Journey has gone through a number of changes throughout the 35 plus years that they have been in existence, but judging by the performance and fan response of the concert performance on Satuday, October 8th at the M Resort in Las Vegas, I think the current set of members is here to stay.
Original members Neal Schon and Ross Valory along with Jonathan Cain and Deen Castronovo have been the core of Journey for a number of years but since Steve Perry left the band, they have seemingly been in audtion stage when it came to a lead singer. Journey stumbled across Arnel Pineda late in 2007 and although it took a while to gain some momentum, it looks as if this group finally has caught on and has really taken on an identity of their own.
Journey was one of the first bands to perform at the new M Resort in Las Vegas and the near two hour set came off beautifully. Journey has as talented of a group of musicians that you will find anywhere and on this night each member put together a flawless performance. As good as Journey was musically, I found the energy that the group came with for the entire night to be even more impressive. The vocals of Pineda are so good that even the biggest Steve Perry fan will find little room to complain and his stage presence is first-rate. The rest of the band are so good on their specific insturments that at times you will get lost in a song as you will drift form the guitar of Schon, Valory on bass, Cain moving around from the guitar to the piano to the harmonica and Castronovo blasting away on the drums while also showing off his voice on occasion
Journey opened the evening with the rocking "Seperate Ways," which got the into a frenzied state that did not let up for the duration of the concert. Journey was right on with nearly every song, letting the fans have all the favorites this night including "Lights," "Open Arms," "Faithfully" and "Lovin', Touchin'." What really let me know that Journey was back was the response of the fans to "After All These Years." This ballad was the first single from Journey that featured Pineda on vocals. The combination of Pineda's strong voice and the smooth backing piano from Cain made this a memorable song and proved that this band has moved beyond the Perry years.
There are bands that have sold more records or performed in front of more people than Journey has, but with that being said, I don't think that there is one song that performed live has the synergy that "Don't Stop Believin" has. This song has almost taken on a life of its own and it was the perfect ending to this memorable night and left Pineda not having to sing as the boisterous crowd was more than happy to take over the singing.
Two years after finding Pineda, it is clear that this particular group of five individuals is Journey. The classic hits of the past are all performed in remarkable fashion, but while the songs of the past live on, the Journey of the present is what you leave the concert remembering.
The outdoor concert venue at the M Resort is sure to be a favorite not only for performers but for fans to attend in the future. There are some great concert venues in Las Vegas, but there really is nothing like an open air concert, you have the natural light of the moon shining down on you, the breezes blowing in from the desert, the stunning blue pool that is the centerpiece of the venue and a flawless acoustical setting. The sound quality was as good as you will find at any live performance, which tells me that the M put in that extra work to make sure that the venue is not only a great setting to watch a concert, but they made sure that the sound quality was equally stunning. Finally, I have to say that there is nothing better than being able to enjoy a concert and then be able to walk up to your room or go grab a bite to eat or do a little gambling without having to fight traffic.
If you missed this concert or you have never had the chance to see Journey perform live you now have the opportunity to experience the next best thing. On October 2nd, Journey released a two-DVD set, "Live in Manila."
For more information on Journey, visit: www.journeymusic.com
For more information on the M Resort, visit: www.theMresort.com