LIVE: Journey @ SPAC, 6/14/14

June 23rd, 2014, 4:00 pm by Greg
Neal Schon and Arnel Pineda

Neal Schon and Arnel Pineda

Review by Atsuko Saito
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Since its inception in 1973, Journey has had a history of heavy-hitter personal changes, including keyboardist Greg Rolie (ex-Santana) and drummer Aynsley Dunbar (ex-Jeff Beck Group), but the nucleus of the group’s hit-making era was guitarist Neal Schon, bassist Ross Valory, keyboardist Jonathan Cain and super-vocalist Steve Perry.

However, after three decades or touring, performing, writing and recording a string of world-wide hits including “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Wheel in the Sky,” frontman Perry rejected repeated offers from Schon and Cain to regroup and tour again the mid-2000s. So the band had to find a new lead singer who could continue the band’s legacy and bring it into the future.

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LIVE: Journey @ SPAC, 9/2/11

September 9th, 2011, 2:00 pm by Greg
Neal Schon and Arnel Pineda of Journey

Neal Schon and Arnel Pineda of Journey

Steve Perry’s vocals may have defined Journey’s sound in the 1970s and 1980s, but that was then. In the now, Philippines-born singer Arnel Pineda has taken over the vocal duties and propelled Journey back to the top of touring success.

It’s uncanny how Pineda nails Perry’s vocals to perfection on “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Wheel in the Sky” and “Any Way You Want It.” It’s also interesting to note that more than seven years ago, guitarist Neal Schon found Perry’s successor on YouTube where he was doing karaoke imitations of Journey tunes.

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Flashback: Blotto Meets Journey, 1979

February 18th, 2010, 1:34 pm by Greg

Yeah, I know. After all of the hoopla last week regarding the Blotto reunion concert at the Exit Dome, you probably don’t want to hear about Blotto for another, well, say, 30 more years.

I don’t blame ya. Me, either.

But there is that funny Blotto story about jamming with some of the guys from Journey at 17 Maple Ave. in Saratoga Springs (now known as Mare). Tom Keyser alluded to it in his Preview cover story in The Times Union last week. And you can read the whole story as I wrote it about a decade ago.

But it just so happens that Steve Smith – who was the drummer in Journey back on that fateful night in 1979 – is headed into the Van Dyck in Schenectady for two shows (6 & 9:30pm) on Sunday evening with his current band, Steve Smith’s Jazz Legacy.

The lineup of Smith’s band also features alto saxophonist Andy Fusco (Buddy Rich/Mel Lewis); tenor and soprano saxophonist Walt Weiskopf (Buddy Rich/Steely Dan); pianist Mark Soskin (Sonny Rollins/Herbie Mann); bassist Baron Browne (Vital Information/Billy Cobham).

“Part of our mission will be to perform music honoring great drummers of jazz history,” explains Smith. “We have charts dedicated to Philly Joe Jones and Art Blakey, and we’re developing new material for each tour. We also intend to carry on the tradition of many of the drummer-led jazz bands, which is to communicate with music lovers of all generations, strive for excellence and play non-compromising, burning, straight-ahead jazz.”

Sounds good to me. Maybe I’ll have to drop by on Sunday, and say hi to our old pal Steve.

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