May 25, 2014
Gexa Energy Pavilion
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Michael Insuaste
Photos by Terry Walsh
Journey Rollin' Strong And Packin' Them In!
The last time I saw Journey perform live was at Reunion Arena on their Raised on Radio tour in 1986. Steve Perry was still their lead vocalist and they even had American Idol judge Randy Jackson on bass. Many transformations have occurred since then, mainly among the band members, but one thing that has not changed is the dynamic stage performance by this iconic 70's band from San Francisco, CA.
The show took place at the Gexa Energy Pavilion, Fair Park's outdoor amphitheater. Attendance could be hit or miss depending on the weather, but it turned out to be a full capacity crowd as the floor seating and the entire lawn area were filled to the top! I was quite taken by how many people came out to see this show.
Oakland, California R&B band Tower Of Power opened the show to a somewhat responsive crowd. Let's face it- most everyone here came to see local Dallas homeboy Steve Miller and of course, Journey. Still, TOP energized the crowd and provided a diverse style of music to get the show rolling.
The Steve Miller Band, on the other hand, had the restless crowd on their feet and pumped! Miller, with handfuls of top 40 hits in his pocket, has a wide selection of songs to choose from. Looking sharp in his chrome-like jacket and dark sunglasses, Steve delivered an effortless, outstanding performance. A veteran of the stage, Miller is a class act that proves you don't have to act like a rock star to be respected as one!
As the sun set and the rains passed, Journey took the stage and came out with a bang! Right off the bat, Journey laid out "Be Good To Yourself, " "Separate Ways" and "Anyway You Want" that fired up the entire house from the front row to the back of the lawn. It was absolutely insane how everyone was so into this band. Did I mention Steve Perry is not in Journey anymore? No matter, because nobody cared. Arnel Pineda, who has been Journey's front man since 2007, came out blazing. Along with drummer Dean Castronova, who is a monster behind the drum kit, they both have given the band a much-needed boost onstage and added such an upswing that has literally given Journey new life not seen since the early eighties!
Founding member Neal Schon came on strong and robust in typical rock star fashion, sporting a black leather vest and cool black shades. His original guitar technique, style and tone are unmistakable. Neal, who joined Santana in 1971, is one of the few guitarists today that has regained and maintained his stature through the many changes Journey has endured and the unpredictable music scene in general. He, along with bassist Ross Valory and keyboardist Jonathon Cain, has proven that Journey's timeless music continue to enlighten generations of fans, young and old.
Time to grab a brew as the band added a few off-the-wall, not-so-commercially well-known songs to this tour's set, such as "Mother Father" and "She's A Mystery." No matter, the audience seemed to enjoy them and the band did not disappoint by bouncing back with classic hits like "Lights," "Open Arms" and one of the biggest numbers of the night, "Anytime," performed with such precision it left many of the female fans standing around me breathless. Pure magic!
Like all great concerts though, they have to come to an end. This one was for sure one of those shows where the crowd was left satisfied but wanting for more. The concert ended with the band's top hits "Faithfully" and "Don't Stop Believing", during which huge explosions of confetti filled the amphitheater from all sides. After a brief disburse of the band, they returned for one last song, the one song that gets all the ladies, how can I say... excitable: "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'."
To me, Journey is not a rock band to hold the title ' Rock Gods,' but I know talent when I hear it, and tonight this band put on a great performance. From what I could see, the fans were not disappointed. Journey is definitely riding high on this tour and for the moment, the world is their stage!