Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Pristine "Journey"


My sister and I saw Journey in concert at the Mid-South Coliseum in 1980. They were just starting to hit, and it was just before they would explode.

For those who have interest, "The Babys" was the opening act. What happened that night at the Coliseum and how we got home is the stuff of story that probably can't be shared here, but suffice it to say, to this day when Jerri Ann and I talk about it, we both laugh and wonder how we made it home.

Journey is one of the handful of bands that accompanied me from high school into adulthood.

They are a very talented bunch, and I'm of the opinion that Neal Schon is among the most talented and under appreciated guitarists around.

In the fall of 1981, I took part in the UN-Washington Seminar as a high school senior, travelling via bus from the Laurelwood Shopping Center across from Christ UMC to D.C. and then to NYC, to Niagara Falls and back to Memphis. Journey's "Escape" was played on the jam box's tape deck so many times through that trip that I'm pretty sure there was some sort of brainwashing and conditioning going on.

The band's front man, Steve Perry, could bring it. I didn't look a thing like him, but I dug the tenor voice and fancied myself a bit a tenor who could get it done, too, if you know what I mean.

A slow dance with my girlfriend singing, "Open Arms, " in her ear---Magic!

I share the back story to share this - Journey has a new album out.

No problem.

They have a new front man. No problem.

Believe me, I'm in a band, I get it.

It's Neil and Jonathan's band- you gotta do what you gotta do. Cetera left Chicago. Gabriel left Genesis. Roth left Van Halen, then rejoined them, then didn't, and then did, and somewhere in there is the Red Rocker - it happens.

The problem is not the new album, at least the disc one of "Revelation."

It's disc two.

Disc two is Journey "covering" Journey's hits with the new guy, who sounds enough like Steve Perry to be scary, fronting the band.

Now, why do that?

To devoted Journey fans, why have the new guy, who will have to sing the old songs in concert anyway, cover the old tunes in such a way as to erase Steve's presence from the group and his history with it?

After all, it's Perry's voice the new guy is emulating - no doubt about it.

Funny thing, the human animal - the capacity to rewrite history in such a way that if you say it was so long enough and loud enough, even though it wasn't, people will believe it anyway.

Well, Steve, I ain't a forgetting you brother. I feel sure you were a pain in the butt in the band, but those pipes get you a pass in my book. I wish the new guy well with the new material - but the classic stuff? That belongs to you, and the memories of what my encounters with that music brought cannot be bought by an attempt to redux.

5 comments:

Joe Baseball said...

I remember (sort of) that night in 1980. I was a Babys fan; my brother was the Journey guy. At least that's where we were going in. My God, the Babys were BAD! I left with an appreciation for Journey. To this day I don't know if it's because they were so good, or the openers were so perfectly wretched.

Anonymous said...

The re-recordings were part of the deal with Walmart. From what I heard, Walmart originally wanted 4 new songs plus a re-recording of the dirty dozen. It's nice that the band was able to negotiate to extend the new songs to 11. In other words, without the re-recordings, it would be tough for Walmart to sell the new album. So without it, no new album.

I still love and prefer the older versions, but the new versions are something else to listen to, which is welcome in my book.

Meanwhile, I mostly only listen to the NEW TRACKS WHICH ROCKS!!!!

Btw, this new album sold 107K copies in its first week!!!

Anonymous said...

The new guy's name is Arnel Pineda - (non-american-name)- you already know his name but you don't want to acknowledge it for whatever personal reasons you have. Its not his call to re-record Steve greatest hits. Arnel can't even copycat a 'hip replacement that was never done'.

Anonymous said...

It is a business decision. This way Steve Perry can't collect royalties for the re-recordings. While the band, which Neal Schon and Mr. Cain formed, is trying to move on and is getting some work done, Steve Perry is sitting on his fat ass still contemplating to get a hip replacement and getting royalties for the old recordings.

sis said...

How well I remember that night. . It's a great memory that I share with you. I wish we had the time to make more. I miss you. And by the way Steve Perry is one of a kind!!! I totally agree with you on that one.