Friday, June 19, 2009

Journey - 17 June, Heineken Music Hall

I have been looking forward to this for a few months now. After Steve Perry officially left the band and Journey continued with touring and recording using new singers, I had the pleasure of seeing them at the Arrow Rock Festival in Lichtenvoorde in 2006 with Steve Augeri and again last year at Arrow in Nijmegen with Phillipino Perry-soundalike Arnel Pineda. This concert though would be the first time seeing them play a full set in a convert venue and whether or not new boy Pineda could still deliver the goods.
No disappointments here. The band were on for a two-hour set, combining classics with about half of the tracks of the new album Revelation. The sound was generally good though there seemed to be a bit of mike trouble at the start of the set and Neal Schon´s guitar sounded a bit muddy throughout, until the encore, though that might have been because we were standing so close to the speakers ;). The band opened with Majestic followed by Separate Ways. Jonanthan Cain proved he could master many instruments, playing a harmonica intro together with Schon as a prelude to Wheel In The Sky. Deen Castronovo got to display his marvellous voice on Mother, Father. Ross Valory was pulling all kinds of comical faces all night and Neal, was well, Neal! They extended some of the classic numbers with additional musical arrangments, not sure if they were all to my taste, though it is always good when a band does something different to what´s on the album. Final praise goes to Arnel Pineda who pulled off singing the Perry numbers with ease, sometimes exceeding on vocal range. Couple that with his energetic stage presence and his contact with the audience and you cannot fault his performance.
It´s good to have them back touring again and visiting Europe, which obviously has a decent sized fan base outside of their native US. Journey were for years on my list of bands yet to see, worried that they would never make it back to Europe, especially after Perry left. With shows like the last one, I hope to be seeing them again for years to come.