Last week I was in New Orleans for a work conference spending my days in sessions with titles such as, “Infor AP Automation ” and “Building Consolidated Financials with Lawson Business Intelligence “. Our diligence in getting through the long days of information overload was rewarded in the evenings with vendor cocktail parties and good food. Think oysters on the half shell, gator bites and of course beignets. The highlight of the week was a concert by the group Journey. Although I had always liked Journey, I was not overly excited for this concert because I was really a Steve Perry fan and knew he was not the lead singer with Journey these days. Boy was I in for a nice surprise.
After Steve Perry left Journey in 1998, the group went through several lead singers but never felt they had found a perfect fit for their band. In 2007 Journey’s lead guitarist Neal Schon, saw a UTube video of Arnel Pineda performing cover songs by bands such as Journey, Aerosmith, and the Eagles. Neal contacted the person who had uploaded the videos to UTube in an effort to reach Arnel who was living in the Philippines. Neal emailed Arnel who dismissed the email as a hoax but eventually responded after being encouraged by friends. Shortly thereafter, Arnel flew to San Fransisco for a 2 day audition and the rest is history.
Arnel Pineda has a powerful and emotional voice that fits perfectly with this classic rock band. He has mentioned in an interview that he knows the fans are hearing Steve Perry when he sings but he does not care because he is so honored and thankful for having this opportunity.
Besides hearing all the old Journey favorites, Don’t Stop Believing, Faithfully, and Open Arms just to name a few, Neal Schon, Journey’s lead guitarist played a guitar solo of the Star Spangled Banner that was lump-in-the-throat incredible. This band had a concert hall full of geeky software types on their feet, clapping, cheering and singing.
I absolutely loved this concert and will definitely go see them again if I get the opportunity. Until then I am just loading up the itunes.