April 4, 2001: Arrival, by JRNYDV
May 29, 2001: The Storm: Eye of the Storm, by "J. Wright from San Diego, CA"
June 2001: Gregg Rolie Band: Roots, by Jonathan Wodran, AMG
July 10, 2001: Arrival Tour 2001, Holmdel, NJ and Hartford, CT, by JRNYDV
September 1, 2001: Neal Schon: Voice, by JRNYDV
September 12, 2001: After the Tragedy: Journey at York, PA, by JRNYDV
November 29, 2001: The Storm: Eye of the Storm, by "Anthony from sun city, AZ"
December 5, 2001: Gregg Rolie Band: Roots, by Fred Mulgrew
December 2001: Arrival, by House of Shred
Originally published on this page, 09 November, 2000
Published at Lycos Shop Epinions.com, 02 December, 2000
Edited following the US release, 04 April 2001
Journey's latest Arrival, their first offering without Steve Perry since he joined the band in 1977, stands more as a tribute to the song-writing skills of Jonathan Cain and Neal Schon than an exploration of the talents of the new frontman, Steve Augeri. Given the nearly complete similarity in the timbre and style of the voices of Augeri and Perry, Arrival's resemblance to previous work does more to demonstrate the fact that Perry was replaceable than any of Neal Schon's recent interviews; in fact, the music stands for itself.
Boasting an impressive fifteen tracks (the US release, that is--the Japanese release has fourteen), Arrival was well worth the wait. The released singles, "Higher Place" and "All the Way" are as different stylistically as the very range of Journey's musical output over the years. "Higher Place," Written by Neal Schon and Jack Blades (Night Ranger, Damn Yankees), is a hard-driving, powerful rock number, serving as a veritable wakeup call to millions of Journey's slumbering fans: This band is still here, and it's here to stay. "All the Way," a power ballad, may well serve as Steve Augeri's "Lights," an expose of the new lead's talent. "All the Way," written as a team effort including Schon, Augeri, and Jonathan Cain, is the perfect showcase for Augeri's talent and hopefully is a harbinger of things to come.
Perhaps the most surprising musical move in Arrival can be heard in "Livin' to Do," a soulful, haunting number written primarily by Schon. This is a song which concludes with a full minute of Cain's organ-playing in a style reminiscent of Journey's fusion days. That Cain should be involved in musical explorations of a style more closely associated with the ivory-tinkling of Gregg Rolie in the pre-Steve Perry era should come as no surprise to fans who attended the "Under the Stars" tour last summer, when Cain sang lead vocals with Augeri on Rolie's numbers from Infinity, Evolution, and Departure, music no one expected to hear live again after Rolie left the band in 1980. "Livin' to Do" is Schon at his songwriting best. The song was influenced by the death of Schon's musician father, who also co-wrote "Mother, Father" (Escape, 1981). As Schon says, the album is dedicated "In loving memory of my Dad, he and his music will live forever inside me. He has reminded me that I have "Livin' to Do." Anyone who hears the soulful, plaintive cries of Neal's guitar in this profound number will understand.
Jonathan Cain is listed as the lead writer on another of the album's sleepers, "With Your Love." This song's roots can easily be found in "When You Love a Woman" (Trial by Fire, 1996), and "With Your Love" may well prove to be Arrival's "Open Arms" (Escape, 1981). Also to be heard on Arrival are "Signs of Life," evocative of Jonathan Cain's work with John Waite and The Babys, and "All the Things," a track which might have been just as well served on a Neal Schon solo album, with Augeri "roughing up" his voice for the number. "Loved by You," "Lifetime of Dreams," "Live and Breathe," "I'm Not That Way" (Japan only), and "Kiss me Softly" are solid filler ballads; "I Got a Reason," "We Will Meet Again," "World Gone Wild" (US only), "Nothin' Comes Close" (US only), and "To Be Alive Again" round out the album with decent hard rock tunes.
