Tag Archives: Journey

Feeling That Way – TBT SOTD

Feeling That Way – Journey

As you have hopefully noticed, we’ve started a feature in 2017, featuring a song of the day, every day of the year. All of the songs will be killer new music with the exception of Thursdays, where we dig deep into our vinyl collections for an under-appreciated classic. Continue reading Feeling That Way – TBT SOTD

2017 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Announced

2017 Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Announcement

2017 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame NomineesThe 2017 Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame Nominees were released to the public today, and as usual, the decisions are tough. Take a look at the contenders and see which of the five you think are most deserving.

Continue reading 2017 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Announced

The Best Of Journey

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Journey

The Best of Journey

Yeah, they’re still touring today. But, now they boast a former Journey cover band vocalist from Philippines behind the mic. They do record new music, but as far as I’m concerned what we see and hear today is just not authentic Journey. That ended when Steve Perry permanently walked away a few decades ago.

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“Don’t Stop Believin'” is one of the most popular rock songs ever, and it’s a damn good tune, no matter how many times I’ve heard a slew of drunk friends butcher it late at night, but is it their best? Read on to see where I think it falls on their best songs list.

The first three albums really were decent but not especially popular, with only one of them barely cracking the Billboard 100. But then, in 1978, Steve Perry joined the band for Infinity, and things kind of exploded. Over the next decade, they were one of the most popular bands in the world and they created some wonderful, timeless rock ‘n roll.  It took forever to whittle down their vast collection of fantastic songs to a dozen, and as you will soon see, some excellent tracks had to be left off.

Here’s our RARA’s Farm farmer’s dozen
(most of the songs are available in the iTune links below the article)

Bonus Track: Who’s Crying Now – This one was the choice of my old friend Bob Thietje who just lost his battle with ALS. When I recently asked him what his favorite Journey song was, he selected this hit from Escape, which features creative vocals from Perry, bracketed by prominent bass from Ross Valory and keys from Jonathan Cain. Neal Schon’s solo which closes the songs is excellent, as well. Bob got me into Journey, and this is the one that hooked him into the group. It’s a great choice, and one that I’ll let stand on its own.

12. Anyway You Want It – Mesmerizing, hard driving guitar and Thin Lizzy inspired riffs power this song, which received a nice boost when it was later featured as the dance track for Rodney Dangerfield in the movie Caddyshack.

11. Mystery Mountain – This one was off of their 1975 debut. It’s a progressive rock offering (pre-Perry) and a lot different than what most fans think of Journey, but the song still has some of the same elements we hear in the band’s future hits. Check it out if you like old classic guitar rock.

10. Open Arms – This one has a very interesting back story.  Jonathan Cain wrote it for John Waite and The Baby’s. Waite hated it, so years later he pitched it to Journey.  The consummate 80’s power ballad became the band’s highest charting single ever, reaching #2 on the Billboard charts.

9. Lights – Rumor has it that this ode to San Francisco was originally an ode to L.A.  In any case, from the comfortably fuzzy opening guitar notes, this one is a meandering journey that boasts sweet guitars throughout.  The drums are big and anthemic, and the tune shows off the diversity and power of Perry’s voice.

8. Stone In Love – One of their heavier rockers, and a song that got lost just a bit on their killer album Escape, which sold 10 million copies and boasted a handful of hits.  Perry’s vocals are again strong, but this track is all about Neal Schon.  His guitar dominates from the first notes; the riffs are catchy as hell and the solos exquisite.

7. Separate Ways – One of two songs off of Frontiers, which I kind of feel was the beginning of the end for the band.  So much different than anything they had done before, this one is a keyboard driven rocker with hard-driving guitars and freight train drums.

6. Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ – The ominous bass line immediately sucks you in and then Perry’s opening lines “You make me weep, I wanna die,” nails the vibe. The song offers wonderful piano work, and heartfelt vocals from Perry, as you can feel the pain and anguish in each verse.

5. Anytime – One of a handful of worthy choices off of their breakthrough album Infinity. Harmonies like we had never heard before on a rock song. Keyboardist Gregg Rolie sang the lead vocals despite the fact that this was Perry’s first album with the band. The little drum piece towards the end was priceless, too.

4. Wheel In the Sky – Love the way the songs starts with a 30 second instrumental that builds to a crescendo before we hear the debut of Steve Perry’s magnificent voice.  The interplay between the voice and Schon’s guitars is excellent. This was Journey’s first Top 100 hit, and basically the end of the brief career of interim vocalist Robert Fleischman.

