Very few bands from the 70’s and 80’s have a following big enough to pack a stadium these days- you can probably count them on two hands. Not they ever weren’t but when Journey announced the addition of new vocalist Arnel Pineda, who they found on YouTube with his former band, The Zoo in his native Philippines, performing covers of numerous bands including Journey.
Journey guitarist Neal Schon reached out to Pineda via his manager and flew Pineda to California to audition for the band. The story made national news and the rest is recent history.
Currently the band is on tour with Steve Miller Band and Tower of Power for a massive trek that’s hitting almost every state in the country and you’d be robbing yourself if you didn’t attend.
Their recent stop at Noblesville’s Klipsch Music Center showed all three bands primed and ready to blow the crowd away and they were all in rare form.
Tower of Power kicked off the show, though having been around longer than Journey and Steve Miller Band, are still relatively unknown on a large scale and this has been the perfect tour for them.
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They played a strong 40 minute set of some of the most funky, soulful music you’ll find. Frontman Ray Green is one of the most underrated vocalists in the world and the band just doesn’t get the respect and notoriety they deserve.
They gave the crowd their money’s worth from the very beginning and it was fun watching fans go from knowing nothing about Tower of Power to becoming fans in less than an hour.
Steve Miller Band had the difficult task of following Tower of Power and played virtually every major song they’ve ever recorded and released. They played for almost an hour and a half and spent time in between songs to tell a story or two of where a song came from or to give a background of what album a song was from.
Fans of the band couldn’t help but get into every song, yelling every lyric, dancing in the aisles and more. It was a fun and rewarding set for anyone who’s a fan.
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The only thing that didn’t fit well was the addition of backup dancer/singer Sonny Charles. Yes, he’s legendary and has accomplished a lot in the industry, but it just didn’t seem to fit or make sense to have a guy dancing on the side of the stage or performing an entire song. It took attention away from Steve Miller and the rest of the band and came off as more of a gimmick than anything.
That being said, they still put on a hell of a show and delivered a set the faithful loved.
After a night of already-stellar performances Journey took the stage with authority with “Be Good to Yourself” and Pineda running and jumping all over the stage. The crowd went even crazier when the band led right into “Separate Ways” and “Any Way You Want It.”
Guitarist Neal Schon has always been one of the most overlooked and underrated guitarists and he proved exactly why he deserves to be in the conversation for greatest of all time with his impressive and aw-inspiring solos and riffs.
The entire band was in rare form, playing to near-perfection and playing a setlist that beautifully-combined the old with the new and giving everyone in attendance exactly what they came for.
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They ended the night with a three-punch combo of “Wheel in the Sky,” “Faithfully” and “Don’t Stop Believing” followed by the uppercut knockout punch of encore “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’” that destroyed what was left of the crowd and sent everyone home happy.
Here’s what it comes down to- after all these years, Journey still have it and, in fact are better than they ever have been. They may have been around for decades, but with the addition of Pineda at the helm, Journey’s Arrival is now.