Neal Schon co-wrote thirteen of the songs; Jonathan Cain co-wrote twelve. Notably, Ross Valory and Deen Castronovo did not contribute to the writing of this album. Ross Valory's right to membership in Journey, of course, is unquestionable. He was an original member of the band, and has even written songs on occasion. But Deen Castronovo, who gave "A very special thanks to Steve Smith 'The Master' for your support and encouragement...you are the best brother", has yet to prove to the fans that he is more than a session player, that he will not go the way of Larrie Londin (Drums, 1986). Contributing to the writing of the music on Arrival might have helped, but doing another tour with the band and playing drums on their next album will probably suffice. Steve Augeri co-wrote six of the songs, an impressive showing for a man who has been written off as a virtual imposter by so many Steve Perry diehards.
In sum, Arrival is a fine offering of which all the members of Journey can be proud. It is not, as the band earlier suggested, a sort of "Escape 2000"; it's music is original yet reminiscent of the evolution of a band which always has, and now apparently will continue to, arrive.
|The Storm: Eye of the Storm
By "J. Wright from San Diego, CA"
Originally published at Amazon.Com, 29 May, 2001
Re-published at Jrnydv.Com, 17 August, 2003
Straight in the tradition of power ballads in the style of Journey comes the "Eye of the Storm" by The Storm. The reason it sounds a lot like Journey, is that has two of the original Journey members, keyboard player / singer Gregg Rolie (he opens with vocals on Just The Same Way and Feelin' That Way / Anytime) and bassist Ross Valory. Lead singer Kevin Chalfant sounds a lot like Steve Perry and the two bands have similar stylings. Josh Ramos on guitar does some respectable work, too.
This album is full of great songs. The major power ballad, To Have And To Hold, is great plus Don't Give Up, Waiting For The World To Change, I Want To Be The One, Love Isn't Easy and Soul Of A Man are all awesome hookish, tunes. Excluding Livin' It Up, the rest of the songs are really good.
This release is better than their self-titled debut album from 1991. The 1991 release also featured drummer Steve Smith from Journey but only had about half of the songs recorded being really good. The group really turned it up a notch for this 1997 album. If you like Journey, but you're not stuck having to hear Steve Perry, then you will like this album. Also check out Hardline's Double Eclipse which features Neal Schon from Journey or try great unknown David Victor's Proof Through The Night CD.
Gregg Rolie Band
Reviewer: Jonathan Widran, All Music Guide
If you heard this exciting indie recording and didn't know
anything about the singer/keyboardist's background, you might think he's just trying hard to capitalize on the resurgence of Latin rock epitomized by Santana's "smooth" sound. But Rolie--whose energetic, highly percussive tunes are given that vibe via Dave Amato's various blistering guitars--comes by the vibe legitimately, having co-founded the band Santana with Carlos in 1967. Fans of Rolie from that era and from his years as a founding member of Journey might enjoy his first solo recording in many years as a nice nostalgic visit, and the CD booklet offers many amusing photos and hairstyles that date back to Woodstock. Yet as a singer, Rolie's energy and enthusiasm for feisty Latin grooves is just as spirited as that of guys like Ricky Martin and others over 20 years younger. "Give It to Me" rocks heavy, propelled by Amato's explosive lines and a swinging brass section that doesn't quit. "Down to Rio" rocks too, but the groove is a bit more sensual after the sizzling intro. After a handful of intense electric guitar-brass explosions, the gentle flamenco sway of "Ordinary Man" makes for a nice romantic interlude; the tune also shows a gentler side of Rolie's voice, which is raspy and sometimes overly dramatic in other places. "Going Home" is a fun revisit of the sound of Santana classics like "Oye Como Va." Rolie's intention with Roots is obviously to invoke his legendary association with that band, but he pairs with Neal Schon (who co-founded Journey) on "Breakin' My Heart."
