Journey w/Special Guest Heart

If you closed your eyes, it was easy to picture Steve Perry up there.

Then again, you also could imagine him somewhere far away from the spotlight, bitterly cursing his fate. Who knew the machinations of that ever-turning wheel in the sky could be so cruel?

Journey’s estranged singer wasn’t missed when the resurgent pop-rock quintet from San Francisco headlined a sold-out concert Saturday night at Blossom Music Center. A quarter-century after their Top 40 heyday, these guys have made a remarkable comeback, with lead vocals now handled by Filipino native Arnel Pineda. Uncannily, he sounded more like Perry than Perry himself.

Pineda, 41, got the job last year, after guitarist Neil Schon came across clips of Pineda crooning old Journey songs on — where else? — YouTube.

At Blossom, a huge video screen flashed a live feed of Pineda, Schon, keyboardist-guitarist Jonathan Cain, bass player Ross Valory and drummer Deen Castronovo hamming it up en route to the stage for their opening number, “Never Walk Away,” an uptempo declaration of purpose off their new “Revelation” album.

A couple of other new songs, “After All These Years” and “Change for the Better,” were politely received. But it was “Send Her My Love,” “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” “Any Way You Want It” and other selections from the dusty soundtracks to countless high-school romances in the late 1970s and early 1980s that really got the audience going.

via Journey w/Special Guest Heart.

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