May 20, 2016
Gexa Energy Pavilion
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Michael Insuaste
Photos by Kenny Lee
Timeless Rock And Roll Returns To Gexa!
When you think of the band Journey, you think timeless classic rock and roll, big time commercial radio hits and for many, it takes them back to their teenage youth. On tour and making a stop at the aging Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas, Texas, Journey returns to perform to another chock-full house. The best part for me, it fell on a Friday night and the weather was FANTASTIC!
Okay, I'll admit it again, I am not a major Journey fan. In fact, I was not scheduled to cover the show but I sucked it up and attended the show with open arms... ha-ha! Yeah, I may not be a fan but I know talent and good music when I hear it and Journey, with all their experience, band member changes, huge hits and all their history, has proven to be one of the dinosaur rock bands that will not die in the tar pit of classic rock... they will not DIE quietly!
Starting their show with "Separate Way" from their 1983 Frontiers LP had the fans pump'd and on their feet from the front row to the back of the lawn. The venue was PACKED! "Be Good Too Yourself" followed and from their the show was on full tilt motion for a good time as lead vocals Arnel Pineda, the energetic member of the group, brought his game and kept the spark high with jumps and running around like a kid in a candy store.
The best thing about this performance is having Steve Smith back behind the drum kit. From the Journey Hay Day line-up, Steve added a certain punch to each number and too me, I personally like seeing players who actually created the tunes in the first place, especially if they are still alive. The leader of the band is Neal Schon, the founder and lead guitarist who also brings his magic time and time again. Neal never disappoints! He alone has kept HIS band together since conception. From his early daze with Santana, Schon has proven that the music lives on even when adversity strikes. Big Kudos to him for keeping Journey alive all these years!
I am NOT gonna go through song by song simply because every song was familiar and also a timeless piece of rock and roll, except for "La Do Do"... that song 'escapes' me LOL! But the fans knew every one, or it seemed as they sang along with the band, especially the big hits. It was quite amazing to see and hear the passion Journey fans have for this band, THEIR BAND! I get that, but still, I'm not that big of a fan but I do know passion and love for music when I see it.
Show Highlights... and their were many, Jonathon Cain's piano solo that lead into "Faithfully" but not before a quick explanation on how the song was written on a napkin while on the tour bus heading to another city back in 1982. "Lights" was a major fan fav as the venue lit up with cell phones that even had Arnel Pineda impressed. Neal's guitar solo that lead into "Wheel In The Sky" that energized the crowd with one of the bands biggest radio played numbers. To be honest, Neal's guitar solo was fair to midland. Let's face it, he has created some great guitar riffs in the past 40 years or so,and yes, he is a great player but he is NOT a Guitar God. Still, I give him props for being consistent!
As expected the show closers were "Open Arms" and "Don't Stop Believin'" which still makes me think of the Soprano's... can't help it! The final number of the night... wait for it... "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'" was no surprise, at least to me as Journey has kept this same set list for the last three tours, or it seems. Can't blame them, it works!
I don't need to tell any Journey fan who attended the show last night about their performance, they don't need no stinking critic to explain what this band means to them. Journey has reached a level of super stardom and there isn't anyone gonna take that away from them. All I am waiting for is the return of Steve Perry... oh yeah, it will happen!