So now the review. We got to the national stadium a few minutes before the show was due to start. If you haven't been there, it is an excellent venue for concerts. It can sit 2000 people and because it is such a small venue, every seat has excellent visibility. I was sitting on the left of the stage behind Jonathan Cain (see the picture below!). One good piece of trivia, the national stadium was the first purpose built boxing stadium in the world and was opened in 1939. It was packed!
The concert started just before 8:00 with John Parr doing a short acoustic set, closing with his big hit from the 80's St Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion).
Journey came out just before 9 o'clock to a standing ovation. I was worried that the Ray Foley effect would have meant that the place was full of people that wanted to hear "Don't Stop Believin'" and knew nothing else. Well I needn't have worried, there are a lot of Journey fans who knew and sang along to all the songs from "Wheel in the Sky" to "Change for the Better". It was absolutely fantastic. The guys where having a great time on stage, and because of the size of the venue, it was great to actually see what they were playing. Neal Schon is the fastest guitarist I have seen in a long time, but he also knows how to play a melodic solo, or just play chords if that's what the song needs. Ross Valory is still full of energy, and he plays with such ease that it is contagious, his faces are so funny. Jonathan Cain moved between the keyboards and the guitars all night long. Unfortunately I coudn't see much of Deen Castronovo on drums, but he was very good as well. He sang on "Mother Father", and was great. Note how the setlist (from JC's piano) has the details of who is going to introduce each song!
When I first got interested on the bass, the first couple of songs that I learnt where "Anyway You Want It" and "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'". A bit later I learnt how to play "Don't Stop Believin'" and it was the sound of Ross Valory's bass in Escape that made me want to learn how to play the bass. Not surprisingly my highlights from yesterday where "Stone in Love" (listen to that bassline towards the end of the song!), "Who's Cryin' Now" and "Don't Stop Believin'" which has been my favourite song for the last twentysomething years! I also enjoyed the fact that they opened with Majestic, which they hadn't been playing for a while. On the other hand, they played Lights on it's own! The picture on the left is from when they started "Don't Stop Believin'"
Arnel Pineda has to have a special mention, he looked the part. Not even a year ago he was playing in a cover band in the Philippines, and now he is the lead singer for a big band on a worldwide tour and an album that has sold more than a quarter of a million copies in the first month. He was fantastic!
For those interested in the gear, Ross Valory played a Music Man stingray, judging from the way he played, he was using his signature tunning (B-E-A-D), using the 4 top strings of a 5 string bass on a 4 string one. Neal Schone played mainly on his Gibson signature les paul, although he used a stratocaster for one of the songs. Jonathan Cain played a telecaster, a 12 string stratocaster, and a Neal Schon signature les paul, on a stand, for the rythm guitar section on don't stop believin'
What a great show!
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