Monday, March 16, 2009

Some (dis)enchanted evening with Journey

I'll keep this as short n' as sweet as humanly possible,
for your sake and mine.

What a letdown.

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, allow me to remind you
that I am a big Journey fan; always have, always will be.
Though I thought this was to be, regardless of who fronted the band,
but after last Saturday, I must confess I doubt it. Highly.
I didn't become an overnight Journey fan, like most, because of their
ballads. My initial foray with the band was in 1979, with their album
Evolution. When you're 17, all this racket sounds so fresh, so powerful.
That's what Journey sounded like to me in '79. Loud Neal Schon-propelled
guitar slabs, skin-pounding power provided by (then) drummer Aynsley Dunbar,
and of course, the soaring vocals of one Steve Perry.
I know, I know, this sounds like a lead-in to a Steve vs. Arnel slant.
We'll get to that later..
Like I was saying, I'm a Journey fan because of their music.
Not because of soulful Steve, not because of Neal Schon's fifty-million-notes-per-bar
guitar solos (which I now find too bloated and constipated) but for the songs.. the music.
My point having been made, let's get to last Saturday night.

I got my tickets at the last minute.
I didn't even think we'd get to watch, but thanks to Papa John, who opted
not to watch (omen there somewhere), off we unwittingly went.
We missed the kickoff, coming in sometime while the band was doing "Lights."
Oooh, impressive. Something from Infinity, I thought.
We hadn't had a bite to eat since lunch, so Summer and I
decided to chow on whatever overpriced food was available.
Overpriced hotdogs and watered down iced tea had to suffice.
"Tutugtugin kaya nila yung "Gimik?"" we joked to each other, seating ourselves
near the concessions.
Ran into Joshua of RT, said hi.
Also my old chum, Ed Satellite of the Pirate Satellite radio show.
Arnel Pineda was trying out every move in his Journey showmanship manual,
leaping spread-legged off Dean Castronovo's drum riser, and patronizingly pandering
to the locals with his "..Pilipinas!" laden banter.
It was Journey, but it was like watching a local band playing note-for-note
Journey songs.
Was it just me?
Just calling it as I saw it.
Too many new songs from Revelations, not enough old stuff for us old school fans.
My main bone to pick..
No "Girl Can't Help It.."
Okay, so they played "Still They Ride," good one. But..
no "I'll Be Alright Without You.."
Fine, they played "Open Arms.." of course they would.
It'd be mass edsa 3-like hysteria if they didn't. But..
no "Who's Crying Now.."
sure they played "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" with the familiar opening
synth lines sending the 80's era yups into a frenzy.
But the most unforgivable aspect of the night was..
Is this a Journey concert or what???
After "Separate Ways," Summer and I decided it was time to for us
and Journey to go just that, leaving with the strains of "Faithfully"
wafting through the bay area sea air.
We were supposed to have hied off to the after party,
but decided to call it a night.
A (usual) midnight VTR v.o. call proved more important than anything else.
Might as well get something good out of this (dis)enchanting evening with Journey.
Don't get me wrong.
I still like Journey.
Their new stuff doesn't hold much water.
But I can always relish the old stuff.
I'll just skip the ballads when I put their CDs on.


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