Journey Brings Back The '80s At The San Manuel Amphitheater
Before the performance of Benatar’s famous “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” families, couples, and friends tailgated in the lot while reminiscing about their first Journey concert or the countless times Benatar showed up on air in the early days of MTV. Middle-aged fans busted out their faded baseball tee style Journey concert shirts, some of which included the original front man, Steve Perry.
Beginning the night were the bands Doors and Loverboy, who warmed up the stage and set the tone for the tailgaters, but the fans really started packing in with Pat Benatar’s opening song “All Fired Up.”
Sporting acid-wash jeans, retro concert shirts, and smartphones, the crowd began to document the night while singing along to their favorite songs, including “Love is a Battlefield.”
Pat Benatar concluded with her power rock song “Heartbreaker” mixed with the Johnny Cash classic “Ring of Fire” and amped up the fans in anticipation for more 80’s music from the ever-popular band Journey.
Now the seats were filled and everyone settled on the lawn of the San Manuel Amphitheater, when bassist Ross Valory, lead guitarist Neal Schon, keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Jonathon Cain, and drummer Deen Castronovo modestly walked on stage to open up with the instrumental “Majestic” while the Filipino YouTube-found singer Arnel Pineda greeted front row fans welcoming the change in the band’s lead singer as a fresh, new look for the commercial pop group.
After a change of arguably the best singer of Journey, Steve Perry in 1998 and later singer Steve Augeri, Journey fans could not help but notice the astonishingly similar voice of Arnel Pineda and his exceedingly attention-grabbing stage performance.
Pineda worked his youth magic by jumping around from the left to right and up the center for a reach to the fans. Then he screamed out “Highway run ‘til the midnight sun” and women screamed out, longing back to their 20’s behavior of buying every multi-platinum album and posters of the band complete with high-slicked and unruly hair, all as Pineda belted out “forever young, faithfully.”
Overall, the atmosphere of the concert consisted of the soaring ballads of “Lights,” “Separate Ways,” and “Be Good to Yourself” bringing everyone good vibes of pop rock with Pineda’s near-perfection tenor voice -- which never gave up through a performance any singer would find challenging.
The band even played their song “City of Hope” from the newest album, "Eclipse," which had a catchy chorus and gave everyone a chance to rest their vocal chords for the encore.
This concert experience has come a long way since the band came together in 1973, with the most recent concert fans using their phones as substitutes for lighters swaying in the air and video and pictures constantly being taken and instantly posted online.
And of course, a Journey concert would not be complete without their songs “Any Way You Want It” and “Don’t Stop Believin"; everyone from grandmas to children know the lyrics of “Don’t stop believing, hold on to that feeling,” concluding a concert enjoyed by everyone as a fulfilling feel-good sing-a-long with strong notes of nostalgia and ever-long memorable lyrics.