Holmdel, NJ, June 29 / Hartford, CT July 7
Originally published on this page, 10 July, 2001.
To get straight into it, both shows were phenomenal. But you didn't open this page just to hear me say that, so I'll get down to the details. It's spelled P-H-E-N.... Anyway, I saw the world's greatest band twice this year, and left both shows feeling better about myself and about Journey than I had before Ross, Neal, Jon, Deen, and Steve took the stage. At the Holmdel show I didn't have my car, so I had no license plate to wave at the band. My brother had been borrowing the JRNYDV-mobile that week, and while we attended the show together, I hadn't told him in advance to unscrew one of the tags, and we met at our seats. It wouldn't have mattered anyway, because we were seated towards the back where a license plate, from the band's perspective, would be just a tiny white dot, if visible at all.
This was Richard's first Journey concert. He and I had been to see Toto together in 1993 at the Supper Club in New York City, and had started a chant of "Hold the Line" after the second encore, forcing Toto to come back in and play that song. Not possible at the PNC Bank Arts Center with Journey. this was a rock arena with seats and lawn filled to capacity. There would be no demands for an additional encore.
The Holmdel show (by show I mean the entire experience, from John Waite's entrance to Journey's exit) was good, but not completely top-notch. John Waite was a bit low-energy, and Frampton got an encore while Journey didn't. I'm aware, however, that my perspective of these shows may have been influenced ny my seating. At Holmdel, I was way in the back, and only one other person in my section was standing for any significant portion of the Journey set. I myself sat for the slower numbers, and when I stood, I moved into the aisle so that I didn't block the view of the people behind me.
John Waite's set came with some interesting surprises. First there was the fact that he played songs from his days with The Babys, which we had earlier been told on the Journey website that he was not planning to do. I remember "Isn't it Time" from Holmdel and "Head First" from Hartford. Then there was the Journey cameo. Ironically, Neal Schon played with Waite on a Baby's tune, not on a Bad English tune, and Jonathan Cain, who was in both The Babys and Bad English, did not appear. Waite sounded good though, and my overall appraisal of his sets at both Holmdel and Hartford would have to be positive. The giant Union Jack was a nice backdrop, although slightly inappropriate so close to Independence Day (Waite himself alluded to this onstage at Hartford), and while the flag is certainly true to Waite's British birth, it's not completely in keeping with what I had earlier perceived as an "Americanization" of his musical style over the past few years. During the Bad English years, his writing seemed positively Californian in style and outlook and later on, with the release of When You Were Mine (1997), he seemed to be entering a country and western phase.
Peter Frampton's set was altogether too long. I spent his set (at both shows) covering my ears (with my fingers at Holmdel and with earplugs at Hartford), not because he sounded bad (which he most certainly did not) but because I was preserving my ears for Journey. I find it extremely hard to believe that Frampton's set was as short as Foreigner's was two years ago, but I understand that because I'm a bigger Foreigner fan than I am a Frampton fan, perhaps the Foreigner set only seemed shorter. Frampton's band played very well, don't get me wrong--and it's good to see that he's out and about again. But his peak years of popularity were half a decade before Journey's, so while there is certainly an overlap in the fan base, it's nowhere near as significant an overlap as the one Journey shares with Foreigner. I can easily name several other acts which would have been more appropriate along this line of reasoning: The Tubes, Toto, Asia, Ric Ocasek. My dream lineup: John Waite, The Storm (with a sub for Valory), and Journey. Again, all this is not to say that I dislike Peter Frampton. I don't. I just think Journey could've made a more appropriate choice for a second act. I guess what really ticked me off about this was the fact that Frampton got an encore at Holmdel and Journey didn't. Just irksome.
