Steve Perry's short-lived moustache is now gone, but not his enthusiasm for entertaining. And while his singing may inspire you, Steve has an unfulfilled fantasy - singing with a symphony!
You've rushed to buy tickets every time they've given a concert in your town. You cherish all of their albums. When a DJ plays one of their tunes, you pump up the radio. Now you're going to see them again - only this time you're in a position you know millions of people would die for. You're not just going to attend another Journey concert. . . you've been invited to spend four intimate days with the band!
Rumours of Journey going their separate ways had a chain reaction when Neal Schon came out with his Schon & Hammer LP, 'Here to Stay', just after Steve Perry and Kenny Loggins' "Don't Fight It," single hit the airwaves. But the guys agree that working with different artists helps keep the creative juices flowing as a group and individually!
The 727 lands smoothly in Denver, Colorado, but your heart bumps as you feel the realization of shortly coming face-to-face with the top rock band in the United States. As you walk off the plan with fully loaded bags tugging at your arms, you anxiously begin your search for Tim McQuaid - the head honcho of Journey's fan club.
You see his light brown hair and warm smile, and as he eagerly greets you, you realize he's only the first of the close-knit Journey family you'll soon be part of. Together you set out to find the van that will take you to the Denver Holiday Inn - which is just around the corner from McNichol Stadium where the guys will be giving their concerts for the next two nights.
Once at the hotel, your luggage quickly tossed into the room, you meet with some of the roadies and crew upstairs to get acquainted. They quickly start telling you about the first week of the tour and how the band's equipment was lost somewhere between Japan and Washington State!
It's then decided that you'll all meet again at 7:00 the next morning so you can get to the stadium early enough to see the roadies unload their massive trucks and set up for the show (which takes at least eight hours before every first-night show in a new city). Normally you'd moan at the thought of getting up that early, but this is different. Tomorrow you'll be spending the day with Steve, Jonathan, Neal, Ross & Steve!
In somewhat of a daze, you go up to your room to get a good night's sleep, but who can sleep? Thoughts of your trip today and what's waiting for you tomorrow flood your mind. Suddenly, it seems, the alarm goes off and it's morning. Rolling out of bed, eyes half open, you look out the window and see new fallen snow on the ground. Instantly you remember where you are and get dressed faster than you've ever dressed before!
After finding Tim, you head on over to the stadium. "Walking in the snow is very refreshing - maybe it'll calm you down before you meet the guys," you think, when suddenly you spot the Journey tour buses and your heart skips a beat!
Not only does Neal's passion for action lean toward onstage perfection on the guitar, but this guy's into cars and Harleys. In fact, his Ferrari bears the license plates, "Rock Dog."
Once inside, you're introduced to tall, husky-voiced Bennie Collins, who immediately takes you under his wing. He's Journey's production manager, as he shows you around the stadium, he lets you know you're free to go anywhere you'd like, but be careful not to get in the way of the guys unloading equipment, which is all stenciled JOURNEY in giant black lettering. It's heavy stuff, and no one wants you getting hurt.
You're instantly in the middle of one of the busiest scenes imaginable. Half the crew is unloading the trucks, which have actually been pulled inside the arena. They carry not only the equipment for the guys, but the complete stage, the lights and everything else that is part of the stage setup. The other half of the crew is backstage eating breakfast. Umm. . . eggs, bacon, toast and incredibly delicious coffee cakes sure do look tasty.
After chow, you begin to wander around on your own. Everybody's totally friendly, and they all eagerly introduce themselves at once. You realize there's someone for every job. Some guys set up the lights, some set up the stage - there are even guys who are hired to assist each band member in keeping their instruments in tune.
After meeting a few roadies, something catches your eye. What on earth is that huge contraption? It's the lighting system which was specifically built for this tour. Not only are the lights set up above to follow each group member around on stage, but the system is so sophisticated it even bends so that the lights come down on the sides of the stage, enclosing the bank in an array of colors which stretch from a lustrous mint green to a dusty rose.
