JOURNEY’S NEAL SCHON LOOKS TO THE FUTURE / BIG DRAMA AT AT&T PARK

The sold out Journey, Def Leppard, and Foreigner concert, (9/21/18) at AT&T Park in San Francisco was held, appropriately enough on a FLASHBACK FRIDAY! These Kings of 1980’s rock music held court on the docks of the San Francisco Bay right by McCovey Cove and the statues of the Kings of baseball, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, and Willie McCovey!

FOREIGNER- FEELIN’ IT LIKE THE FIRST TIME

PHOTOS: Richard Brackett

Foreigner was a late addition to this concert bill and several of the fans we spoke to said that booking the band put them over the top to buying tickets to the show. Foreigner have sold over 80 million albums world-wide and they gave the crowd, during the relatively short set, nothing but hits!

Foreigner’s founder, Mick Jones is the lead guitarist, keyboardist, and backing vocalist of the band.  He has led them through a very successful career despite a merry-go-round of personnel changes. Most notably was the first singer of the band, Lou Graham who has been on the sideline for years and still faces ongoing challenges. He has been replaced in the current Foreigner band with Kelly Hansen who has been in the band since 2005.

CURRENT MEMBERS:

Mick Joneslead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
Thom Gimbelrhythm guitar, saxophone, flute, backing vocals
Jeff Pilsonbass, backing vocals
Kelly Hansenlead vocals
Michael Bluesteinkeyboards, backing vocals
Bruce Watsonrhythm and lead guitar
Chris Frazerdrums

FOREIGNER FLASHBACK: It was just over forty years ago, July 2, 1977 that the long-gone San Francisco classic rock radio station, 106 KMEL, “The KAMEL” hit the airwaves with the station’s first song, “Feels Like The First Time” by Foreigner. That song really put KMEL on the Bay Area map for over ten years of “Rockin’ the Bay!”

FOREIGNER SET- RANDOM THOUGHTS FROM FANS:

Mick Jones fucking kicked ass on guitar!” “Foreigner played the Cow Palace on the night of the Forty Niners’ first Super Bowl win and I went to both.” “Strong new lead singer and the band sounds terrific.” “Where has this singer been hiding? He’s great!” “Singer reminds me of Mick Jagger.” “Everybody was singing all the words and dancing. Great new band behind Mick Jones.

FOREIGNER SETLIST- ATT PARK, September 21, 2018

  1. Long, Long Way From Home
  2. Cold as Ice
  3. Feels Like the First Time
  4. Urgent
  5. Juke Box Hero
  6. I Want to Know What Love Is
  7. Hot Blooded

DEF LEPPARD’S ROCK FOR THE AGES

PHOTOS: Richard Brackett

As sunset was happening on the San Francisco Bay and after a major-league set change had happened after Foreigner’s well-received set, it was time for Britain’s Def Leppard to hit the stage. The introductory music started to play and the three story video screen was displaying the band’s pre-produced open when all of a sudden everything stopped! WOW! Did that just happen? The stage returned to dark and the standing crowd looked at each other in amazement. Two women at the end of the row we were sitting in got our section all excited when one of them exclaimed, “I hope everything is ok with the band!”

False starts in the concert music business these days rarely happen, if ever, anymore. It took five minutes of audience anticipation until the sound and lights kicked in again and people began to relax and enjoy one of the best-selling, (with over 100 million albums sold world-wide) and most popular rock artists of all time, Def Leppard!

CURRENT MEMBERS:

Joe Elliottlead vocals,
Rick Savagebass guitar & vocals
Rick Allendrums, percussion, backing vocals
Phil Collenguitars & vocals
Vivian Campbellguitars & vocals

Everyone who had bought a ticket for this sold out AT&T concert were now standing in their seats. The place was WWWRRROOOCCCKKKing! On King Street!

