Journey – Concert Review (Charlotte, NC June 9th, 2018)

Yesterday, I did the review on the Def Leppard part of the show (since they opened the show they should get the first review).  Now, it is time to talk about Journey’s portion of the show.  After seeing Lep, I was really pumped and excited to finally see Journey live.  I have never had the pleasure and I can’t believe I missed them in the Steve Perry years.  Journey has survived all these years because they have something a lot of bands don’t really have and that is songs.  Journey’s hits are some of the most loved and admired songs ever.  I mean  “Don’t Stop Believin'” might be the most recognizable song around the world.

The band is still pretty much in tact.  At least the band from the era I grew up with. You have founder Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory and Steve Smith.  All these guys were there doing the early 80’s and their heyday.  11 years ago they added vocalist Arnel Pineda who they found off Youtube and let me tell you what a find he was.  I still wish they would have done more with Jeff Scott Soto, but oh well.  Arnel is pretty darn good vocalist.

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The stage set up was slightly different than Def Leppard’s, but not by much.  They both used the big 40 Foot screen in the back and the 3 large screens up top on the front of the stage.  Journey stripped back all the risers and platforms that Def Leppard used and had a much simpler set up.  Piano on the left, drums in the middle, Ross and Neal up front and Arnel all over the place (more on that later).

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Journey – “Open Arms” (The 45 Single)

One of the most recognizable songs in the Journey catalog was “Open Arms”.  It was from the ‘Escape’ album and the single was released in January of 1982.  The song did pretty damn good and went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, but for some reason it couldn’t hit that #1 spot.  However, that is still one of the highest chart positions the band ever reached for a single if not the highest.

The song is believed by many to be one of the greatest power ballads ever written and is said to be one of the main catalyst for starting the power ballad movement in the 80’s.  The funny thing is that most members of the band other than Steve & Jonathan did not want the song on the album.  It was too sugary sweet for their tastes.  As tie has shown, those members of the band were wrong.

Or were they.  The band became known for this sound and it changed everything for the band from that point on.  They had to have power ballads on every album as they were now expected from the band.  And they did end up writing many more great ones and went on to superstar status.  It did get them huge successes and paydays, but was it worth it?  Probably so.

The song was brought to the band by Jonathan Cain as he already had the melody written when he tried to use it for his previous band, The Babys.  However, vocalist John Waite, was not real keen on the song and said it was too syrupy.  Wow, both bands originally stated the same thing…both were wrong.

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“My First Time” with Journey’s ‘Frontiers’

Love It or Hate It, Journey went down a whole new path with the release of ‘Frontiers’. After the incredible success of the album, ‘Escape’, the ballad became King for Journey. Some feel it was the start of the downfall, others think it is the pinnacle of their success. I think it is a little of both.

With the success of ‘Escape’, Journey was catapulted into the stratosphere of popularity. They were one of the biggest bands in the world.  Steve Perry had the most recognizable voices on the radio and probably one of the absolute best voices on the radio at the time…if not ever.  The man could sing.  But for some reason I still hadn’t bought a Journey album.  When I heard their second single of their latest album, ‘Frontiers’, I finally bought my first Journey album.  The single was for “Faithfully”.

There is so much to love about this album and there is so much to pick on the band for about this album.  Let’s start with the picking on piece first as it is the most fun.  Oh, where to begin…

Let’s start with the album cover…I picture of a futuristic, robotic looking head or maybe a futuristic, human head.  Not sure I get it, but I know it has to do with the name of the album, ‘Frontiers’ as I think the band was saying they were reaching into a new frontier. The amazing artwork from the previous albums was no more.  The whole continuity between all the other album covers was gone…and is sadly missed.

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