It's official, there's nothing weirder than...

A Journey concert.

Apologies to any of their fans here, but this band is just odd.

So, last night my wife and I got roped into seeing Tower of Power, Steve Miller and Journey at The Hollywood Bowl with three other couples from our neighborhood. This is LA and the Bowl is both everything right and everything wrong about this place. It's a fantastic venue for a show, but the last two miles to the parking lot took us 40 minutes.

Hence, we missed Tower of Power, but caught the last 7 or 8 songs by the Steve Miller Band. I thought that four of them - The Joker, Keep On Rocking You, Jet Airliner, and Swingtown were good ol' rock n roll fun. The encore - Fly Like an Eagle - was a bit of a mess, but overall this was a good show. Then Journey came out.

In my view, never has so much talent had so much success in the service of so little. Everyone of these guys can play the sh*t out of his instrument (including vocals) and everyone gets a solo or 3 to show that off. Well, everyone except for the guy who played an inaudible (to my ear) 12 string on half the songs. He may not have even been plugged in.)

Other than the obligatory 5 songs in the middle from their new record - which no one wanted to hear and made for an excellent bathroom break - every song was a familiar hit. But...

Every moment felt, hollow, empty, and scripted to the last detail. Even when they rocked 'em up, these songs just get louder, not more exciting.

Neal Schon is a highly skilled player, but he broke the guitar players' first commandment: Thou shalt never solo to the Star Spangled Banner, unless thoust first name is spelled Jimi. His isn't.

I vaguely remembered that Journey had replaced Steve Perry with a Filipino singer they found on you tube. I didn't realize that it was a miniature Filipino half the size of the next smallest band member. There is IMO nothing weirder than hearing familiar, empty pop hits unsuccessfully rocked up by an expert band led by (effectively) a Filippino midget.

And that's what I saw last night. Highly recommended for those who enjoy the surreal.
Sorry for your experience, but it made for a good post and it may save others from a similar fate. Thanks for sharing.

PS--I know what you mean about the Star-Spangled Banner. I feel the same way. Also I wish everyone would stop playing Little Wing and All Along the Watchtower (actually a Dylan tune but even Dylan acknowledges the power of the Hendrix cover).
Journey has always been somewhat commercially over-the top and meh for me. Wasn't the Uncle Jessie character on full house based on Steve Perry? :^)

I've seen John Stamos with The Beach Boys live recently. Our "Full House" loving family got a kick out of that. At least it was fun.

Still I would expect a good Journey concert in a decent venue to be good entertainment, but with show business, you just never know.

GOing to see Justin Hayward (lead singer/guitarist/songwriter of The MOody BLues) solo in a wonderful local small club venue this Thursday. I'm very hyped in that I am seldom dissapointed by acts I have seen there over the years, and I am a huge long time Moody Blues and Hayward fan. Have seen Moodies six times over the years now all in somewhat larger venues, but our table will likely be a few yards in front of Justin here and sound and setup in this venue is always spot on! Can't wait.
I saw Journey, 2 or 3 summers ago with REO Speedwagon or The Doobie Brothers or Styx, (can't remember) and they were indeed less than anticipated.

The weird thing for me was how much that new lead singer resembled Steve Perry! I actually thought it was him for the first few minutes.
Marty - that was an excellent review. I enjoyed reading it. Hope you get to go to more bad concerts so you can report on 'em :-) !
Your understanding of what is wrong with Journey shows a much
higher level of insight into music. Journey is, and always
was, nothing but a product. Yes, all commercial music is a
product and someone has to make some money, but bands like
Journey just put all the bad things together in one place. As
to the singer - for some reason, we can't accept an Asian
frontman in a rock band. It is well-known that Freddie
Mercury, Indian by birth, passed for white his entire life, as
nobody would accept a non-European in that role. Sad but
Chayro - Agree with your take (and Marty's) on Journey but c'mon..."...nobody would accept a non-European in that role."? Seriously?? Maybe I'm missing what you are trying to say there. went to see journey....did you honestly go there with any kind of expectations? That's like knocking the karate kid part 3 for not being as good as the original went to see journey....did you honestly go there with any kind of expectations? That's like knocking the karate kid part 3 for not being as good as the original.
There are a couple of documentaries on Queen, all excellent, by the way. They discuss Freddie's upbringing and heritage and it was thought at the time by all involved that his non-European heritage would not be accepted in the rock industry. I can't say that FM ever specifically denied his heritage, but it was something that was never spoken of until very near his death. And, as we all know, in music and perhaps moreso in rock and rap, image makes or breaks you. This probably applies to classical as well, but it's somewhat less obvious. Somewhat. Ghosthouse, when I said non-European, I should have been more specific. I was referring to Freddie's Indian heritage and the fact that it was believed at that time that he could not suceed unless it was supressed. Unfortunately, the same may hold true today, as the OP had a very hard time accepting someone of Asian descent in the role of Journey frontman, regardless of his talent.

As I explained in the OP, I went only because my wife and I joined a neighborhood group for the show. I had zero expectations one way or the other - I basically gave it no thought. Zero expectations are not the same as bad expectations.


I don't think it's a matter of accepting Asian rock singers, more a matter of rarely encountering any. If Led Zep replaced Robert Plant (as they may) with a woman, people might comment on how strange it is to see a woman leading Led Zep. That's not a comment on a woman's ability to lead a rock band - see Grace Slick, Courtney Love, Joan Jett, Stevie Nicks, et al - or a willingness to accept a woman in that role. It's merely an acknowledgement that it's a surprising sight. BTW, I specifically acknowledged in the OP that the guy can sing the sh*t out of those songs.

My comment that the singer was Filipino wasn't meant to imply that a Filipino shouldn't/couldn't lead a rock band. I only meant to emphasize how unusual the visual impact was - and that's due as much to the guy's tiny size as it is his complexion. I would guess that he's about 5'2" and maybe 110 lbs or so - roughly the size of my 9 year old daughter. Steve Perry was small, Mick Jagger is small. This guy is tiny.

No offense was intended and I do apologize if any was taken.
Wow. The story gets even more bizarre. When I read your post, my first reaction was that it takes a big ego to attempt a Star Spangled Banner solo at the Hollywood Bowl. Then I remembered that Schon had been dating the woman from the "Real Housewives" franchise that crashed a White House State dinner a few years ago. A quick google confirmed that not only was Schon involved with Michaele Salahi, he actually got married to her in December- complete with $14.95 pay per view coverage of the ceremony. Some people can't stand to not be in the spotlight once they get a taste of fame. IMO Journey had some singable top 40 songs years ago, but all in all, they were basically a prepackaged corporate rock band who really are no longer relevant.