It’s hard to believe that both Journey and Asia had their heyday between the late 1970s to the mid-1980s especially after experiencing their sold out show at AVA Amphitheater in Tucson on July 18. Both bands have been subject to many personnel changes throughout the years and, as evidenced during the show, both bands have emerged as victorious contenders in the summer concert cavalcade.
Special guests, Asia opened the show and they could have easily been the headlining act. Asia formed in the early 80s. Members of the band seem to have rotated like a revolving door over the last 35 years.
All members were alumni of other rock bands. One would never guess that the band lost their front man, John Wetten, earlier in the year due to an extended illness. Wetten originally began his career in King Crimson. Homage was paid to Wetten during the set. It was mentioned that Wetten handpicked Billy Sherwood from Yes to replace him as Asia’s frontman. Carl Palmer from Emerson, Lake and Palmer manned the drums with all the power anyone could possibly muster. Former Buggles’ Geoff Downes manned the keyboards, and Sam Coulson replaced Steve Howe on guitar.
The band hit the ground running with their performance of “Sole Survivor” with their 40-minute set. Downes led the band in the first ever MTV video song “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Carl Palmer’s extended drum solo was amazing. The extended version of “Heat of the Moment” left the crowd wanting more. For a complete set list, please click here.
Journey‘s strong appeal has remained in spite of original lead vocalist, Steve Perry’s exodus. The band has long been considered guitarist, Neal Schon’s band. The rest of the band consists of Jonathan Cain on keyboards, Ross Valory on bass, and Steve Smith on drums. Arnel Pineda filled the lead vocalist slot in 2007.
The induction into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame this year seems to have added fuel to their on stage fire. The band and the audience were on fire from the first notes of “Separate Ways” and the impetus continued to grow throughout the 90-minute set. Arnel Pineda is the total package. Not only does he sound remarkably like Steve Perry, his stage presence is much like a whirling dervish throughout the set. He jumps, dances, struts, sings, and flirts with the fans all at the same time.
There were plenty of mighty solos from the band. Neal Schon was in his element when he was in the spotlight bending notes during “Lights.” The rest of the band got their time to shine with solos during the set.
Needless to say, the fans were in ecstasy throughout the show. They knew the words to all the songs and they were happy to add the chorus. There is little wonder that Journey has maintained their appeal throughout the years. Their songs have exquisite melodies and their lyrics tell stories of love. This seems to be the formula for the enduring success that the band has enjoyed for 40 years. For a complete set list, please click here.
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