||JOURNEY LIGHT UP THE STAR IN THE SKY OF SINGAPORE
Journey: The Star Theatre, Singapore
20th February 2017
Words and pictures: Mark Taylor
AOR legends Journey came to Singapore for only their second ever concert in this tantalising city of skyscrapers and scorching heat.
The Star Theatre is a mammoth imposing building built for the New Creation Church and it's so high it almost touches Heaven itself, although the casual tourist could be forgiven for thinking it has just been left behind from a Star Wars movie set.
There are four plush floors of shops and restaurants and the music venue itself is on the fifth floor, a massive 5,000-capacity purpose built seating venue.
Despite only being in the band for a decade now, Filipino born vocalist Arnel Pineda is a star himself in South East Asia and has fitted into the glove of the American superstars with ease. He can effortlessly sing these melodic rock anthems made famous by the soulful voice of Steve Perry, in fact it's easy to forget that Pineda is actually the third singer Journey have had since Perry semi-retired with his predecessors Steve Augeri and Jeff Scott Soto now almost eradicated from Journey's history.
The pint size singer with the big voice bounces away like a kid on a trampoline making the most of the large stage as Journey storm into opener 'Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)'.
In fact Pineda has the most challenging job in Journey now that drummer Steve Smith has made a welcome return to the band meaning that four-fifths of the classic line-up that made 81's 'Escape' and 'Frontiers' from two years later are reunited.
It's no surprise that the bulk of the set is made up from those two albums, and sadly the two albums that Arnel Pineda has made with Journey, namely 'Revelation' from 2008 and the more recent 'Eclipse' from 2011 both shamefully get overlooked, but with such a golden catalogue of absolute treasures it's no surprise that the majority of the crowd want to hear the hits.
Guitarist Neal Schon is on stunning form all evening melting out solos like his life depends on it and slipping into a variant of 'Stone In Love' before going into this glorious number in its proper manner.
Phones are high aloft with LED screens shining in the air for a marvellous version of 'Lights' while Jonathan Cain teases with 'Send Her My Love' during his piano solo and spends half the show with a guitar himself. His piano solo leads beautifully into the power ballads 'Open Arms' and the smooth 'Who's Crying Now'.
One surprise came when Arnel Pineda had a rest allowing sixth touring member Travis Thibodaux to come out from under the darkness behind his keyboard to sing his lungs out on a jaw dropping version of 'After The Fall'.
More power ballads came with the soaring 'Faithfully' and the inevitable glee of 'Don't Stop Believin'' which had everyone out of their seats and for the encore Neal Schon choses a connoisseur cut, 'La Raza del Sol', a b-side from the 'Escape' sessions where the band spontaneously jam in their unique jazz fusion style incorporated from Schon's time and again more recently with Santana where Journey prove what virtuoso musicians they are.
Riding out with an arm waving 'Lovin', Touchin',Squeezin', Journey could have played all night without any complaints.
The pinnacle melodic rock band expressed their worth to the Singaporeans with majestic ease.
Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
Be Good To Yourself
Only The Young
Neal Schon Guitar Solo
Stone In Love
Any Way You Want It
Jonathan Cain Piano Solo
Who's Crying Now
After The Fall
La Do Da
Steve Smith Drum Solo
Wheel In The Sky
Don't Stop Believin'
La Raza del Sol
Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'