Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Arnel's initial journey

I love Journey.
Not in the die-hard idol worship, Journey-is-God sorta way.
I'm a big fan.
Followed them as early as their Gregg Rolie days, through into the Jonathan Cain on keyboard days.
From their early prog-rock-ish beginnings into the late 70's AOR days
and into the watered-down Mainstream 80's hits. I was there for Journey.

And in the midst of all this fandom, was the voice of Steve Perry.
His semi-shrill powerhouse vocal style help define Journey's pomp and bombast.
When Perry went solo in '83, it was a sure sign all was not well in Journey.
They recongregated in '86 for Raised On Radio, minus key members Ross Valory,
replaced by future American Idol judge Randy Jackson (y'mean you didn't know that?)
as well as classical-trained skinsman Steve Smith, subbed with session drummer
Mike Baird. Dark times for Journey.
That's where I ended my fan tenure.
Numerous other personnel changes occurred.
Including a new vocalist Steve Augeri.
And yet another one in Jeff Scott Soto.
Tumultuous at best were the events within Journey.
Yet they trooped on.
Til a fateful surf on youtube introed to Neal Schon to Journey's destiny.
A Filipino band, The Zoo, covering Journey songs.
Led by vocalist Arnel Pineda.
No newbie to the local band circuit.
Ex-Amo band member.
Countless showband stints in Japan.
A haphazard solo career that failed to take off.
A blonde 'do.
It's all behind Arnel now.
The Zoo, at least.
And the blonde 'do.
Arnel Pineda is now Journey's new vocalist.
Pretty big shoes to fill, if I may say so myself.
The big question shall remain.. does he have what it takes?
The answer..
And how.
Journey's first live gig for 2008 with Arnel Pineda hit the stage in Chile.
To resounding response and results.
Visibly in the feeling-my-way-in with opening night jitters, Arnel plows through it all.
The expected comparisons oft prevail, but Journey is still in the infantile stages of
the Arnel era, so cutting them, especially, Pineda, some slack, is fairly in order.
There's no doubt he can cut it in a live atmosphere.
Come time to record new material, is where Arnel's trial by fire truly begins.
One way or another, Journey fan or not, Arnel's come a long way.
And he has definitely done us Filipinos proud.
In the meantime, check out Arnel live.
And judge for yourself.


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