Journey Brought Fan Favorites Back to Lincoln

Review by Wendy Salinas / Photos by Robert Chadwick

Photo by Robert Chadwick

Journey, with their well loved, classic ballads and chart topping rock songs, brought all their feel good tunes to Lincoln’s Pinnacle Bank Arena Saturday Night (3/25/2017). From the moment they opened the show with Separate Ways, they had the crown on their feet and ready to have a great time. After many years of playing together, it was evident that there’s a a level of camaraderie with these guys that is not often found in the world of rock n roll where egos tend to reign supreme. Journey has had various line up changes through out the years, but this is clearly their best version. The newest member – if you can call him that, Arnel Pineda (lead singer), has actually been with them for 10 years now and he seems right at home with the tenured players of Neal Schon (lead guitar), Ross Valory (bass), Jonathan Cain (keyboards, rhythm guitar) and Steve Smith (drums). Pineda’s energy and passion for the music we all love shows he’s right where he belongs. His mic-tossing, high jumping antics never took away from one note of his amazing vocal performance.

During “Lights”, the entire stadium lit up as fans held their cell phones high (in lieu of lighters) and sang along. “Open Arms” had all the couples on their feet, arms around each other and sharing the moment with the estimated 8,200 fans that packed the arena that night. This is clearly Schon’s band, made evident by his repeated, extended guitar solos. There is no doubt, he is one of the great guitarists of the generation, but the fans seemed to get lost and the show’s energy seemed to wane as he played on. The crowd loved his run at the end of “Who’s Crying Now”, but the others seem to fall a little flat. Cain and Smith each had a chance to showcase their individual skills as well and were crowd pleasers. They are both veterans of the band (Cain since 1980, Smith from 1978–1985, 1995–1998, 2015–present).

Cain shared that “Faithfully” was written on a bus ride on the way to New York City in 1982 and spoke to the sacrifices of those who love and support the band members while they’re on the road. In the same vein, the band played this classic that night as a tribute to our men and women in the armed forces and their families. The main show ended with “Don’t Stop Believing” the anthem penned by Steve Perry (former lead singer), Cain and Schon which seemed fitting. They had a short, 2 song encore including the lesser known “Escape” and wrapped it all up with the sultry “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’,” which sent the crowd home on a musical high.

Photo by Robert Chadwick

Asia opened the show for Journey with a moderate response from the crowd. Less than 2 months after loosing their former lead singer, John Wetton, the band is on the road again with Billy Sherwood (former lead singer of Yes) who was hand picked by Wetton to take his place. They still have their signature sound with Geoff Downes on keys, synthesizers, organ and piano, teamed up with Carl Palmer on drums and Sam Coulson on guitar. Coulson, who replaced Steve Howe who retired in 2013, is the newest and youngest member of the group – but he certainly held his own with these guys. Their set included their familiar songs “Don’t Cry”, “Only Time Will Tell” and “Heat of the Moment” which got the crowd excited and on their feet. Palmer shared the news of Wetton’s passing followed by a touching performance of “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” from their 1983 album “Alpha” in tribute. While they didn’t have the polish and energy of Journey, in the end, the crowd seemed to really enjoy seeing this 80’s classic band back on stage.

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©2017 – Photos courtesy of Robert Chadwick Photography.