DEF LEPPARD SET- RANDOM THOUGHTS FROM FANS:

“This is an English band with a great English look, Joe Elliott has a Sgt. Pepper like jacket on!” “Sound and light show were incredible.” “We’ve come a long way since the Fillmore Auditorium Light Shows of yore.” Glad they got things fixed! Band threw in a cool new song. Most of Def Leppard have been together since the 70’s and 80’s. It’s been 38 years since Def Leppard has played San Francisco. Audience member called “Def Leppard a British Bon Jovi.” Rick Allen, the band’s one armed drummer was spectacular! “Classy to have him still in the band and he’s so good! His feet do the talking!” “Def Leppard is what rock stars should look like!” A lady security person was dancing down her assigned rows still watching over her position. Fun doing her job! Reason for Def Leppard false start? We checked with some of our local team working the show and we heard a couple of reasons- “Electrical power problem,” and “A little rock star BS.”

DEF LEPPARD’S SETLIST- ATT PARK, September 21, 2018

    1. Rocket 
(Restarted after power failure)
    2. Animal
    3. Foolin’
    4. When Love and Hate Collide
    5. Let’s Get Rocked
    6. Armageddon It
    7. Rock On 
(David Essex cover)
    8. Man Enough
    9. Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
    10. Switch 625 
(With drum solo.)
    11. Hysteria 
(With snippet of David Bowie’s “Heroes.”)
    12. Pour Some Sugar on Me

Encore:

  • Rock of Ages
  • Photograph

JOURNEY’S SAN FRANCISCO FINALE?

PHOTOS: Stephanie Savoia and Richard Brackett

You don’t have to be a very smart detective or a spy from Russia to know that there has been some major drama brewing in the Journey camp in recent months and perhaps years. Signs have definitely been pointing to a fork in the road for Journey and the band may have played their last concert as “Journey” in San Francisco recently at AT&T Park.

Journey’s first song of the evening was “Separate Ways.” This song was one of the last recordings Journey recorded together with Steve Perry and corresponded with Perry’s departure that was eminent from the band back then. For Journey to start their set with “Separate Ways” said a lot about what was happening with this band on this night.

Going into this particular concert at AT&T Park, I knew that there was going to be a boatload of rock ‘n’ roll drama along with all the great music there!  It was almost as if Steven Spielberg and George Lucas got together to make a dramatic rock ’n’ roll movie in IMAX about one of San Francisco’s most successful rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time and their final chapter together.  We were not disappointed in what Journey displayed that night.

JOURNEY- THE BACK STORY

Herbie Herbert was Journey’s manager at the very beginning of the band in 1977 and through many of their most successful years of multi-platinum albums and sold-out tours. Herbie had the foresight to get all of the Journey band members to sign a personal services contract agreement saying that under no circumstances would any band member ever display any religious or political preference while in the public or while representing Journey in any way, shape or form. It only makes sense that to do otherwise could alienate and disenfranchise fans of another way of thinking.

Earlier this year, during a break of their just completed 2018 tour, Journey keyboardist Jonathan Cain and his current wife, Paula White-Cain, (who is President Donald Trump’s primary spiritual advisor, and the pastor of a Pentecostal megachurch in Florida) invited Journey’s bass player Ross Valory, and current Journey singer Arnel Pineda to go meet the president of the United States and have their picture taken in the Oval Office of the White House with Donald Trump himself!  Millions of people saw the publicity/photo opportunity in the main stream media and all the social media outlets.   I think we can all agree that there is nobody that has been more controversial and divisive in American politics, perhaps ever, than of Donald J. Trump.  Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory, and Arnel Pineda’s visit to the White House broke the Journey band’s personal contract agreement and the heat has been on between band members particularly Neal Schon ever since.

Politics and religious feelings aside, there was a 40 show stadium concert tour in progress and the show had to go on!

BACK TO AT&T PARK

As you would expect, the Journey production of this concert at AT&T Park was first class all the way.  The stage-wide three story video screen was better than in high definition!  The sound for all the bands was as clear and strong as any stadium show I’ve ever been at.

Journey’s set was immediately preceded by a big screen video that Journey members produced for a benefit project for “Rock Against Human Trafficking.”  (Many great artists have join forces on this project featuring all Police songs. Neal worked on this with Arnel Pineda, Steve Smith, and Gary Graff.)

