Album: Journey: Live in Manila
Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Release Date: 09/09/2016
A recent North American reissue of the 2009 Journey: Live in Manila 2-CD and DVD set brings the legendary rock band home for fans just in time for holiday gift-giving. The band’s lead guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardist Jonathan Cain and bassist Ross Valory all look their age, wearing dress shirts and suit vests on stage at the SM Mall of Asia in Manila, beside Journey’s youthful singer and frontman since 2007, Arnel Pineda. Veteran musicians best known for recording Journey’s 1981’s Escape and 1983’s Frontiers still hold their own.
Die-hard Journey fans will surely miss Steve Perry’s versatile high-octave, crisp and emoting vocals, as Pineda sings a hit parade of songs his predecessor once made famous including “Open Arms,” “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Lights.” Pineda fails to enunciate as clearly, and often walks the stage as the rest of the band remains mostly static, but he draws visible adoration from his concert audience for this homecoming performance. Also missing on this reunion tour, drummer Steve Smith, replaced by Deen Castronovo on percussion and vocals. Fans may once again wax nostalgic, like when band members reunited in 1996 to record Trial by Fire. However, as old flames go, Journey’s still burns faithfully.
– Donna Marie Miller