Journey and Asia performed their hits at Klipsch Music Center
In the eighties, Journey were a hit making machine. Dominating the airwaves, their music was everywhere from Mtv, the radio and movies. To date their anthemic “Don’t Stop Believin’” continues to be an inspirational classic. It was only fitting as I was walking around Klipsch Music Center on 7/23/17 that I saw a guy wearing an old Deer Creek shirt. For those too young to remember, Deer Creek was the name that Klipsch went by in the eighties, a name that many of us still refer to the place as to this day.
Asia, another band that churned out mega hits in the eighties, opened the evening with “Sole Survivor” and “Time Again” before jumping into “Don’t Cry”. A lengthy drum solo from Carl Palmer was followed by a tribute to former vocalist John Wetton who lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. Prior to the song, Billy Sherwood (you may know him from his work with Yes) was introduced as the band presented “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” with a back drop photo of Wetton. The mood was then lightened as a cover of The Buggles “Video Killed The Radio Star”. Asia’s two biggest hits rounded out the set, “Only Time Will Tell” and “Heat Of The Moment” which turned into a big crowd singalong. Guitarist Sam Coulson and keyboardist Geoff Downes were absolutely flawless throughout the set and Sherwood did Wetton justice as his vocals were spot on.
Journey then came out playing “Seperate Ways” and Klipsch was immediately transported back to the Deer Creek days. The party atmosphere was in full swing as the high energy Arnel Pineda (whom the band discovered on YouTube) took to the vocals as the band churned out hit after hit after hit. “Be Good To Yourself” and “Only The Young” followed and were a stark reminder of how much fun music in the eighties was, but at the same time making it sound very modern. Neal Schon followed these songs with a guitar solo. I’ve always known Schon was a good guitarist, but to be honest, he is an incredible guitarist. Having never seen them live I had only heard his studio work, but live allowed him to let loose and show the amount of talent he possesses.
The band, also consisting of Ross Valory on bass, Jonathan Cain on keys and guitar, and Steve Smith on drums, came back in after the solo with “Stone In Love” and “Any Way You Want It”. Schon then introduced the next song as the second song that was written with original vocalist Steve Perry and asked everyone to get their lighters out (everyone responded with cell phone flashlights instead) and dedicated “Lights” to Perry. An amazingly showcasing keyboard solo from Cain was up next that segued into “Open Arms” and “Who’s Crying Now” which featured an extended guitar solo from Schon.
During “Edge Of The Blade”, whenever Pineda was not singing, he was actively getting down to those in the front and having personal conversations, shaking hands and being a truly great frontman. “La Do Da” led into a Steve Smith drum solo that had him doing everything but juggling. Schon followed this up with another guitar solo, this time the tone was more bluesy and gritty as he worked “Amazing Grace” into it. “Wheel In The Sky” was up next and when Pineda wasn’t singing he was throwing CD’s out to an exuberant crowd. Many times as Pineda would give some stage banter, his accent could make him hard to understand, but when singing his vocals were crystal clear as he nailed every single note.
Jonathan then introduced “Faithfully” talking about how he wrote it in 1982 while on the bus missing his loved ones and that it had been the last song to make it onto Frontiers. The “oh, oh, oh’s” were solely provided by the near capacity crowd on this one. Then the unmistakable piano riff opened up the timeless classic “Don’t Stop Believin’” and the crowd went crazy as confetti cannons went off showering the crowd in white. After a very brief exit, Journey returned with an encore of “Lovin’, Touchin’, Sqeazin’”.
The great thing about this show, and bands like Journey and Asia, is that it shows you how powerful music can be and that the eighties were not just a time of big hair and one hit wonders. Everyone knew the words to every song, whether they were 18 or 80. The songs remain some of the best written and defined an entire generation.