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Concert review: A three-peat for Journey at Hollywood Bowl with Foreigner, Night Ranger
by Gerry Gittelson - Daily News
October 13, 2011


LOS ANGELES - Perhaps Journey never will get the credit it deserves, but there is no denying the San Francisco band's massive popularity after a triumphant sold-out concert Tuesday at Hollywood Bowl before a crowd of more than 18,000 - Journey's biggest headlining show in the Southland since performing at the Rose Bowl on July 2, 1982.

What makes Journey ability to attract such a large audience especially impressive is the Hollywood Bowl show was the band's third local arena concert over the past two months after stops in Santa Barbara and Irvine. Plus the fact that nearly every song was at least 25 years old.

While Journey's drawing power and popularity have been indisputable for many years, the group was granted new life when

"Don't Stop Believing" found its way back into pop culture coupled with new singer Arnel Pineda joining in late 2007.

Pineda, of the Philippines, does not quite measure up to the great Steve Perry - no one does - but the little singer with the big voice has granted Journey a whole new Asian audience, and essentially that's the difference between Journey playing venues like Gibson Amphitheatre or the Palladium compared to arena dates.

When Pineda first started, he went out of his way to duplicate Perry's inflections to make the old songs sound as similar as possible. But now that the singer has been around nearly four years while gaining confidence every step of the way, Pineda puts his own stamp on all the classics like "Separate Ways," "Faithfully," "Open Arms" and "Lights" and "Wheel in the Sky" - and even those most loyal to Perry have got to be impressed with thousands of people going crazy and singing along for a whole evening.

Journey's performance was similar to the Irvine show, as most of the material was culled from the band's greatest-hits packages. But as the six-month tour winds down, the band seems to have found a renewed enthusiasm, particularly guitarist Neal Schon, who got so carried away during "Any Way You Want it" that he took a foray into the crowd, then presented a teenager with his guitar as a parting gift before the group launched into "Don't Stop Believing" to close the night.

Confetti streamed, fireworks exploded overhead, and everyone was buzzing with excitement as they made their way to the exit - a successful performance indeed.

Foreigner supported, and though the band went over well, it was a bit weird not having a single original member, as founding guitarist Mick Jones is taking a hiatus because of personal issues. Though singer Kelly Hansen has been in place for six years and continues to prove a capable replacement for legendary Lou Gramm - no easy task, as others have tried with less success - there was something off-putting about the whole thing.

Nevertheless, the old hits like "Double Vision," "Head Games," "Waiting For a Girl Like You" and "Juke Box Hero" all sounded great, and an accompanying light show was well-done, so probably 99 percent of the crowd did not give a hoot who was standing up there; the audience just wanted to have a good time, and Foreigner delivered.

Night Ranger opened, jumping on stage 10 minutes early to get a couple of extra songs in - including a Doors number as an homage to the classic venue - and Jack Blades and his bandmates did a fine job with favorites like "Don't Tell You Me You Love Me," "Sister Christian" and "(You Can Still) Rock in America."

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http://www.dailynews.com/music/ci_19095934