Archive for Neal Schon

DVD Review: “Live in Concert,” Journey

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2008 by 30daysout

 

Let me just start out by saying Journey guitarist Neal Schon absolutely kicks ass. This guy has never received his just-do. He has some of the best solos in rock history, yet you never hear him mentioned with the greats. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, on to Live in Concert.

This DVD comes with the new CD, Revelation, and features new singer Arnel Pineda belting out hits like “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Faithfully,” “Lights,” “Wheel in the Sky,” and “Be Good to Yourself” along with two excellent new songs “Never Walk Away,” and “After All These Years.”

Now when a mega-band like Journey gets a new singer the new versions of the songs usually pale in comparison to the originals. However, that’s not the case here. Pineda is just as good, if not better, than Steve Perry and I think Perry was one of the great rock singers of his generation.

Pineda sings these very complex songs with relative ease, he has incredible stage presence and you can tell the rest of the guys in the band are really energized by him. Drummer Deen Castronovo is not only excellent behind the kit, but he also lends his lead vocals to a blistering version of “Mother, Father.” Keyboardist Jonathan Cain is solid as always and bassist Ross Valory looks like actor/comedian Denis Leary’s dad. Keep in mind, Leary is 50.

This DVD shows a band that has been re-energized by a hot new singer after more than 30 years on the road. It was well worth the $10.72 I paid for it….only at Walmart and Sam’s Club. Don’t Stop Believin’.

YouTube: Don’t Stop Believin’ (w/Arnel Pineda)

Journey Official Website

Review: “Revelation,” Journey

Posted in Review with tags , , , on June 9, 2008 by 30daysout

The group Journey came together in 1975 with former members of Santana who wanted to achieve even greater success than they did in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  It happened, but it took a while. Journey didn’t take off until original lead singer Gregg Rolie was replaced by Steve Perry, who led the 1978 multi-platinum smash Infinity.  Although Journey managed to capture a moment of sorts by defining teen romance as the 70s turned into the 80s, the crass commercialism and play-by-the-numbers muscianship turned off lots of listeners too.  The group’s newest album, Revelation, is the first blast of a summer commercial blitz for Journey – it’s available exclusively at Wal Mart (following the Eagles’ business model) with one CD of new material, another CD of re-recorded hits and a live concert DVD.  All for 12 bucks! 

Revelation, featuring new lead singer Arnel Pineda (almost literally plucked from poverty in Manila), makes no apologies for its existence – it’s the catalyst to get you out to their concerts.  That said, however, the album of new material is pretty good.  It follows the basic Journey pattern, as set out by main songwriters Neal Schon (also the band’s guitarist) and Jonathan Cain (keyboards).  From the exhilarating kick of opener “Never Walk Away,” you know you are in Journey’s wheelhouse: “So young in love, they couldn’t wait,” begins the song and the payoff comes with the chorus, “Never walk away.”   No matter the obstacles or the odds, the protagonists of every song find they cannot give up on love or life or whatever.  Pineda is an able replacement for Steve Perry, and Schon’s guitar pyrotechnics are on full display. 

European versions of the album have an extra song, “Let It Take You Back,” about all the great memories you get with Journey music, and is about as self-serving as it sounds – surely that’s going to be a concert highlight this summer.  Forget about that, and the ill-advised second disc of remakes- Journey’s album of new songs is a worthy purchase for rock fans old and young.

MP3: “Never Walk Away” 

MP3: “Let It Take You Back” (European bonus track)

Journey official website