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Journey founder plays concert to raise money for victims of

Postby tater1977 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:24 pm

Journey founder plays concert to raise money for victims of North Bay fires

By: ADAM READER / Mar 09, 2018

http://www.good4utah.com/news/entertain ... 1027090337

SAN FRANCISCO -- (Adam Reader/ professorofrock.com) A few weeks ago at a San Francisco club called the Independent I was transported back to the year 1978, possibly 1977…I was taken to a time before autotune corrupted the natural, emotions of the human voice, to a time before beats, loops and hooks ruined the traditional pop song by undercutting rhythm and melody. I was taken to a time before concerts became a full blown rave filled with millions of lights, perfectly choreographed dancers, huge LCD screens and over produced backing tracks.

This place I found myself in held about 500 passionate rock fans, with a small stage, featuring 5 musicians scrunched together, and when I say musicians, I mean that every last one of them was playing an instrument with a fervor that cannot be defined by mere words. It wasn’t an indie band, though they played with the hunger of one. It was Neal Schon founder of the band Journey”. Ya that Journey. The one that has sold over 100 million records, the band that was just inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the one that has sold out stadiums the world over too many time to count. Only this wasn’t the Journey you’ve seen storming arenas lately. What I and the sold out, standing room only fans witnessed was a mystical combination of long ago and recently past, combined with some present and that frankly should be… the future! I hope it will be and I doubt you would find even one human being in the sold out crowd from that night that would think any different.

The show was in every sense of the word, inspired. I’ve seen Journey live at least 15 times in my life at just about every phase of their history and I’ve never seen an iteration of the band play quite like this. Starting with Neal Schon who performed like it was his last night on earth. I literally saw smoke coming out of his fingertips, his playing was not only innovative, his tone was ridiculous, and his energy was galvanizing to everyone in attendance. I mean come on, everybody knows what has now become one of the great rock and roll urban legends of the last 50 years, where upon, a young Neal Schon was plucked out of early high school by Carlos Santana, after jamming with B.B. King, as well as having Eric Clapton recruiting him on the side at the very same time. They were all betting on this 15 year old wunderkind. It’s a bet that’s paid dividends many times over, most especially on this perfect night at the Independent, where Neal not only turned back the clock by playing songs form the very early days of Journey, along with a few from the Santana era but playing them with so much drive that it reminded all in attendance of the true power of rock and roll. All in all, for the day, Neal crossed over into a place where only a handful of Rock Gods have walked.

The rest of his brothers followed suit, with founding member Gregg “Lightning Fast Fingers” Rollie on organ, throwing down the gauntlet of fire especially on the magnificent opening of Journey’s instrumental classic “Kohoutek. Rolie’s passion and joy were one of the many highlights of the night.

Marco Mendoza (from the Dead Daisies and a frequent collaborator on Neal’s projects) laid down the low end with a funked out frenzy that not only emanated from his amp but also his vocals, for example, on the song “Hustler” from Journey’s 1977 record “Next”, He evoked the spirit of Prince with his high end yelps that brought the song to a fever pitch.

John Varn was also present on keys with some great backup including some great feels on “Don’t Stop Believin’ adding a new layer to the classic.

And last but certainly not least, dynamic Deen Castronovo on drums, who has been a huge part of Journey for 18 years. Deen began a massive comeback on this special night filling in for the irreplaceable and perfect rock voice of the other God of the classic Journey lineup, Steve Perry. Talk about an impossible task!!! An impossible task made even more futile by the fact that Deen would be attempting these hallowed songs while sitting down at the drum kit. Anyone who has seen Journey over the last decade knows that Deen has pulled the rabbit out of the hat once a night on several tours, covering the improbable vocal obstacle course-of-a-song known as “Mother, Father,” but that was one song a night, not 30 plus songs in one sitting. But, this was a night of magic that smiled upon Mr. Castronovo, who not only got through the songs unscathed but belted them out with a gusto, grace and power that Steve Perry himself would’ve said “well done my good and faithful servant”.

I was blown away by Deen’s feel for the songs, as well as his humble approach and devotion and respect for the material, much of which hasn’t been played live for decades. There was a palpable and spirited chemistry between his voice and Schon’s Guitar that I don’t know if we as Journey fans thought we would ever witness live again. Especially on a thee song acoustic set that began the second set with the classic “Patiently” and ended with “Stay Awhile”, that not long after Deen’s eloquent closing of the beautiful ballad, he stopped to give Neal a kiss on the head that for anyone that knows Deen’s story was a tear jerker. This was but one of a few moments of gratitude through out the night spoken to Journey’s Father, Neal Schon, who not only has an amazing history of giving promising underdogs a chance, but also giving second chances, that is a rare thing in an unforgiving world. It was touching to witness, not only what I’ve just described but also touching to watch five musicians who genuinely love each other and were all gelling in a harmonious and triumphant way. It was poetry in motion.

I’ve mentioned a few of the highlights, there are a few others that I have to cover. The opening shot, a scorching rendition of “I’m Gonna Leave You’ from Journey’s debut album set the tone for the evening as it absolutely leveled the fans. A cool moment toward the end of the song was Neal taking the solo into overdrive while an older fan in front of him thrust the “Rock and Roll” sign of the horns fist in the air, just as the overhead lights hit it perfectly to form a shadow puppet of it just below the neck of his blazing guitar. It was not only achingly beautiful and cinematic, it was an appropriate symbol, (that though pronounced dead by the media many times over), Rock and Roll is alive and well.

