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ConcertsJourney Makes a Triumphant Return to NYC, 11-23/05

Posted on Thursday, December 29 2005 @ 19:44:49 CST by Pete Pardo

Veteran rock band Journey has seen many personnel changes over the 30+ years that they have been a force in the music business. Still, even without the presence of former lead vocalist Steve Perry, the band forges on, with a brand new album Generations, and a just completed long tour of the US that saw them play two nights at New York's Beacon Theater. The new CD is their best in years, and the tour saw them play to packed houses everywhere they went. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo was in attendance the second night of this two-gig stand at the Beacon, and brings this full concert report.

This was to be the first time I had seen Journey since the 1981 Escape tour, where I was a mere 15 year old fan sitting amongst over 15,000 strong at the then known as Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, NJ. Well, that was along time ago, and many millions of albums and band changes later, but Journey is still going strong. Hot on the heels of the release of the excellent Generations album, Journey trecked across the US for a summer/fall tour that would see them stop at The Beacon Theater for a two-night stand just before Thanksgiving. With the prospect of a day off the next day thanks to the holiday, dinner, drinks, and a long-overdue chance to once again catch Journey seemed like a good call, and it was. This was to be a night of Journey music alone, and no opening act, so promptly at 8PM the band took the stage to a thunderous applause from the 2500+ (probably more than that actually) fans in attendance. Journey did an interesting thing this evening, as they started off with some of their hits, then launched into a few older, rare songs, plus a few covers and new tracks, then launched into the final hour plus of genuine Journey classics. For the casual fan who only knows the hits from rock radio, the mid-section of the set might have been a little taxing, as the band ripped into older songs like "I'm Gonna Leave You", "Feeling That Way/Anytime", as well as a blistering medley of the Hendrix/Santana songs 'Voodoo Chile/Gypsy Queen" and a stunning version of the "Star Spangled Banner" from Neal Schon.

Neal Schon

In fact, the guitarist showed all night why he has long been considered one of the most versatile guitar players on the planet. His catchy riffs and scorching solos have been a mainstay of the Journey sound for close to four decades, and it can easily be said that he has only gotten better. Also along for the ride is long-time keyboard player Jonathan Caine, bassist Ross Valory, new drummer Deen Castronovo (who is great singer as well), and vocalist Steve Augieri, who actually has been in the band for close to a decade now. Amazingly he sounds just like Steve Perry, so if you closed your eyes you would think it is 1984 all over again. The last part of the set saw the entire crowd on their feet, singing along to every word from Augieri, and the band got one standing ovation after another. The incredible thing is just how many memorable and classic hit songs this band actually had, so whether your opinion of Journey is that they are not heavy enough, not progressive enough, too bluesy, too poppy, not enough jazz, the end result is that the band were always about good commercial hard rock songs and catchy ballads, and they delivered that in spades this night. I don't think there was a song that myself or the crowd didn't hear that we wanted to-they played it all for the most part.

Do yourself a favor, if you are or have ever been a fan of Journey, go out and get yourself a copy of Generations, and make sure to catch them live the next time they come around. It will be one of the most fun shows you have attended in quite some time.


Pete Pardo

Set List-In No Particular Order
The Place in Your Heart
Voodo Chile/Gypsy Queen
I'm Gonna Leave You
Faith In The Heartland
Wheel In The Sky
Still They Ride (Deen vocal)
Only The Young
Lovin Touchin Squeezin
Open Arms
When You Love A Woman
Stone In Love
Separate Ways
Don't Stop Believing
Chain Reaction
Any Way You Want It
Every Generation
Walks Like a Lady (Ross vocal)
Star Spangled Banner (Neal Schon solo)
Ask The Lonely
Don't Stop Believing
Feeling That Way/Anytime (Jon, Steve, Deen vocals)
Be Good to Yourself
Patiently (Deen vocal)
Who's Cryin' Now

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