Journey, July 6 concert, MTS Centre, Winnipeg
The concert of the band Journey at MTS Centre was less attended than the previous one, but musically it was better in certain points. As usual, the band did a great job in presenting their high-quality and well-made music. Keyboardist / occasional guitar player Jonathan Cain and lead guitarist Neil Schon were in their fine forms, producing their sound and melodies crisply and precisely. Bass player Ross Valory was delivering his parts in equal certainty, and with his usual cheerful stage personality. New drummer Omar Hakim did his respective parts to the beat and post, serving as a steady mesh for the whole band. However, more remarkable was the performance of Filipino vocalist Arnel Pineda, who aside from having given justice, as always, to the songs of the band in which he has been the lead vocalist for seven years now, sounded very relaxed, confident, and in a better shape than during the band’s last gig in Winnipeg. Pineda’s animated stage moves and ability to reach the song’s high notes gracefully clearly overshadowed his previous uneasiness. Not just the Filipino concertgoers but the entire audience were cheering and raving on after every song of the band.
Journey started their set immediately with the classic “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” and ended with another favorite, “Don’t Stop Believin’,” apart from the one-song encore. Included in the set were classics like “Open Arms,” “Wheel in the Sky,” “Faithfully,” “Any Way You Want It,” and “Only the Young” as well as a few newer songs like “City of Hope” from the latest album, Eclipse (2011)–which, Pineda said, Schon and Cain wrote especially for Manila (one of the main cities in the Philippines).
Formed in 1973 in California, United States, Journey is a Progressive/Pop Rock band that shot to commercial popularity in the 1980s with the strength of singles like “Open Arms,” “Wheel in the Sky,” and “Don’t Stop Believin’,” especially during the tenure of their former lead vocalist Steve Perry. In the band’s long and enduring career, they have released 14 studio albums, from 1975’s self-titled to 2011’s Eclipse, which was Pineda’s second for the band. The democratic and down-to-earth nature of the band’s chief members and songwriters Schon and Cain has become very apparent during the arrival of Pineda in the group. They did not relegate Pineda to serve as only the singer; they shared the songwriting credits with him as well. In the latest album, two of the dozen tracks had Pineda as a co-songwriter, “She’s a Mystery” and “To Whom It May Concern.”
The concert was worthwhile, obvious in the seeming content of the attenders who gave the band a loud parting applause. Everyone left the venue smiling and partly singing and humming to the melody of the last songs.
Photo by Ron Cantiveros | Filipino Journal