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 9/25/2008 SACRAMENT0

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PostSubject: 9/25/2008 SACRAMENT0   Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:14 pm

http://www.sacbee.com/749/story/1270681.html

Journey rocks on with new lead singer
By Rachel Leibrock - rleibrock@sacbee.com

Last Updated 10:40 am PDT Saturday, September 27, 2008

Who needs Steve Perry?

The members of Journey - including the band's new lead singer Arnel Pineda - answered that question with confidence Friday night in front of an enthusiastic Sleep Train Amphitheatre audience.

Clearly Journey, which has gone through five lead singers during its 25-year-career, doesn't need the guy who made them most famous, thank you very much.

Despite reports that Pineda was having a hard go of it during this tour with Heart and Cheap Trick, the 41-year-old Philippines native showed that not only is his voice a carbon copy of Perry's signature rock wail but he's got his predecessor's energy and charisma as well.

Pineda is the band's third singer since Perry left Journey for good in the late '90s. As modern legend has it, guitarist Neal Schon discovered Pineda during a 2007 YouTube search. And although critics and fans alike have expressed some skepticism about replacing an iconic band member with a sound-alike, Pineda ably proved himself.

Indeed, he was the best, most joyful part of the band's performance.


Certainly, the other members of Journey sounded fine - spot on, actually - during renditions of "Open Arms," "Faithfully" and "Separate Ways." Still, there were times when it felt as if the band - Schon, bassist Ross Valory, drummer Deen Castronovo and keyboardist Jonathan Cain - was trying to recapture a particular moment in time.

Even new songs such as "Change for the Better" indicate this is a band that, long ago, hit upon a particular formula for success and now refuses to stray from the sound (or cheesy rock posturing) that put them on the cultural map. The hiring of Pineda only underscores that point.

But the audience was fine with that, gamely rocking through the new songs and going crazy for the hits. (Journey's latest, the two-disc "Revelation," which includes 11 Journey hits rerecorded with Pineda, peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Album Chart so, clearly, fans are more than fine with this sonic double solution.)

A rousing take on "Don't Stop Believin'" - complete with a big screen display of the Journey logo with a gun replacing the "R" in honor of the song's connection to "The Sopranos" - brought down the house.

Cheap Trick opened the show with a brisk set that included vintage power pop hits such as "Dream Police" while Heart sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson proved they still have plenty of rock chops with a set that mined the band's hits including "Crazy On You," a fiery version of "Barracuda" and a cover of The Who's "Love, Reign O'er Me."

The Wilsons' enthusiasm for being onstage was palpable and emphasized the evening's overarching vibe.

Certainly, this hit machine tour is really nothing more than a bona fide nostalgia trip and most of the songs played Friday night were squarely, firmly and unapologetically rooted in a certain place, time and sound. Translation: Yes, some of them sounded dated - very very dated.

But all of the participants, including the audience members seemed fine with that. And while it seems strange that a relative unknown is the missing piece to the headlining act's profitable time warp puzzle, Pineda's fresh presence helps to override deeper questions about art, ownership and intention.

Pineda truly seems to enjoy getting on stage to sing the hell out of songs made famous by someone else. That he manages to elevate his performance beyond mere karaoke is impressive and, for now at least, the philosophy behind Journey's manner of reliving the past seems to be a debate for a different time or perhaps, even, a different band.
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PostSubject: Re: 9/25/2008 SACRAMENT0   Mon Sep 29, 2008 8:21 am

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