One of the first bands that really got me into rock and roll was Journey. Proof: As a teenager in 1981, I literally spent every penny I had from a part-time job -- $75 to be exact -- for a second row seat to witness Journey's Escape tour at the Forum. It was worth it, too.
A decade and a half later, singer Steve Perry brought his own band to The Pantages Theater, and I was praying that Perry's voice -- that voice -- would remain intact.
Steve Perry killed, just like always. Case closed. Journey fans of all shapes and size, you wish you were there, and if you were, you know full well that what I say is gospel.
Man, a lot of Journey songs, too. "Lights" came third, and my goosebumps were a mile high. "Wheel In The Sky" reminded me of some great summer nights back in the daze...
It took about half the set for Steve Perry to really get going. For the record, Perry is touring in support of his second solo album, a wimpy collection entitled For The Love Of Strange Medicine that contains mostly mediocre material.
But I was here tonight to see Steve Perry perform Journey songs, just like everybody else, and anyone who tells you that Perry's solo material holds up to prime-era Journey is either totally lying or completely stupid.
"Foolish Heart" and "Oh, Sherrie," Perry's first solo-album hits, were minor early highlights, but "Lovin' Touchin', Squeezin'" and "Don't Stop Believin'" were moments I'll hold close for a very long time.
Perry looked great, too - all his long, black hair intact, still trim, and doing those 360-degree twirls just like when Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain shared his stage. His vocals were loud and clear; he was nailing these songs to the floor, then stomping 'em with his boots.
It was nice to enjoy the talents of a consummate professional like Perry who can really sing, especially after years of mostly local rock and (lately) grunge acts to listen to.
The back-up band, led by ex- Winger keyboardist Paul Taylor, was solid, but not Journey. Still, I don't think the closing "Faithfully" could have sounded any better, red-tailed coat or no.
Bottom line: This was a breath of fresh air....
God bless you, Steve Perry; you're still a hero. Now where's John Waite?
© FactorX, January 1995