Look into the Future was next with a rousing solo and astounding spark from the band as a whole, a title of a song that described the fan’s hope of this project…

“La Do Da” was just incredible, along with a nice little snippet of Led Zeppelin’s “How Many Times”
“Walks Like A Lady”, was a revelation. Deen left it all on the stage, hitting notes at age 60 that a a great tenor half his age would thank the good Lord for. With some dangerous blues licks by Neal that balanced it out.

“Feeling That Way” was one of my personal favorites of the night, as Gregg gracefully sang the first verse setting up the classic punch you in the face drum feel and high pitch vocal that always brings the house down, this time with Deen’s elegant phrasing “Standing by the Li-i-ight” , followed by the otherworldly gleam of melodic guitar that collectively made us all fall in love with this band 40 years earlier. It was so fresh, it was like hearing it for the first time. Looking around at the fans, smiling at one another singing every word of a song that wasn’t a hit, but classic to us just the same.

Going into “Lights”, which has no doubt been done on every tour stop since it was conceived by Neal and Steve back in the day, was so inspired that it felt like a religious experience, especially in the heart of the very city the two created the song about, that gave way undisturbed to “Still They Ride”, a minor hit from the diamond selling blockbuster, “Escape” that was entirely unexpected but, just as sweet… With the first set closing with classics from the rock canon, the scorching, Separate Ways, soulful, Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin’ and classic rock radio standard, “Wheel in the Sky”.

The second set was where a peak was finally established (although there were quite a few). “Of A Lifetime” was perfectly and mind bogglingly fantastic!!! Neal’s soloing at the end may have been the greatest guitar moment i’ve every witnessed in person. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, let alone hearing, I still can’t. It was the music equivalent of Michael Jordan’s 63 point playoff game against the Celtics in the 80s. For me and many others, it was the moment of the night. This spectacular peak was kept up by “Just the Same Way”, “Where Were You”, “Loving you Is Easy”, and “Lady Luck”, that gave way to “You’re on your Own” a deep track that was so masterfully executed by Neal that it’s almost as if he threw every body on his back and took the hill with a grenade between his teeth. It was an awesome sight for the eyes to see and ears to hear. After hearing a multitude of songs form the first four albums, 15 to be exact, the band ended on two of their classic rock standards “Anyway You Want It” and of course “Don’t Stop Believin’ before taking a well earned encore, only to come back and reward the still energized crowd to Santana classics, “Black Magic Woman”, with a welcome Gregg Rolie vocal and impressive Neal Schon Guitar line, with the last song being “Oye Como Va."

To top it all off, Neal Schon and his wife Michaele put the entire night together to benefit the victims of the North Bay Fires Relief, raising money for those in need.

As the lights came up and fans prepared to go back out into the real world of 2018, the buzz and energy was electric. Many conversed that they had been waiting for what they had just witnessed for 40 years, while others shook their head in disbelief at the incredible chemistry and musicianship apparent on the stage through out the night. But, the collective result of the one night concert was that it was as real and inspired as a band carrying a version of the name Journey in the title, has been since at least the 80s.

What a wonderful experiment, that Neal and the others took by building the majority of the show around the formative years, with many non singles and deep cuts. Which flies in the face of the “play the hits formula” that not only Journey, but many legendary bands and artists are almost forced to muster through to please the middle of the road fanbase in opposition to the died in the wool fans, who relish the chance to hear something outside of the big hits. It’s that circus balance act of art vs commerce, with commerce winning out most every time. But this night was a vote that really favored both sides. They still played the hits, but they built a force around them with the deep cuts that in some ways, outpaced the singles. Re-introducing songs that could’ve and even should've been classics to a rabid fan base hungry for connection.

There were a few early twenties millennial with me, who are more apt to EDM and straight up pop than any thing that was released before 2012. Interestingly enough, they were absolutely blindsided by the literal fire and fury of rock and roll played with real instruments by real musicians. Before the show, they were familiar with Journey via two songs “Open Arms” and “Don’t Stop Believin", which in the case of the former, was not even a possibility of the set list. Their take away from the concert was absolute and utter amazement. Amazement and wonder that music could be experienced without the hoopla of choreography and extravagance or big time production. They were fascinated that a concert could be experienced by putting down the smart phone and feeling a connection to just music, no strings attached, just music, performed by a band that stepped away from the stadium for a second to remind us that great music can be enough. I know that Journey will embark on a massive tour of stadiums and arenas co-headlining with Def Leppard this summer, but the hope that I have and those present at the concert is that “Journey Through Time” isn’t a one off but more, a look into the future.
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 venue.TR.com
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Re: Journey founder plays concert to raise money for victims

Postby JourneyHard » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:56 am

Since when did "I'm Gonna Leave You" sneak onto Journey's debut album?
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Re: Journey founder plays concert to raise money for victims

Postby perryfan61 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:17 pm

This reviewer is obviously a huge fan, Neal must be loving this review! Still hoping a DVD will surface at some point.
The injury that we do to a man must be such that we need not fear his vengeance. Steve Perry
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Re: Journey founder plays concert to raise money for victims

Postby tj » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:40 pm

JourneyHard wrote:Since when did "I'm Gonna Leave You" sneak onto Journey's debut album?


About 60 years ago when Deen was born? :?

.
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Re: Journey founder plays concert to raise money for victims

Postby tater1977 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:58 pm

tj wrote:
JourneyHard wrote:Since when did "I'm Gonna Leave You" sneak onto Journey's debut album?


About 60 years ago when Deen was born? :?

.

Deen ages very quickly :lol:
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 venue.TR.com
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