3. Don’t Stop Believin’ – It has been played to death over the last decade, but once you get past that, it is still a fantastic song.  Is there a better opening keyboard riff on any other hit rock song? And, from that riff on, it’s almost a perfect rock radio song.  And, get used to it, this one is going to be played for many more years.

2. Faithfully – One of the best rock ballads ever. Perry’s vocals are wonderful, but so are the piano and the understated guitar pieces. The poignant lyrics, penned by Jonathan Cain reflect on the challenges of a musician constantly on the road who struggles to keep his marriage strong. Sadly, the marriage didn’t have the same lasting power of this timeless ballad.

1. Feeling That Way – This song is just about perfect, and really should always be played back to back with “Anytime” (#5 on this list). To me, this is the consummate Journey song.  It was originally written as an instrumental that was left off of the third album, and when you listen to the song, you see a beautifully constructed rock song.  It was reborn when Perry joined the band, and shows the band transitioning vocals from Rolie to Perry.  It starts off with Rolie singing alone while he tickles the piano and slowly blossoms into a huge rock anthem that Perry carries home.  Just a great song and a track that captures EVERYTHING that made the band so special.

So, there you have it. My top dozen Journey songs, with a little divine help from a friend. I’ll forever think of you, Bob Thietje when I hear the fantastic music of Journey.

Rock On!
Cretin

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Journey and Pat Benatar Rock Tampa


Still riding their “Glee”-ful resurgence, a revitalized Journey brought a few of their fellow 80’s rock stalwarts to the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre in Tampa this weekend.  Paired with Pat Benatar and Loverboy, it promised to be a fun flashback packed with iconic rock tunes.

Due to an absurdly long line of traffic entering the facility,and being re-routed to a lot which seemed to be in Clearwater, we missed Loverboy. We arrived right at the printed start time of 7:30, which turned out to be the time they wrapped up.  Guilty pleasure confession: I always loved the band’s music and was kind of bummed I missed their set. The general consensus was that despite their considerably tighter black and red leather, the Canadians still sounded good.

Pat Benatar is sharing her billing with husband and long time guitarist Neil Giraldo on this tour. They sounded good and offered up a great setlist featuring songs from their entire catalog.  The band kicked off the set with a trio of powerful hits, “All Fired Up,” Invincible” and “Promises in the Dark.” They then brought out a pair of stools, caught their breath, and slowed it down a bit.

Over the course of the 50 minute performance, the band offered up all of their biggest hits including crowd favorites “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” and “Love Is a Battlefield.”  The highlight of the set was a great closing version of “Heartbreaker,” during which they deftly weaved in Led Zeppelin’s identically titled classic and Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire;” a great version of a great song.

The headliners took the stage with a nice line-up reminiscent of that from the band’s heyday. Neal Schon, Ross Valory and Jonathan Cain, holdovers from the band’s epic 80’s line-up, are still performing and were joined on stage by Deen Castronovo who has been at the drums for the last dozen years. The new face is Filipino, Arnell Pineda, who was discovered by Schon covering Journey songs on Youtube (really).  Pineda’s voice is eerily similar to Steve Perry’s and his vocals were damn near perfect throughout the show.

They immediately got the crowd engaged with a rousing version of “Anyway You Want It,” and did a nice job sampling hits from their entire catalog.  Early highlights included “Feeling That Way / Anytime,” “send Her My Love” and “Faithfully.”  The band took a quick break and Schon offered up a fantastic solo version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”  Schon is an under-appreciated guitar legend with a slew of great, memorable riffs to his credit, and he truly shined during the solo.

The second half of the generous set included “Separate Ways,” “Lights,” and “Wheel In the Sky,” as well as “Just The Same Way,” with Cain taking over lead vocals.  The band also offered up a few deeper cuts, which were generally received with ambivalence from a crowd that was there for the hits.  Overall, the band offered up a nice, broad selection of hits, but at times seemed to be going through the motions. They closed the show with “Don’t Stop Believing” and came back with an anti-climactic version of “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin.'” It was a nice end to a decent, yet unspectacular show.

I did have a priceless experience as the crowd sang along loudly to “Open Arms.” My friend Luc the Toque, belted out “I come to you with broken arms!” Nice, a priceless cross-up between Journey and Mister Mister… Thanks, Luc!

