Near-sellout GR crowd revels in Journey’s ‘big’ arena show

Robert Roffulo

From ‘Don’t Stop Believin” to ‘Any Way You Want It,’ Journey on Wednesday gave West Michigan fans at Van Andel Arena two hours of classics, with Toto delivering a ‘crisp’ opening set. Review, photos. Still Believin’: Energetic singer Arnel Pineda led Journey through a crowd-pleasing set. (Photo/Anthony Norkus)   SCROLL […]

From ‘Don’t Stop Believin” to ‘Any Way You Want It,’ Journey on Wednesday gave West Michigan fans at Van Andel Arena two hours of classics, with Toto delivering a ‘crisp’ opening set. Review, photos.

Still Believin’: Energetic singer Arnel Pineda led Journey through a crowd-pleasing set. (Photo/Anthony Norkus)

 

SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTO GALLERY, SET LISTS

Support our coverage of
West Michigan’s music scene

Everything is big with Journey.

At its nearly-sold out show at Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena Wednesday, the veteran rock band featured big vocals, big instrumental flourishes and big endings. And the approval from the largely middle-aged audience was of similar size.

The group’s 19-song set swelled to nearly two hours, a satisfying musical journey that featured a new song from the band’s forthcoming album.

A surprise of sorts came at just the third song in as keyboardist Jonathan Cain hit that opening riff for “Don’t Stop Believin,’” the band’s signature tune which came earlier than one would expect. A roar of audience recognition rose up immediately, and I’ve never heard an arena crowd sing along with such volume. You could hear it as far away as “south” Detroit.

Forceful Guitar Work: Founding member Neil Schon. (Photo/Anthony Norkus)

The “giant” vocals came from the slight-of-stature but large-of-voice Arnel Pineda. The energetic lead singer was all over the stage – jumping and spinning while still hitting the high notes. The Philippines native ventured down on the arena floor during “Wheel in the Sky,” fist-bumping fans along the way.

Journey guitarist and founder Neil Schon was full of big guitar solos during the evening. Nearly every song was forcefully punctuated with his instrument. But a key showcase was a solo segment in which the large video screens revealed his lightning speed and fret work, occasionally fingering with both hands.

Among their other “hits” performed were “Be Good To Yourself,” “Who’s Crying Now,” and “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart).”

Cain introduced the band’s new song, “You Got the Best of Me,” a song from its forthcoming album.

Cain also plays guitar but he is at home on the keyboards – both electric and acoustic. His solo segment featured a classically-inspired piece, performed on his bright red acoustic piano.

OTHER JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS; TOTO SPARKS SING-ALONG

Journey’s set also featured other standout moments:

• Drummer Deen Castronvo’s vocals on the emotional “Mother, Father”

• A change of pace with back-to-back ballads “Open Arms” and “Faithfully, the latter which Cain dedicated to the nation’s military “men and women in uniform.”

• A large video wall behind the stage offered live looks at the players, supportive video background, as well as artistic graphics and special effects.

Journey saved its anthem “Any Way You Want It” for its finale. Confetti blasted from the front of the stage and the youthful-looking Pineda once again displayed his vocal range and physical energy, serving things up, well, just the way their fans wanted it.

Opening the Night: Toto (Photo/Anthony Norkus)

Earlier, Toto brought its studio expertise to the stage for a crisp and fun one-hour set. The players, led by vocalist Joseph Williams and guitarist Steve Luthaker, offered 10 tunes which brought listeners as far back as 1980.

The fans were hooked early on by “Hold the Line,” receiving effective contributions from keyboardist Dominique Taplin and multi-instrumentalist Warren Ham.

Luthaker dedicated “I’ll Be Over You” to an engaged couple: his son and his son’s fiancée who is also Jonathan Cain’s daughter.

A centerpiece for the band was “Home of the Brave,” to which the players gave a real ride with multiple solo blasts, reprises and a grand, rock-style conclusion.

A Beatles cover (“With A Little Help From My Friends”) ended up as a prelude for Toto’s two best-known hits – “Rosanna” and the iconic “Africa.” The latter, of course, turned into a sing-along spurred by its hooky percussive theme.

PHOTO GALLERY: Journey, Toto at Van Andel Arena
Photos by Anthony Norkus

1. Only The Young

2. Stone in Love

3. Don’t Stop Believin’

4. Lights

5. Send Her My Love

6. You Got the Best of Me

7. Dead or Alive

8. Who’s Crying Now?

9. Mother, Father

10. Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’

11. (Jonathan Cain piano instrumental)

12. Open Arms

13. Faithful

14. Girl Can’t Help It

15. (Neil Schon guitar solo)

16. Wheel in the Sky

17. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)

18. Be Good to Yourself

19. Any Way You Want It

TOTO
1. Orphan
2. Hold The Line
3. I’ll Be Over You
4. White Sister
5. Georgy Porgy
6. I Won’t Hold You Back
7. Home of the Brave
8. ..With a Little Help From My Friends (Beatles cover)
9. Rosanna
10. Africa

Near-sellout Grand Rapids crowd revels in Journey’s ‘big’ arena show, signature hit tunes

Next Post

Denny McCarthy in contention for first PGA Tour win at Wells Fargo Championship

Placeholder while article actions load As a youth golfer growing up in Montgomery County, Denny McCarthy had played TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm in its previous incarnation as TPC Avenel, when the layout had been the butt of criticism from such notable PGA Tour luminaries as Greg Norman. He also […]

Subscribe US Now