Live Review: Journey Reign As Arena Masters in Atlantic City

Published on August 8th, 2013

_MG_5977Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain perform with Journey on August 4, 2013 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – At this point in their career, Journey have already conquered the world many times over. The band with its roots in the 1970s has seen a full spectrum of changes over the years, arriving in 2013 as the triumphant keepers of a celebrated and explosive music catalog. So why are they pushing their limits once more with a genre-melding tour alongside country stars Rascal Flatts?

Because they can. At least that’s all we could come up with.

Journey certainly could have played it safe this year and booked a tour with a couple of its contemporaries. Like their 2011 and 2012 tours with Foreigner and Pat Benatar respectively, it would have probably been very satisfying and successful.

Their fans might have been happier for it.

But they chose to broaden the base, if you will, and tour with a country act for the first time in their history.

Exposing the Journey catalog to a new realm of mainstream country fans was apparently an offer too good to refuse.

It will probably end up being one the band’s most savvy choices, which says a lot given the steady stream of success they’ve encountered since picking Arnel Pineda to sing lead vocals in 2008.

It’s that year Journey was given a rebirth, a blissful state they were still basking in as they stormed on stage at the massive Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Pineda is a force to be reckoned with. Neal Schon defines guitar legend in a way few people can. 63-year-old Jonathan Cain looks closer to 40, and ripped out a new piano solo. Ross Valory has a sinfully good head of hair, and is animated as ever. Even though drummer Deen Castronovo didn’t get a turn at the microphone, he made his presence known.

The crowd was packed.

They rolled through the icy “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” and anthemic “Any Way You Want It” before crashing into a soft wave of ballads. Cain’s piano introductions of both “Faithfully” and “Open Arms” are downright artful; sending chills before the first line of the songs are even hinted.

Over to Neal Schon. He took the night’s guitar solo in a more eclectic direction, but the tone was still unmistakably Schon.

No doubt a few Flatts fans became Journey fans after hearing more than just “Don’t Stop Believin’”.

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