Journey triumphs over rain and electronics to stage solid Arrival show
If you closed your eyes and imagined Peter Frampton with hair, The Tweeter Center was like a time machine that had zipped backwards 25 years on Sunday night, as Frampton jammed through a 25-minute rendition of his 1976 hit, "Do You feel Like We Do." Frampton and John Waite opened for Journey, who are on the road promoting Arrival, their first new CD since 1996’s Trial By Fire, and their first album with vocalist Steve Augeri.
Journey opened the show with a time lapse video showing the tour bus’ route down I-57, through arriving at the arena and the roadies setting up the stage. As the video monitors showed the last pieces of equipment put into place, the band took the stage…and ironically found the equipment wasn’t working right. After Frampton’s celebratory anthems, played loud and clear, Journey’s first song was so quiet as to be almost unintelligible, eliciting boos from the crowd. The sound techs quickly raised the volume and worked out some mixing problems over the course of the first couple songs, but Augeri was plagued with microphone problems throughout the hour and forty-five minute show.
But neither the pre-show rain (which kept the lawn nearly bare, though the pavilion was packed) nor the electronic snafus stopped the band from putting on a solid rock show, with Augeri sprinting from side to side of the stage the whole time, raising the energy levels, and Neal Schon fingering one ovation-garnering guitar solo after another. Except for a couple of lost high notes, Augeri’s vocals were almost indistinguishable from former Journey vocalist Steve Perry, as he belted out all the hits, from the ballads "Faithfully" and "Open Arms" to the classic rockers "Any Way You Want It," "City of the Angels," "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)," "Wheel in the Sky" and the one-two connected punch of "Feeling That Way" and "Anytime." The band also treated the crowd to more recent hits like "Be Good To Yourself" and "When You Love A Woman." The set was light on songs from Arrival, omitting their current single, the ballad "All the Way." Instead they only played Arrival’s rockers "Higher Place" and "To Be Alive Again," along with the introspective "Livin’ To Do," which was disappointing since the album includes the band’s best mix of songs in a decade. But the fans didn’t mind, putting fists in the air and swaying to the classics throughout the set, which ended with a triumphant "Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’". Steve Perry may have departed, but Journey has definitely arrived again.