There have been some major changes to Journey’s line up in the last three decades. But Arnel Pineda is here now and seems to have the lead singer position secured. Some fans may have questioned the move, he’s basically the Justin Beiber of classic rock having been spotted on YouTube by Neal Schon. But the move worked. Journey brought their platinum songbook to the Shoreline Amphitheater along with the impressive tenor Pineda and for many it must have felt like 1983.
Foreigner opened the show and the always entertaining Kelly Hansen did his job and did it well. The enigmatic relatively new, front man is one of the most entertaining rock stars to have hit any stage. Not only does he hit all the high notes, he ends up twenty rows deep climbing around fans. It almost looks like a routine from a clown at Cirque du Soleil. “Hot Blooded,” ended the set. This show featured two heavy weight bands, both capable of headlining. The tour’s producers did a good job of balancing the personalities, giving both bands a good amount of face time with the audience.
Neil Schon was met with the biggest cheer when Journey filed out onto stage. Pineda went straight for the catwalk, throwing guitar picks, shaking hands and mugging for the iPhone cameras. Schon stayed back and looked cool. As he always does. Even though Schon looks cool eating at the catering table he projects that rock star glow on an arena stage as well. His lead guitar chops haven’t lost anything either as he wailed away to the audience’s delight.
Journey has become what many categorize as a classic or legendary band. But some forget they’re still making music which is flying off the shelves. Two new albums have been recorded since 2008 and many of the newer songs were peppered throughout the 90 minute show. Of course, tickets are sold because of “Wheel in the Sky,” and “Any Way You Want It.” Journey obliged and the show quickly turned into a hit parade.
Journey has conquered the music business. Their records have sold million and millions of copies, they’ve played football stadiums, had critical acclaim and they’re still going strong. Some may be awaiting the Steve Perry and Journey reunion. Who knows if that will ever come. For now Pineda is doing fine. The Amphitheater was filled to capacity and his first album with the group was certified platinum a few years back.
The most popular song, at least in the Bay Area, was played relatively early in the set. This is a San Francisco band after all and “Lights,” was blasted through the amps to a huge ovation. Schon acknowledged the crowd with a wave after that one and it was on to another hit. As it always is with Journey.