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Journey - 'Live In Manila' Hot

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Written by James Gaden     May 05, 2010    
 
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Live show with Arnel Pineda fronting the band.


The Journey profile seems to be quite high at the moment. 'Don't Stop Believin' has achieved a new lease of life in recent months for various reasons (X Factor etc) and the tour promoting the 2008 'Revelation' album was a lengthy trek, taking in several countries previously visited only briefly. By March 2009 new vocalist Arnel Pineda had been in the band for the best part of 12 months and this live show documents Journey's return to his own homeland in the Philippines. What is immediately noticeable is how much Pineda has developed as the frontman for his childhood heroes compared to the performance on the bonus DVD included in the original Walmart release of the 'Revelation' album, which had been filmed in Las Vegas mid 2008, only the singer's third live show with the band. The over enthusiastic, 'kid in a sweet shop' attitude has been replaced by a professional stage presence and a greater confidence in his role which also has an effect in making everyone else seem far more relaxed.

The Manila show contains a healthy selection of 'Revelation' material (7 songs) which sit comfortably next to the regular, established classics, yet the 'Escape' album (again, 7 songs) still seems to dominate the rest of the set despite the exclusion of 'Who's Crying Now'. The main disappointment for Journey completists is the omission of material from the two Steve Augeri fronted albums, 'Arrival' and 'Generations'. Having said that it's good to hear the likes of 'Edge Of The Blade' and 'When You Love A Woman', both performed with energy and passion. Deen Castronovo (Steve Perry Mk IV) handles lead vocals on 'Keep On Running', 'Still They Ride' and a powerful 'Mother Father', whilst never missing a beat, and still managing to beat the s**t out of his kit. This gives Pineda something of a breather and he returns each time to display his ever increasing star quality, a commanding vocal during a heartfelt 'Open Arms' being a typical example.

Kevin Shirley's audio mix is spot on and the video edit, courtesy of Eli Tishberg, sidesteps the usual flashy cuts and just concentrates on the band and, subsequently, the music. An extended version of 'Separate Ways', containing a new arrangement, makes an earlier appearance than usual, demonstrating the strength of the Journey back catalogue. Neal Schon is happy to let Pineda take the spotlight for most of the songs whilst keyboard player Jonathan Cain and bass player Kirk Douglas provide their usual underestimated, yet valuable support. 'Faithfully' features another noteworthy Pineda performance but it's left to 'Don't Stop Believin' to bring the house down near the close. Though the 'Live In Manila' disc contains no bonus features or extras, the show's 145 minute running time pretty much makes it value for money anyway.

Dave Bott

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