As he had been doing all along the 2018 Journey tour, Neal Schon introduced one of San Francisco’s most endearing songs, “Lights” with a dedication to the band’s former lead singer, Steve Perry. With current singer Arnel Pineda standing right there on stage, this was a bit of a cringe-worthy moment for some fans but I understand what is behind that emotion from Neal who told BAM,  “It was just out of my respect for Steve as the song holds a huge sentimental value to myself being the 2nd song we ever wrote together and it has only gotten bigger.”  In another shout out later in the set, Schon asked the crowd, “Is Steve Perry in the audience tonight?”

Journey did not disappoint in their performance in any way but Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain were basically on opposite sides of the stage the whole set.  Polar opposite sides of the stage when they did their end of set bow.   After “Don’t Stop Believing'” there was no encore for what could have been Journey’s last public gig in the city where they were born.  San Francisco!

Journey entered the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2017 and the total history of the band was on display on that stage in Cleveland back then with Neal Schon, Gregg Rolie, Ross Valory, Jonathan Cain, Anysley Dunbar, Steve Smith, and Steve Perry smiling but not performing together.

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 07: 2017 Inductees Gregg Rolie, Steve Perry, Neal Schon, Ross Valory and Jonathan Cain of Journey onstage at the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center on April 7, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CURRENT MEMBERS:

Neal Schonlead guitar, backing vocals
Jonathan Cainkeyboards and vocals
Ross Valorybass and backing vocals
Steve Smithdrums and percussion
Arnel Pinedalead vocals (2007–present)

 

 

JOURNEY’S SETLIST- ATT PARK, September 21, 2018

  1. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
  2. Only the Young
  3. Escape
  4. Stone in Love
  5. Be Good to Yourself
  6. Neal Schon Guitar Solo #1
  7. Lights (Dedicated to Steve Perry.)
  8. Jonathan Cain Piano Solo
  9. Who’s Crying No Open Arms
  10. La Do Da (with Steve Smith drum solo)
  11. Any Way You Want It
  12. Neal Schon Guitar Solo #2
  13. Wheel in the Sky
  14. Faithfully (Dedicated to the band’s fans and San Francisco.)
  15. Don’t Stop Believin’

 

5 Questions With Journey’s Jonathan Cain

Dan Mitchinson NewsRadio KFBK, Sacramento Posted on October 1, 2018

Journey performs this Thursday, October 4, 2018 at Golden One Center in Sacramento. Keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Jonathan Cain helped co-write “Don’t Stop Believin’”, one of the bestselling hits of all time. Here are five questions I had the chance to ask him about his career and why he’s become a better musician since he “found God.”

What did you think was going to happen to the band when Steve Perry told you in 1987 he was leaving Journey?

I didn’t know. I was going to leave that up to the Lord at that point. Those four (previous) years were crazy. We were touring, recording, rehearsing, we made two albums, and it takes its toll. We’re only human, and I think there’s a burnout factor that can happen when you work that hard.

Did you think Steve Perry would sing with the group when you were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

I was looking for him at soundcheck the day before. I thought he was going to surprise us, but he played it like how he wanted to play it, and I respect that.

On Perry’s replacement, Arnel Pineda, who (Journey founder) Neal Schon found on YouTube.
I loved his voice, I was just wondering how he was going to handle the rigors and transition, and he was just going to have to grow into it. He’s got a beautiful voice and a great heart and brings something unique to the table that makes us a world band. Nobody else in the world should be singing “Don’t Stop Believin'” but Arnel, he lived it. He grew up with quite a broken childhood, they pretty much left him for dirt. He was homeless…his mom died when he was young, and then he was told he couldn’t sing anymore, and he proved them wrong. If you can dream it, it’s possible.

Since becoming closer to God have you become a better musician?

Yes, I feel renewed, restored, people say I look younger. I feel a sense of renewal, and the grace that I feel surrounds me, I like it. I like having grace in my life. I owe that to Paula (his wife) for pulling me back into the fold and recognizing that I was a man of God, I appreciate that.

