This past Wednesday, June 11, my cousin and I went to go see one of our favorite bands: Journey. The concert took place at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ, and the jam-packed crowd loved every minute of it. After the Tower of Power and the Steve Miller Band warmed up the audience, Journey stormed the stage and kicked off its 16-song set with “Be Good To Yourself,” a fun, upbeat song from their 1986 album Raised on Radio.
Throughout the show, the 47-year-old lead singer, Arnel Pineda, blew me away with his high level of energy. He jumped around the stage, gave fans high-fives and took selfies with them – all while belting out impressive vocals. The fans seemed to love him and Pineda made sure to let them know the feeling’s mutual.
While Steve Perry’s recent return to singing live has caused many former and existing Journey fans to clamor for his return to the group, I’m more than happy with Pineda as Journey’s lead singer and would be glad to see him ride off with them into the sunset. Despite what some fans think, Steve Perry’s solo career and Journey’s career with Pineda can coexist and flourish. If anything, it’ll mean more great music and live shows for all of us to enjoy.
But back to the Journey concert. The setlist included all of the hits fans have come to expect, as well as a few deep tracks to satisfy the hardcore Journey faithful. These “non-hits” included, an amazing rendition of “Mother, Father” sung by the band’s drummer Deen Castronovo, as well as “La Do Da” and “Anytime,” with Jonathan Cain on lead vocals. The set was rounded out with two tracks from Journey’s latest studio album, Eclipse: “She’s A Mystery” and “Ritual.”
Other highlights included Neal Schon’s rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” and his blistering guitar solo. While both of these were great, my favorite part of the show was Jonathan Cain’s piano solo, which beautifully weaved together overtures of Journey songs that the band didn’t perform that evening, including “When You Love A Woman,” “Who’s Crying Now,” Patiently,” “Why Can’t This Night Go On Forever,” and “After All These Years.” At least those are the ones I can remember. Then, he segued into “Open Arms” and the band returned to the stage to perform this iconic Journey song.
This was the third time I’ve seen Journey in my life and it was their best performance to date. Between the great music, the phenomenal musicianship and the high-energy show, people left the arena smiling from ear to ear. For me, one of the coolest moments was seeing three teenage boys in front of us taking a group selfie with Journey performing in the background. It reinforced for me what I already know to be true: Journey’s music is timeless and it transcends generations. I highly recommend you go see them when they visit your area this summer.
Below is the setlist from the concert I attended:
- Be Good to Yourself
- Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
- Any Way You Want It
- Only the Young
- The Star-Spangled Banner
- (John Stafford Smith cover)
- Stone in Love
- Mother, Father
- She’s a Mystery
- Piano Solo
- Open Arms
- La Do Da
- Guitar Solo
- Wheel in the Sky
- Don’t Stop Believin’
- Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ (Encore)