Neal Schon And Journey
Royal Farms Arena | 6/14/17
By Jay Oakley
Neal Schon; Journey's founder, guitar hero, songwriter, legend and, as of this year, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. The only original and constant member left but that in no way means that he has put together some second-rate band to play the Journey hits. Every member Journey has ever had has been an amazing musician and brings a little bit of themselves to the legacy that is, Journey. Baltimore does have it's own footnote in the history of Journey with Neal Schon proposing to his wife, back in 2012, at a charity concert. And, almost like a second honeymoon, Neal and Journey brought the festivities and the spectacle back to Charm City.
Neal Schon and Journey brought the spectacle to Baltimore's Royal Farms Arena and were embraced with open arms. A showman unlike any other and delivered a show to be remembered. Schon and Journey opened the show with a bang unleashing "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)," the first of which was an incredible collection of fan favorites and rock classics. "Be Good To Yourself" and "Only The Young" followed and set up the crowd for an amazing guitar segway, headed by Neal, which stunned the crowd and the display bridged right into "Stone In Love."
Neal and Journey left no time to breathe as Arnel's (Pineda) stunning vocals launched into "Any Way You Want It." Following the legendary anthem, like a fine sniper picking his shot, Neal erupted into an uncompromising solo and series of riffs. The only thing that you could hear besides Neal shredding were thousands of jaws hitting the floor with every pluck. Neal's performance was hard hitting but also had a bluesy feel as it lead right into "Lights." "Open Arms," "Who's Crying Now," "Rubicon" and "La Do Da" followed and lead to the closing collection and the crowd's biggest chance to cut loose.
After a killer Steve Smith drum solo, Journey brought it home starting with "Wheel In The Sky." Next up was "Faithfully" which was introduced with a very heartfelt and warming story by keyboardist Jonathan Cain and like a clap of thunder, screams that woke the dead and an explosion of confetti, Neal and company closed out the main set with "Don't Stop Believin'."
A two-song encore brought the evening to a close with "Escape" and "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'."
There were so many incredible moments throughout this night with Neal leading the charge the whole way. Never a note missed, nor vocal out of tune and his precision on guitar was a spectacle the entire performance. While Neal's playing ability is common knowledge due to his work in other bands there is just no way to appreciate the intricacies of his playing without seeing it live, a DVD or CD can only give you so much. What a night, what a spectacle, what a band. This show will never be forgotten and I urge anyone to allow Neal Schon and Journey to bring them into the family, watch a living legend perform doing what he does best and show why there will always be rock and roll.
As a closing thought, I'd like to thank the band Asia for opening up the concert, warming up the crowd and setting the stage perfectly for Journey to do what they were put on this earth to do.