Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Journey Rocks New Jersey

Arnel Pineda

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.

Neal SchonBut 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 
  • Lights 
  • Piano Solo 
  • Open Arms 
  • Ritual 
  • La Do Da 
  • Anytime 
  • Guitar Solo 
  • Wheel in the Sky 
  • Faithfully 
  • Don’t Stop Believin’ 
  • Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ (Encore)

 

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12 thoughts on “Journey Rocks New Jersey

  1. pamela smith on said:

    I completely agree with you. My boyfriend and I were at the concert as well and Journey was amazing.

  2. First, thank you for the positive review! Since I saw them last month (5/16/14 at the Hollywood Bowl) a lot of the reviews focused on who wasn’t there instead of who was, which to me, completely misses the point!

    Same set list and I was thrilled to hear “Stone in Love” live! It was a high energy show from the first song to the last. This is my second time seeing Journey, the first time was in 2002 and Steve Augeri was their singer. I won’t compare the performances because they were both amazing. I also love Neal Schon’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner…I could go on…

    I had an incredibly busy day (went to a wedding earlier in the day, my own!) and I originally bought tickets to this show because I hadn’t yet seen the Steve Miller band live and after their performance I was fading fast. Hubby and I got back to our seats from the concession stand seconds before Journey launched into “Be Good to Yourself” and it was just the jolt I needed. I would not hesitate to go see this incarnation of Journey again!

    • Thank you, Angela. The last two times I saw Journey it was with Steve Augeri and both shows were great. And I’m a huge Steve Perry fan but, like you said, it makes sense to enjoy the present and not dwell on the past.

  3. Debbie on said:

    I saw journey in Dallas! Good concert but let’s not forget that steve was one of the band members to write the songs and melodies. Even Arnel sings good he did not make journey a success. Neal knows this so that’s why he stepped up his side projects. Time waits for no one!!!

  4. Solid points. I’m glad SP is gone, he’s been dragging the band down since ’86. I remember seeing the band about 10 years back, at a county fair here in northern Utah and they didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves. Sure, they had a solid hit with ‘Arrival’ in 2001, but man they were just not having fun. I remember seeing them with Def Leppard when Jeff Scott Soto took over after Steve Augeri fell ill and thought ‘well, this is the end of an era’.

    Enter Arnel and the first tour I saw with him as the frontman, WOW! The band was rockin’ harder than ever and Arnel’s infectious joy was everywhere. They have been much better since Arnel joined and we, as fans, are continually blessed to have this great band still touring.

    I’ve loved Journey since I was a little boy, rockin’ to Escape in my dad’s T-Bird, and I’ll never stop. I made sure, when my girls were born, that the first music they heard was a Journey song. I will forever be a Journey fan and can’t wait for them to play Utah next month.

    Journey on!

  5. Karen Dobbs on said:

    Awesome review Michael. Kevin and I saw them when they played Melbourne last year. Highlight song for me was Faithfully- it brought me to tears.

    Armed is an absolute talent, but I would live to see Steve Perry front the band again so I can tick it off my bucket list.

    Karen

    PS see you on KKIV!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Karen, and for your kind words.

      Faithfully is one of my favorite songs too – it’s simply beautiful.

      As for Steve Perry performing with Journey, I wouldn’t be opposed to them doing a show – or a tour – similar to what KISS did with MTV Unplugged. It would be a great way to celebrate the entire band’s history. I doubt it’ll happen but I’ll be ready if it does. 🙂

      • I have gotten so tired of the “no journey without perry” argument. Yes he wrote or co wrote and performed all hits. But. He is no longer in the band. Move on. Heck. Greg Rollie was there first and he co lead sang the first three records with perry. And he is gone… Does that mean no journey?
        No.
        I love your review because it focuses on the fact that journey is a band. And still a great band.

        Side note. Did you pay attention to that clip of perry singing? The songs were pitched down severely. His range is shot. He can’t do it anymore. That’s a shame. But it’s a fact.

      • I’m glad you enjoyed my review, Ian. And thanks for commenting. However, I must respectfully disagree with you regarding Steve Perry’s voice. I saw the videos of Steve Perry singing and he sounded like the raspy, yet vocally powerful Steve Perry I remember from the Trial By Fire era. Anyone expecting him to sound like he did in the 80s or 70s doesn’t understand how the aging process works. If Steve decides to release a new solo album and/or tour, I’ll fully support it because he still sounds amazing to me.

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