When you’re on stage, and look out at the audience, how do you keep your songs fresh night after night?

You have to put yourself in the audience’s shoes. And you have to say alright, these people gave up their evening to come all this way to see us play, probably have babysitters at home or had to pay this crazy parking fee, had to come from miles away, so there’s this sacrifice out there. You put yourself in their shoes, they chose us, they chose to come to our show, they chose Journey, so what else are you going to do but honor that?

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Following is an excerpt from ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE, October 5, 2018.

Steve Perry Still Believes

By ANDY GREENE
Reporter

As we spoke, Journey were hours away from taking the stage super at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans — on a double bill with Def Leppard — one of 60 shows they played this summer. As they do every night, they’ll dedicate “Lights” to Perry. It’s a gesture of gratitude, and for good reason. When Perry joined Journey in 1977, none of the group’s albums had sold well, and the band was pumping out anonymous jazz fusion. Perry changed everything. In him, Journey found a singer who not only wrote big, concise, catchy songs, but also belted them to the cheap seats. Without him, Journey might well have been a prog-rock footnote.

Perry claims to feel no bitterness toward anyone in the band, even though he’s seen the members only twice, and briefly at that, in the past 20 years, and has rebuffed attempts to reconnect on a social level. Guitarist Neal Schon seems desperate for some sort of reconciliation and often tells interviewers he wants to create new music with Perry — not even necessarily for Journey. Schon has heard that Perry frequents his favorite coffee shop, and the guitarist hopes to run into the singer there. Pressed on this, Perry says he can’t imagine working with Schon in any capacity or even re-establishing the friendship.

“I’m not sure that’s possible without stirring up hopes of a reunion,” he says. “Please listen to me. I left the band 31 fucking years ago, my friend. You can still love someone, but not want to work with them. And if they only love you because they want to work with you, that doesn’t feel good to me.”

When I bring up Cain’s new memoir, Don’t Stop Believin’ — an innocuous, uncontroversial book where he looks back on his life and heaps endless praise onto his bandmates, past and present — a look of disgust comes across Perry’s face. “I don’t really care to read Jonathan’s book,” he says. “And I’d appreciate if you didn’t tell me about it. I don’t need to know. It’s none of my business.”

A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE

Journey’s founder and lead guitarist for 43 years, Neal Schon has been working on a brand new music project called Universe with Bay Area mega-drummer and producer Narada Michael Walden. Neal gave the Journey concert audience a two-song sampling of what that project sounds like during the San Francisco set and it probably had Jimi Hendrix smiling from the heavens above.

In addition to the brand new album “Universe,”  due out soon, Schon tells BAM, “I will be hitting the road next year with Neal Schon’s “Journey- Through Time” featuring Gregg Rolie, (formerly Santana & Journey) Deen Castronovo, (formerly from Journey) and Marco Mendoza.  This unit performed a quickly sold-out benefit concert at San Francisco’s Independent nightclub this past summer for Napa and Marin firefighters and first responders and it was recorded for a DVD.

Journey keyboardist and co-writer of “Don’t Stop Believin,’” Jonathan Cain is said to be working on a gospel music project and he seems to be headed down that road for his future.

Steve Perry is actively working on promoting his new release “Traces” and he’s showing up in some unusual PR places for a rock ’n’ roll singer. For example, today he was on the Sunday TV news show, “CBS THIS MORNING.

It is unknown to us at this time what Arnel Pineda, Ross Valory and Steve Smith have plans to do in their respective futures.

Before closing the big rocket ship’s door on this story, it has been an absolute great ride for Journey! 14 studio albums, 59 singles, 3 live albums, and 23 music videos. The Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame, zillions of CD’s and concert tickets sold around the world, and one hell of a catalog of great music over all the years. The band’s music will always be there for us and whatever each and every one of the Journey band members decides to do~ all of us at BAM MEDIA are wishing them all the very best and we’ll be listening!