Concert preview: Journey returns to Utah with open arms

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Concert preview: Journey returns to Utah with open arms

Postby tater1977 » Fri Aug 19, 2016 12:18 pm

Concert preview: Journey returns to Utah with open arms

By ERIC WALDEN | The Salt Lake Tribune ... tah?page=1

Fans of Journey may contend the music is timeless, but for those who still abide by mortal increments of chronology, the record will reflect that the band has been going for more than 40 ye—

"Forty-three," founding guitarist Neal Schon interjects in a telephone interview. "Forty-three years now."

Touché. And keeping track of Journey's time should prove quite useful, in fact, for anyone wishing to witness the group's appearance this Sunday at West Valley City's Usana Amphitheatre.

Meanwhile, it's no insult to suggest a 43-years-and-counting run by Journey is a somewhat improbable feat, given that even the only man to be a member for the entire duration considers it thus.

"I don't think any one of us expected us to be here this long," Schon acknowledges.

That Journey has endured myriad personnel changes is hardly unique or even unexpected for a band with a four-decades-plus existence. That Journey has persevered despite such turnover extending to even the lead singer position — Gregg Rolie to Robert Fleischman to Steve Perry to Steve Augeri to Jeff Scott Soto to Perry's vocal doppelgänger, Arnel Pineda — however, makes its survival something of an outlier.

Apparently, when band and singer inevitably go their separate ways, the remaining members don't stop believin'.

"When you're rebuilding something with a key element gone, it takes time to win an audience back, or a new audience," Schon said. "That's exactly what we've done. We've worked our asses off for real."

The time has been there, as Pineda is approaching 10 years with the band. As for the work, Schon says Journey has done much tinkering with the structure of its live performances, ultimately settling upon "a hits set and solos" format that incorporates "the electrifying jamming element of this band" that was a defining staple before it switched gears "and tried to become more popular on radio with Steve Perry."

"We fuse all those elements in our live show, and that's really what sells the tickets — it's not just the greatest hits," he said.

Which is not at all to say Schon discounts the importance of the popular songs.

"Noooooo, you can't [not play them]," the guitarist clarified. "I mean, honestly, if you went out there and didn't play 'Don't Stop Believin',' you'd get s--- thrown at you. And booed off the stage. That's a given, man. They paid to hear that. The way you have to look at is we're lucky enough for that song to be so big that everyone in the audience sings it."

Ultimately, he said, satisfying both camps — those who are there "to see the playability of the band, and the musicianship" and those who simply want the experience of "the whole audience [singing] our songs every night" — is important.

A key component in achieving such balance is that the current lineup closely mirrors the one that played on Journey's two biggest albums, 1981's "Escape" and 1983's "Frontiers." Schon remains on lead guitar, Jonathan Cain is on keyboards and backing guitars, Ross Valory is on bass, and Steve Smith has returned as the drummer.

"I think, when you really get down to it, it's the chemistry that we have together as a band," Schon said. "… We're all there except for Perry — the '80s lineup."

Not that Perry's absence is an insignificant thing, a small detail to be glossed over, to many longtime fans holding onto hope that the singer who departed for good in 1998 will someday, some way find his way back.

Whatever the issues that have kept Journey and Perry apart in the intervening years, Schon offers a reasoned and practical — if slightly bemused — crushing of those reunion dreams.

"I get asked that every day! All I can say is I don't see it ever happening. Arnel has been amazing … and we're one of the few bands that are able to move on," he said. "But I just don't see it happening. Steve's done interviews, and the only thing you can do is tell people to go read his last interview, and he says, 'No, it's never gonna happen.' So, that's him himself saying that. And I'm completely happy where we're sitting."

Still, if it isn't quite accurate to say fans don't care who's singing the songs, the fact that they keep turning up indicates, at least, that whoever's providing the vocals remains a secondary detail to their enduring affinity for the songs themselves — something that's not lost on a humble-bragging Schon.

"Giving credit where credit's due, I think we wrote great material that's stood the test of time," he said. "Between myself and Steve and Jonathan Cain, we wrote a lot of great stuff."

Apparently, in his view, "43 years" old and "timeless" aren't contradictory labels for Journey's music at all.
Perry's good natured bonhomie & the world’s most charmin smile,knocked fans off their feet. Sportin a black tux,gigs came alive as he swished around the stage thrillin audiences w/ charisma that instantly burnt the oxygen right out of the
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Re: Concert preview: Journey returns to Utah with open arms

Postby Loneman1 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:24 am

Great show!! My girl and I had a blast!! Really awesome to see Smitty on the drums live in person.......also to see his solo on his actual birthday. Good times.........
Rock on,
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