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|My Journey Experience|
|Written by Rocky|
|Friday, 19 September 2008 20:17|
September 5, 2008
Better grab something to drink or eat and get comfortable, this one's going to take a while.After months of anticipation, the day has come for Journey’s only show in Canada for this year’s Revelation Tour along with Cheap Trick and Heart. I was a little bit worried that their show will be cancelled because a few days before their Toronto gig; I’ve read that Arnel was under the weather. They even postponed their concert in Manchester, New Hampshire just a couple of nights before for Arnel to recuperate.
When Journey announced to the world on December 5, 2007 that they have a new frontman and he’s a Filipino, I was curious who this guy is because he must be very exceptional to be the new lead singer of Journey. The name Arnel Pineda was mentioned and this struck a chord,
I cannot remember the exact date but I can vividly recall what happened on that day. It was one lazy Sunday afternoon in 1999 or 2000. I was strolling inside SM Cebu at that time when I passed by at the Entertainment Section of the giant mall. They usually have shows there every weekend where bands and some upcoming singers perform for free. There was a guy singing on stage and from what I’ve read on the streamers, his name is Arnel Pineda and he is promoting his solo album. Out of curiosity, I dropped by and watched him do his stuff. I cannot remember what song he was singing but what hit me was his range.
I was about to leave the place when he started singing “Open Arms” in a cappella. This song is one of my favorites. I turned around to listen if he can hit those high notes. I froze. I can’t believe what I was hearing. He sang the song with ease. He nailed it. I closed my eyes listening to the most beautiful interpretation of this power ballad that I’ve ever heard. Then came the last few lines of the chorus - Hoping you'll see ..What your love means to me …Open LEGS.
What the …? It was akin to having a beautiful dream but you were awaken because you fell out of your bed. When I opened my eyes, I saw him smiling, grinning from ear to ear, fully aware that the audience didn’t expect it. Anyway, I was very impressed. I don’t know what happened to him or to his career after that day but every time I hear "Open Legs", I mean “Open Arms”; I can’t help but remember his amazing voice.
Now back to the show. The day started off with the sky a little bit gloomy. I checked the weather channel for any news and the weatherman said there will be rain and thunderstorm in the evening. Damn. This is the day that I’ve been waiting for and mother nature is not cooperating.
There were 7 of us going to the concert – me, the wifey, my 10-year old son and 4 of my friends. We left our place at already 5:30 PM (the show starts at 7 PM) because we had to wait for a friend from work. On normal days, it will only take 25 minutes from our place to the concert arena but today’s traffic was terrible. We forgot that 500 international stars are in town for the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival albeit their presence did not help brighten the skies that night.
We were still at the gates when Cheap Trick started their set. You can hear the roar of the crowd from there. They had already performed about 3 songs when we were able to find our seats. Robin Zander, the group’s lead vocals, told the audience that people as far as Manila and the U.S. came to Toronto for this show. I am not much of a Cheap Trick fan but I like their song “The Flame”. This is one of my favorite songs that Arnel covered during his Zoo days. Jonathan Cain played the piano for them for a couple of songs. It was fun watching Cheap Trick performed especially when the flamboyant Rick Nielsen played his 4-neck guitar in one of their songs. He had a new guitar nearly every song and showered the front rows with guitar picks. The appreciative crowd gave them a big round of applause after their performance.
Next came Heart. They opened their set with an instrumental from their hot keyboard player. Then the Wilson sisters and the rest of the band joined her onstage. Nancy Wilson is amazing with her guitars and mandolin. Her acoustic rendition of “These Dreams” sent shivers down my skin. It was incredible. Her equally talented sister, Ann, brought the house down and I did have goose bumps when she sang “Alone”. The lady does have some great pipes. Hearing her voice recorded is one thing but hearing her live is another. In my own personal opinion, no female singer of any musical genre can touch her. She’s fantastic. Another song that had the crowd rocking was “Barracuda”.
Halfway during Heart’s performance, it started to drizzle. The people at the back particularly at the lawn area had to put on their raincoats and open their umbrellas. Heart was given a standing ovation from the crowd after their outstanding performance. They went back to the stage after a few minutes and did 2 more songs for an encore. They finished their set at 9:05 PM. This time the drizzle stopped. The gods must be smiling at Journey.
After the roadies were done setting up the stage for Journey, the lights went out. You can feel the excitement of the people at the amphitheater. Then the picture of Journey’s new album “Revelation” was flashed on the big screen. The crowd went wild when they showed the band in a huddle backstage. Arnel was waving to the camera flashing his killer smile that made girls (and those who think they are) swoon.
When the stage lights were turned on, the four members of the band were already on stage but where’s Arnel? Then the opening licks of “Never Walk Away” filled the air and Arnel came out from the right side of the stage sprinting with his microphone and arrived at the center of the stage just in time for the first line of the song.
Some people in our section (we were at level 400) were just sitting down during the first song. Either they don’t know the lyrics of the song because it was from the band’s new album or they were shocked to see that Journey has a new lead singer, or both. Anyway, we in my group stood up and yelled at the top of our lungs.
They followed it up with “Only The Young”, “Stone In Love” and more of their classic hits which pumped up the crowd. It was when they played “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” that the crowd of more than 15,000 was in the palm of Arnel’s hand. He really owned this song. From then on there was no turning back. The crowd danced, sang, jump, clapped and stomped their feet. The band bombarded us with hits after hits including “After All These Years” and “Change for the Better” from their new album.
At one point, Neal Schon introduced Arnel to the crowd and told everybody that it’s his birthday. The crowd shouted back “Happy Birthday Arnel!”
When they played “Open Arms”, the middle-aged couple sitting in front of us stood up and left their seats. I thought they didn’t enjoy the show but they went to the aisle and danced cheek-to-cheek. Sweet. They both stayed there until the end of the show which was good for us because we have unobstructed view of the stage.
The entire band played very tight and everyone seemed really relaxed and had fun on stage. Neal Schon (guitar), Jonathon Cain (keyboards/guitar), Ross Valory (bass) and Deen Castronovo (drums) were, as always, outstanding. Arnel sounded amazing live and interacted well with the crowd. He was a ball of energy, running on both ends of the stage, high kicks off the drum riser, tossing the mic and still hitting all the high notes. It was an awesome sold-out birthday concert for Arnel. I’m very proud of him.
Thank you, Journey for a very memorable night. What an awesome experience. Rain or shine I will watch them again.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 December 2008 14:42|