'Journey - Live in Japan 2017' [BR + 2CD]
(Journey / Blu-ray + 2CD / NR / 2019 / Eagle Vision)
Overview: Journey return to Japan for a very special concert filmed at Budokan. This concert film captures the iconic rock band recreating their legendary albums Escape and Frontiers, in an explosive rare performance.
Blu-ray Verdict: On February 7th, 2017, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Journey proved their status as one of rock's best live bands when they brought their landmark albums Escape (just in time for its 35th anniversary) and Frontiers to the legendary Budokan stage in Japan.
Eagle Rock Entertainment will now release this concert when 'Journey - Live In Japan 2017: Escape + Frontiers' is released on both DVD+2CD and Blu-ray+2CD set this March 29th, 2019.
For those not in the complete know, Journey is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1973, composed of former members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch.
The band has gone through several phases; its strongest commercial success occurred between 1978 and 1987 when Steve Perry was lead vocalist.
During that period, the band released a series of hit songs, including "Don't Stop Believin'" (1981), which in 2009 became the top-selling track in iTunes history among songs not released in the 21st century.
Its parent studio album, Escape, the band's eighth and most successful, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and yielded another of their most popular singles, "Open Arms".
Its 1983 follow-up album, Frontiers, was almost as successful in the United States, reaching No. 2 and spawning several successful singles; it broadened the band's appeal in the United Kingdom, where it reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart.
Journey enjoyed a successful reunion in the mid-1990s and later regrouped with a series of lead singers.
Now, whether you like him as a performer or a vocal artist or not, the latest lead singer - Arnel Pineda - has been around for a few years now.
Hired by the band themselves from a deep YouTube search, Filipino singer Pineda (formerly of the cover band The Zoo) has been doing his best Steve Perry impression now since 2008's Revelation.
Personally, my favorite was my friend Steve Augeri - formerly of Tyketto and Tall Stories - who not only personified the appearance of Perry in both looks and vocals perfectly, but was one of the nicest people you would ever hope to meet.
That aside, here on 'Journey - Live in Japan 2017' we witness a very triumphant evening of music from the still-massive AOR band. Bringing forth songs from 1981's Escape and 1983's Frontiers it's known to us now that these albums cemented the San Francisco band's music in the cultural zeitgeist.
Opening with, track-for-track, "Don't Stop Believin' (Intro)" from the Escape album, before launching (after some hearty audience applause) into the full version of that song, they seamlessly move through the album thereafter.
I mean, let's be honest here, Pineda sounds like a perfect fit for the classic rock titans and has done for the past 11 years. His live performances here are just great.
I mean, his singing voice is not only as good as Steve Perry's ever was, but he really brings the energy to a live performance.
1. Don't Stop Believin' (Intro) 2. Don't Stop Believin' 3. Stone In Love 4. Who's Crying Now 5. Keep On Runnin' 6. Still They Ride 7. Escape 8. Lay It Down 9. Dead Or Alive 10. Neal Schon Guitar Solo 11. Mother, Father 12. Jonathan Cain Piano Solo 13. Open Arms
Once Escape has played through we get to the second disc which is the entire, track-for-track live performance of Frontiers. Kicking things off with the immense hit "Separate Ways (Intro)" and then the actual full-length track, they then launch into "Send Her My Love," "Chain Reaction" and "After The Fall."
Again, Pineda does a good job channeling Perry and watching this incredible two hour live show, the band seems to be enjoying themselves tremendously.
All are in fine form musically and overall (with regard the camera work) it's never jaunty or shaky or flash-cut annoying.
At the end of the second album ("Frontiers" and "Rubicon"), Journey returns to the stage to perform two blistering extended encores in both "La Raza Del Sol" (the B-side of "Still They Ride", previously unreleased up until a few years ago) and "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'".
1. Separate Ways (Intro) 2. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) 3. Send Her My Love 4. Chain Reaction 5. After The Fall 6. Faithfully 7. Edge Of The Blade 8. Steve Smith Drum Solo 9. Back Talk 10. Frontiers 11. Rubicon 12. La Raza del Sol 13. Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'.
In short, and in closing, 'Journey - Live in Japan 2017,' presented with a minimal stage set, without big extravagant light shows or monitors, lets the music do the talking.
The spectacular musicianship of Neal Schon (founder / guitarist), Jonathan Cain (keyboardist), Ross Valory (bassist), Steve Smith (drummer), and Arnel Pineda (lead vocals) shines on all their famed hits and album tracks alike.