Journey at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 5/23/2014
The mixed-bag crowd easily ingested what they were served by the group, one that features only two of the guys who were around at the beginning of the band's "journey." Neil Schon made his place known, rocking solo after solo including a ripping take on "The Star-Spangled Banner." Bassist Ross Valory strutted around stage dropping bomb after bomb while Schon looked on like it was their first time playing together.
Drummer Deen Castronovo, who built his career playing with Social Distortion, Ozzy Osborne and Steve Vai, has been a regular force in the band since the late '90s; and Jonathan Cain, Journey's longest-tenured non-original member, fought his way through the set on keys and rhythm. Only Pineda is truly new to the fold, and while he has a lot to overcome as the new guy, his vocal chops speak for themselves.
He also brings a new energy to the band that former vocalist Steve Perry was lacking towards the end of his tenure in the band. While Perry was the one who popularized the songs with his voice, his presence in the band was eventually tired and worn. Pineda brought the band back to life, which you could tell within seconds of their taking the stage.
Which is something that was necessary if Journey were to continue on without Perry. They proved that they're not the old parody of their former selves, and could actually continue their path of making multitudes of fans happy. There was a reason they pulled so many people out to The Woodlands on Friday, and it was not just their storied discography.
What really brought the crowds was their ability to rock a stage no matter who was in the band or how played-out the songs might be.They have the ability to keep doing it, so why not? And it doesn't seem like it's just for the paycheck. They really seem to enjoy themselves onstage, which is the biggest prize of all. For a bunch of geezers to have that much fun playing the songs they've been playing for years says a whole lot about who they are as a band. Which made this show all that much more enjoyable.
Personal Bias: Hold on to that feeeellllayiaaingggggg!!!
The Crowd:: A whole lot of vintage Journey shirts, both purposeful and accidental.
Overheard In the Crowd: What could have been described as seizure-like noises coming from the overly excited girl next to me when the familiar chords of "Don't Stop Believing" started.
Random Notebook Dump: Did you know that Randy Jackson of American Idol fame was once the full-time bassist for Journey? I didn't either until Wikipedia told me that the other day.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS