Journey took to Singapore last night to a theatre packed almost to capacity with fans. The iconic band, who also performed here back in 2013, put on a spectacular one night-only performance at The Star Theatre, stunning fans with song after song of their greatest hits.
The band currently consists of drummer Steve Smith, keyboardist Jonathan Cain, bassist Ross Valory, lead guitarist Neal Schon, and lead vocalist Arnel Pineda, who hails from the Philippines.
Pineda has been touring with Journey since 2007, when he replaced original lead vocalist Steve Perry.
The band, who arrived close to twenty minutes late, opened strong with “Separate Ways”, one of their most famous songs. The crowd was quick to get on their feet and many people started dancing on the spot and singing along.
They then proceeded to sing many more familiar hits such as “Who’s Crying Now”, “Wheel in the Sky” and “Open Arms”, all of which the crowd immensely enjoyed.
Though Pineda kept the whole concert going with his energetic jumps and a voice that was as powerfully close to Steve Perry’s as one could get, the real show stopper last night was Schon and his guitar solos.
Throughout the hour-and-a-half set, Schon dedicated a lot of time to his famous guitar solos. The 62-year-old guitarist has been with Journey since the very beginning and has been on every single one of its 14 albums since 1975. He stunned the crowd with the very skills that will get him inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame later this year.
Another highlight of the show was Steve Smith and his drum solos. At one point, all the other members of Journey quite literally walked off the stage as Smith began a drum solo that stunned the audience. In fact, the entire theatre lapsed into silence as everyone listened eagerly. Smith will also be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame alongside Schon.
The mood in the theatre was one that had its highs and lows. There were times, especially during some of their more famous songs, that the crowd, mostly made up of older fans, would be on their feet and rocking along with the band. But when the band dipped into songs from their less-well-known compilations, the mood took a perceptible dip and fans could be seen sitting down and losing interest.
The set however, ended with a roaring bang as the legends sang “Don’t Stop Believin’”, the iconic hit from their 1981 album, “Escape”. Fans were on their feet and screaming back the lyrics in tandem with the band in an uplifting performance.
Following weak chants for an encore, the band returned to the stage shortly after their biggest hit. They sang a number that was originally supposed to go on their “Frontiers” album in 1983 that ultimately didn’t make the cut.
Considering that hardly anyone knew this song, it really fell flat and some people started leaving midway through the song. Thankfully, the timeless group redeemed themselves by singing their hit, “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’” which had fans on their feet and back in a great mood for the big finale.
It’s safe to say that no matter how many years go by, Journey will always remain one of the greatest rock bands out there right. At least I know that I spent ages after the concert with my ears ringing for the beauty that was Journey.
All photos: Alvin Ho for LAMC Productions
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