You also notice a huge, white screen. Someone sees you looking at it and explains that the band now has a 20-foot video screen that displays the ongoing concert, making every seat in the house a good seat. In fact, they tell you to watch the screen during the show because the cameras shoot a lot of close-ups on the guys during their solos.
After lunch, Bennie asks if you'd like to go with him to check out the rooms backstage. "Of course!" you enthusiastically agree. Once there, decisions are made as to which rooms will be used for tuning rooms, dressing rooms, hospitality rooms for after the show and which rooms the opening act will be using.
After the room assignments are finished, you head out to the stage to see how far they've come. It looks all set up! How on earth did they get Jon's giant, red piano onto the stage? You notice a crew member in the middle of the arena working on a board and decide to check it out. (Being shy is inadmissible on the road!) After introducing yourself, you find out he's the sound man, Kevin Elson, who also produces and engineers all of Journey's albums and is also known to some as the sixth member of the band because he's so close to the guys. He explains that the instruments and speakers have to be checked fully before every concert.
When he's not on tour with Journey, Jon Cain tours with his wife, singer Tane Cain, and while he doesn't play keyboards for Tane, he does offer another expert skill he engineers the sound board at her concerts.
You're so deeply involved in everything around you that you don't even notice Neal Schon and Jon Cain until Grant Millar from Nightmare comes over and says, "Come on - I'd like to introduce you to Neal!" If you were a little nervous before, you're a lot nervous now! Neal's got a gaze that makes you feel as though he can read your deepest, darkest secrets and sends a chill of excitement down your spine at the same time.
After talking to Neal for a few minutes about how board he was just sitting in his hotel room all morning, you start to hear sounds coming from the stage. It's Jon on the piano, quietly playing a beautiful classical song while the sound men check the tuning on his piano. Steve Smith is checking out his drums, and then Neal excuses himself to go on stage to check his guitars and you watch Jon slowly walk over to the sound board to help Kevin with the check.
Neal returns shortly and sits down beside you again with one of his guitars. It's the most brilliant, deep purple you've ever seen, and after commenting on the color he explains that, "A 21-year-old guy painted it especially for me, I'm also going to have him design a complete guitar for me." Then with a hint of excitement in his voice, Neal adds, "This one here looks beautiful when the violet lights hit it during the show!" Reaching over to get a closer look, you pluck a few of the guitar strings when suddenly you remember that a lot of musicians get upset when someone - anyone - touches their instruments. Seeing the look on your face, Neal laughs. He's obviously figured out your thoughts, and he's not the least bit bothered about your curiosity!
Your stomach growls and believe it or not, it's already time for dinner. You've been so absorbed in watching everything and meeting Neal, you've lost all track of time.
Sitting there eating, you glance down at the end of the table and spot a buff-looking blond quietly eating with a few other rock 'n' roll type guys who look real familiar. Almost instantly you realize it's Bryan Adams. His single, "Cuts Like A Knife," is already one of your favorite tunes. You realize that he's the opening act for Journey, but before you can go over and introduce yourself, you're called back into the production office and handed a badge to wear. It looks like a miniature version of the cover of Journey's latest album, Frontiers, only it's laminated and your picture is on it.
Music runs in the Perry family. . . Steve's father, Ray Perry, was a big band singer, and he says his mom has a great voice, too.
This will allow you to come backstage anytime before, during and after the show. . . also the dressing rooms," you're informed. You suddenly begin to feel really special. After all, only "family" is given a badge like this.
Next month in BOP the Journey tour continues! Talking with Jonathan Cain before the show in an interview with Neal Schon backstage!
On April Fool's Day the San Francisco Tower Records (located right near the Nightmare Inc. offices) displayed this on their parking lot billboard, JOURNEY CALLS IT QUITS! ALL ALBUMS ON SALE! Luckily for the people at the Tower, the gang at Nightmare thought the prank was funny and to be sure fans knew it was only a joke, Tower took the sign down around noontime.
© BOP Magazine, August 1983. Transcribed by: Kate