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Heat doesn't deter fans from rocking with Journey in St Louis
by Sean Derrick -
August 02, 2011

If you ever doubted that the rock group Journey was as popular now in the post-Steve Perry era, all you have to do is to check out the group at a live show, and that in itself should make you rethink that prior opinion.

Fans in St. Louis got just that opportunity this past Wednesday at a very hot and steamy Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Opening for Journey were veteran rockers Night Ranger and Foreigner. With each band in a different state each proved resilient to their respective stage of their careers.

In Night Ranger the original core members of Jack Blades, Kelly Keagy, and Brad Gillis remain and looked as youthful as ever. They rocked through a 30 minute set that started early with their latest single "Growing up in California" off their first charted CD in 23 years in "Somewhere in California". The rest of their set was an intense and solid greatest hits rundown (with a Damn Yankees cover of "Coming of Age") that helped set the stage for the rest of the night.

The quote of the night came from Blades who joked about the heat "We are supposed to be out here to warm you guys up. Are you warm yet?"

Foreigner didn't have such luck. Lead singer Kelly Hansen experienced several technical issues when it seemed he could not find a working microphone. Though he didn't let that deter him, when he finally did find a working mic he, along with Bassist Jeff Pilson, worked the crowd extremely well in the heat. The set was tight after the first song and provided a strong set up for Journey. The only original member of the band, Mick Jones, produced stellar guitar licks while keeping the band "classic".

Journey didn't waste any time setting the stage for how their set would be by storming out to "Separate Ways (Worlds apart)" and "Ask the Lonely" before showcasing their newest single "City of Hope" off their latest CD "Eclipse".

While the aforementioned Perry was not the band's first singer (he was actually their 3rd) he was their most popular, leading the band through their heyday in the late 1970's - late 1980's. However, the band's "newest" (since 2007) lead singer, Arnel Pineda has endeared himself to Journey's faithful, and even helped bring in new fans with his energetic style and dynamic vocal ability. Plowing through such classic Journey hits as "Stone in Love", "Don't Stop Believin'", and "Any Way You Want it" Pineda displayed showed off his incredible pipes. He showcased his versatility by crooning effortlessly through ballads like "Faithfully", "Lights", and "Send Her My Love", much to the delight of the over 17,000 in attendance.

The stage setup was simple, yet bright, with a few lasers for effect. But make no mistake, fancy lasers and elaborate stage setups are not the focus on Journey's shows. It is most certainly the showcasing of their extremely talented lineup. Besides, just watching Pineda jumping around with boundless energy, coupled with his amazing vocals, was enough to light up the stage.

The rest of the band (Original members Guitarist Neal Schon and Bassist Ross Valory, along with Longtime keyboardist Jonathan Cain, and drummer Deen Castronovo) produced a sound that was not only tight and loud but filled with a ton of emotion, most certainly not a band just going through the motions.

In fact there were few issues with any band on the bill as all showed why they have sustained careers that have lasted 30 + years in an industry that can be brutal to some who can't keep up. With good sounding new CD's from Night Ranger and Journey, as well as Foreigner's most recent - 2009's "Can't Slow Down" which was their highest charting CD in 22 years, one thing is apparent: none of these groups are going away anytime soon.

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