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Arnel Interview with The Philippine Star
by Ricardo F. Lo - The Philippine Star
September 12, 2011

Even now that he has beautifully blended with the other Journey guys as the group's vocalist replacement for the Steve Perry, Arnel Pineda hasn't been spared by a few detractors.

"I can't do anything about them," conceded Arnel during a brief phone interview with Funfare. "Everybody is entitled to his own opinion. They can talk and talk, and my only pakiusap to them is this: Huwag lang sila violent. I'm with the Journey now and (my detractors) can't bring back what is not there anymore."

The Journey with Arnel has just come out with its second album, Eclipse (released locally by MCA Music, Inc.), consisting of 12 songs. Arnel wrote one song, To Whom It May Concern, and co-wrote another, City Of Hope, with guitarist Neal Schon and keyboardist Jonathan Cain.

When Arnel talked to Funfare, he and the other Journey members were in New York as part of their US concert tour that will end mid-October.

"We're having a break," said Arnel who preserves his vocal cords by not talking too much, getting as much sleep as he could and exercising.

"Journey is my life now," added Arnel who felt burned out during his first tour with the group four years ago. "I'm used to the Journey routine now,"which means keeping a back-breaking schedule. "Before kasi, my comfort zone was doing shows only in the Philippines and other places in Asia. The Journey tour covers all of USA and I sing all the songs."

He said he didn't feel homesick like he used to because his family is now with him.

His detractors notwithstanding, Arnel continues to win more hearts and get good reviews, like the following excerpt from a review of the Journey concert a few weeks ago in Birmingham, UK:

Talking of heroes, Journey has a new one. Their Philippines-born Arnel Pineda has clearly grown into his role over the past four years and was on a mission to win hearts and minds as he led the band through possibly the greatest back-catalogue in melodic rock.

While lead guitarist Neal Schon is the beating heart of the band, Pineda brings along a youthful vitality and enthusiasm, a non-stop energy and a voice that is as near is humanly possible as perfect replacement for Journey's much-missed singer Steve Perry.

Kicking things off with Jonathan Cain's keyboard intro to Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), Journey raised the roof with both singles and fan favorites, from the ballads Open Arms and Faithfully, to Stone in Love, Lights and Wheel In The Sky. Drummer Dean Castronovo impressed as ever when he took over on lead vocals for a spine-tingling Mother, Father.

Three tracks from the band's new album Eclipse were aired with the single City Of Hope - dedicated to Pineda's hometown of Manila - showing that Journey has not lost the knack of crafting a perfect and uplifting, melodic rock gem.

Of course, while the night was about more than just one song, when that song did arrive it almost lifted the roof of the arena out of sight. It's easy to forget that the chorus of Don't Stop Believin' only appears at the very end of the song after a mighty long tease. Post Glee it was time for Journey - and their fans - to reclaim melodic rock's greatest classic, and both did so in magnificent style.

After the last song of the main set, Anyway You Want It, Journey returned for their traditional encore, Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin', and a chance for the fans to sing themselves hoarse one last time.

Hopefully, any fans who think last night's concert was just a dream have this review to prove that it really did happen. And then some.

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