We had lawn seats in the equivalent of deep right field.  I’d recommend the lawn if you’re just going to hear some classic tracks, chill with friends and sing along a bit, and that worked on this night. But, the truth is, the sound was muddy and the mix inconsistent throughout the night so far from the stage. If you are headed to the Amphitheatre and are looking for a mpre pristine sound, I’d definitely recommend moving up into the reserved seats.

Check Out the full Setlists below.

Rock On!
Cretin

Pat Benatar Setlist

All Fired Up
Invincible
Promises in the Dark
We Belong
You Better Run
Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Love Is a Battlefield
Heartbreaker/Ring of Fire

Journey Setlist

Anyway You Want It
Ask the Lonely
Only the Young
Feeling That Way / Anytime
Send Her My Love
Faithfully
Neil Schon Solo – Star Spangled Banner
Stone In Love
Separate Ways
Just the Same Way
Lights
Solos
Wheel In the Sky
Escape
Open Arms
Don’t Stop Believing

Encore
Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’

Of Journey, Cars and Poppy Fields

Admit it, as Rock and Roll Animals, we all discriminate against old folks. Right?

You can deny it, but it’s true.  Journey is touring again this year. They are supporting Eclipse, their new studio release, and playing each night in front of thousands of fans, yet no one has bought the album or heard any of the new songs. Eclipse has been out for four months, written by long-time members Neil Schon and Jonathan Cain and featuring the vocals of Amel Pineda (who sounds as good as old Steve Perry).  Have you heard any of the tunes? Of course not.  Why? Because they band members are old now.

Radio stations treat them as an oldies band playing their old hits, and fans aren’t much better. (For the record, the album is decent middle-of-the-road Journey stuff). We’ll all go out there and sing the Glee-ly rejuvenated “Don’t Stop Believing,” and then run to the beer counters and bathrooms when they kick into their new rocker “City of Hope.”

The Cars have also released Move Like This, their new album this summer, . “Sad Song” was the first single and it’s an excellent song. But, you’d have to take my word, because no one plays it. I have a feature on my XM radio that notifies me when a favorite band is played anywhere on their network,  They have about a dozen stations where the song would fit the format.  Since setting The Cars as a favorite, I’ve seen about 100 notifications that they were being played. Only once was the notification for “Sad Song” and the station that played it? Out – their gay music station. Maybe you need to be gay to appreciate the old rockers out there? (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

If they had marketed that song as Rick Ocasek’s son and his hot new band, we’d have Ryan Seacreast fawning all over it. Take a few minutes to listen to it, and see if it’s not carbon copy 80’s hit music. Half of the new bands are trying to emulate 80’s rockers, and now we have the real thing emulating themselves, and no one is paying attention???

So, this all gets me started reminiscing about the curious English band the Poppy Fields.

Back in 2004, they came smashing onto the UK music scene with an infectious punk rock tribute to the Clash called “45 RPM.” The group put out a video featuring the early 20 punk rockers bouncing around the stage.  The song took off. All fo the big Dj’s across the pond loved it,Virgin Music Stores sold out all of their stock, and it hit the charts at #28.  The young lads had captured a sound similar to the popular Welsh band The Alarm, with vocals eerily reminiscent of Mike Peters, The Alarm’s original front man.

Word somehow leaked out that there was good reason for the similarities. The guys in the video were actors, the real musicians? Mike Peters and The Alarm! So what happened when everyone learned of the old switcheroo? Radio stopped playing it, people stopped buying it and it became another new song by an old band.  The music never changed, but the image of the guys strumming the guitars, beating the drums and belting out the lyrics changed.  That’s kind of sad. Sad, and a lame reflection on the music buying public (us).

Mike Peters mentioned afterwards that consumers assumed old guys couldn’t write meaningful new songs anymore (he was in his early 40’s), and he was afraid that image trumped talent.  He was right.

I found this Mike Peters interview about the whole incident. As you watch the music video snippets, they’ve interspersed the original video with the young actors, with the real 40 something band.  Oddly, the music sounds the same in both cases.

So, let’s try to change this a little bit, ok? Give a listen to the new stuff by the older bands, especially if you’re going to be seeing them live on their next tour. C’mon that’s the least we can do, right? Ah, forget it, we’ll all need a respite from the hits at their next concert for our race to the concession stands…

Journey: Eclipse

The Cars: Move Like This

The Alarm performing 45 RPM
Cheap concert tickets