Why I Didn’t Want to See Journey in Concert
For years I avoided seeing Journey in concert because Steve Perry was no longer in the band.
I refused to see them at the Gorge at George when John Waite was helping them out on vocals (he was also in Bad English with guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain, so this made sense). And I freakin’ love John Waite! The guy’s got a terrific voice. But it’s not Steve Perry’s voice.
In my mind Perry was too important to Journey’s sound to enjoy anything less.
What Changed My Mind?
In 2013 I saw a trailer for the documentary Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey and my curiosity was aroused.
Watching the film, I got pulled into the story of Arnel Pineda, a singer from the Philippines who was plucked from relative obscurity to front his favorite band – Journey.
Pineda wasn’t a perfect clone of Perry – his phrasing was different, and that’s fine. But his voice was strikingly similar to Perry’s as he belted out songs that even your kids know the words to. And his energy? Wow! He was all over the stage like some sort of Spiderman/rockstar hybrid.
Watching the Journey/Pineda doc, I also remembered how much I love Neal Schon’s sizzling, melodic guitar playing, and Jonathan Cain’s harmonies and keyboards.
Why was I punishing Journey because Steve Perry was no longer in the band? Why was I depriving myself of seeing these world-class musicians?
Breaking the Seal
A few years back, my wife and I happened to be in Las Vegas when Journey were performing at a local arena. We bought tickets at the last minute – nosebleed seats (I could literally touch the back wall) and enjoyed every minute of Journey, live in concert.
I expected the band to sound great – and they did. What I didn’t expect was a full-blown stage set-up, with a giant video screen behind the band, keeping things interesting visually; thematically.
Let’s face it, many of Journey’s peers are playing no-frills concerts in small casinos. But I don’t think I could’ve gotten a better show in the band’s 80s heyday than I did that night in Vegas.
I still love Steve Perry’s voice. And I’m glad he’s making new music again. Maybe someday we’ll get the Perry/Schon/Cain reunion we all want (I’m not holding my breath).
I did manage to see Perry in the mid-90s, supporting his second solo album. He performed solo hits, Journey classics and was the consummate entertainer. It was a great show.
But I realized that the “hired guns” on stage with him, while good, paled in comparison to Schon and Cain. How’s that for irony?
Avoid FOMO and Just Go See Journey Already
If you decide not to see Journey at one or more of their three Northwest tour stops, you’re going to regret it. You’ll have mad FOMO.
You’ll be sitting at home, or perhaps at an inferior event, as your friends and co-workers populate your Facebook feed with photos from the concert. And then, instead of a selfie and a concert t-shirt to prove you were there, all you’ll have is regrets.
I won’t live with any more regrets. I’m going to see Journey again.
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