I remember attending a Journey concert, well, a number of years ago.
Like this one, it was a warm summer night, though I am pretty sure there wasn’t as much smoke from forest fires in the air. It must’ve been near the end of August, since I remember spending time at Playland with my date and walking through the PNE with her to get to the old Coliseum.
Steve Perry was still with the band then. Journey has always been considered a pretty romantic band, especially with Perry wailing songs like Open Arms.
The number one question on my mind going into the concert was whether Arnel Pineda, who has been the band’s frontman since 2007, could come close to Perry’s amazingly clear tenor voice.
Pineda did come close, but in the end, it really was the music that mattered to the audience that nearly filled the SOEC to capacity.
For Penticton, the third stop of the Canadian leg of their 2015 tour, the band chose another of their love ballads, Worlds Apart (Separate Ways), as their opening number.
The first notes of the song brought the audience to their feet, and judging by the Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ going on in the audience, Journey’s music has lost none of its romantic magic.
It took until halfway through the show, after a somewhat rough rendition of Lights and moving on to a virtuoso solo by keyboardist Jonathan Cain, before the audience settled into their seats.
The old songs were all there: Lights, Don’t Stop Believin’, Wheel in the Sky, Anyway You Want It, Who’s Crying Now, mixed with new material, though the strongest reaction from the audience was to the classic tracks.
The age of the audience ranged from young to older, but there was a lot more grey hair in the audience at the SOEC on July 10 than the last time I saw Journey all those years ago.
Guitarist Neal Schon — who, along with bassist Ross Valory, are the only remaining original members of the band — did double duty at the concert. He is opening for Journey on their Canadian tour, promoting his just-released personal album, Vortex, and giving the audience a taste of the jazz fusion territory he is exploring as a solo artist.
Steve Kidd is the senior reporter at the Penticton Western News.