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Journey's new singer has the chops for job
by Jan Deknock - Omaha World-Herald
July 23, 2008

Yes, he does.

That's the short answer to the question that every Journey fan wants to know: Does new lead singer Arnel Pineda really sound just like the band's former frontman, Steve Perry?

Ever since Perry made his final exit from the group a decade ago, the other members have tried and failed to find a suitable replacement. Judging by Pineda's spirited performance Tuesday night at a packed Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, they may have finally found their guy.

As soon as Pineda let loose with his first Perry-esque wail, it was obvious that his voice has both the power and nuance to deliver faithful versions of all those Journey anthems that dominated rock radio in the late 1970s and 1980s.

What remains to be seen is how well fans take to his hyper stage style, filled with leaps, spins and tosses of the mike. His bio says he's 40, but he looks and moves much younger.

Perhaps he's just happy to have this job. After all, a year ago he was performing in a cover band and making YouTube videos of his best Perry-style vocals. He was found one day during an Internet search by Journey's lead guitarist, Neal Schon.

Still, after a few songs filled with stage antics, it was a relief to see him calm down a bit and just deliver simple, heartfelt vocals on "After All These Years," one of several tracks from Journey's new CD "Revelation" featured in the concert's opening minutes.

Deadline restrictions prevented staying until the end of Journey's segment of Tuesday night's show, which also featured the classic rock bands Cheap Trick and Heart.

Going on first was Cheap Trick, which offered a brisk, 45-minute set of such trademark hits as "I Want You to Want Me," "Surrender" and "Dream Police." The band, formed in the 1970s, still features its original lineup of Rick Nielsen, Bun E. Carlos, Robin Zander and Tom Petersson.

The most satisfying set on the night came from Heart, led as always by Ann Wilson's searing vocals and sister Nancy Wilson's fine guitar work. Although Heart's biggest success came in the mid-1980s with such power ballads as "Alone" and "Never," the brightest moments of Tuesday night's hourlong set were on harder-rocking songs - from "Straight On" to "Magic Man" to "Barracuda" - from the band's early days.

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