-night UVX to Orem Central Station. (UVX, incidentally, is offering free rides for patrons traveling to and from Stadium of Fire. Just saying!)
Some’ll win, some will lose
Some are born to sing the blues
Whoa, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searchin’ in the night
Livin’ just to find emotion
Hidin’, somewhere in the night
Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to that feelin’
The process of setting goals shouldn’t be something that induces stress. But following your dreams typically involves a series of smaller steps all aimed toward the big prize. When you set goals, make them realistic and achievable. Completing those along the way will often improve your self-esteem and steel your resolve.
Incorporating music into your life — especially by pushing play on songs that alternatively fire you up or calm you down depending on your needs at any particular moment — can be a great way to be good to yourself in the realm of health and wellness. That’s true whether you’re a small-town girl, a city boy or even raised in South Provo.
Doug Fox is a project manager at Stage Marketing, a full-service content marketing agency based in Pleasant Grove.