Hartford was a much more exciting time for me. I went with my fiancee, and we arrived early to picnic in the parking lot. I unscrewed one of my license plates and tied it to the open rear hatch of the JRNYDV-mobile, and handed out cards with the address to this website to anyone who came near. Our seats were second row, dead center, behind people who were not very tall. I brought the license plate in and it was onscreen during the Journey set constantly, almost every time the camera panned out into the crowd. Twice, the camera focused in on me and the plate for about ten seconds. I'm certain Neal, Steve, Ross and Jonathan saw it during the Journey set, close as I was. Deen saw it during Neal's cameo with John Waite. Deen came out and was standing off to stage right with some tech guys. I was the first one of us in the fan club seats to notice him, so I pointed him out. It was hard to not watch Neal playing onstage with Waite, but Deen and I actually had a moment, as I was pointing at him with both hands, and he acknowledged me with a short wave.
Ross Valory is the best overall live performer in Journey. He takes center stage, and uses every available facial expression to entertain those of us close enough to see. At one point he's giving us the "evil eye", at the next he's acting surprised that what he's doing with his fingers to the bass is actually producing music. My one gripe as regards Ross is that his screen time on this tour appears to be severely limited. Ross is probably also the most personable, and perhaps the most caring, member of the band. At Holmdel he got on the microphone and dedicated "Only the Young" to a wheelchair-bound young lady in the audience.
Jonathan Cain also is a good performer, but seeing him play piano and guitar up close I have to say that his onstage talent is secondary to his writing. I've been saying for years that Jonathan deserves more credit for the songs that most fans live by. A long-standing complaint among instrumentalists is that far too much credit is often showered on the lead vocalist. In the case of Jonathan Cain, this is absolutely the truth. For all his incredible singing talent, Perry's popularity overshadowed Cain (and Rolie before him) to an unwarranted degree. Perhaps the best result of Perry's Departure is that with the Arrival of Steve Augeri, Cain can shine in a way that, when Rolie did it, Steve Perry found unacceptable. The Cain/Augeri numbers are an awesome moment not just at an individual concert, but in the history of Journey. For Cain and Augeri can sing "Just the Same Way" (as at Holmdel) and "Feeling that Way/Anytime" (as at Hartford) with a greater sense of teamwork, of partnership, than Perry and Rolie ever could. On the negative side for Jonathan, I have to say that he is not as warm with the audience as I expected, having heard him in interviews and listened to his writing over the years. I have two theories that might explain this. The first is that the warmth for the fans he has shown is contrived and on purpose, to sell records and tickets. I'd rather not believe this, but I always had a nagging feeling about some contradictory statements he made during the eighties when he was asked about the writing of "Faithfully". The second theory attributes Jonathan's lack of warmth to stage fright. While this is the theory I would prefer to believe, The problem I have with it is that this is a man who has been performing onstage for over twenty years. Whatever the reason, I expected more of a personal performance from Jonathan.
Steve Augeri has really come into his own with the release of Arrival. He positively takes charge of the stage. Indeed, the days when there was any doubt as to the success of the replacement for Perry seem but a distant memory. Augeri is upstage on a platform hitting one of Deen's snares this moment, the next he's swooping down near the front row to shake the hand of an eight-year-old. He has an incredible energy, charisma, and charm. As I was walking back to the car after the Holmdel show, I overheard one person say to another "He's really made those songs his own." So he has.
As for Neal, I am just astounded at how incredible a guitarist he is. It's one thing to hear his stylistics on a record album or from the back row of a rock arena, but up close is an entirely different matter. At Hartford, he introduced my favorite song from Arrival, "Livin' To Do". He creates an awesome sound that is lightyears beyond what he was doing back in the seventies. As a technician, as an artist, he is a natural wonder.
Finally, I have to say thanks to the band for setting up the fan club members with fifty front row seats at each venue. Unlike my previous two Journey concerts, I was on my feet for the entire Journey set. The best part was towards the end, just before the encore (which was a pleasant surprise after the Holmdel experience). Ross and Jonathan were given handfuls of guitar picks by two techies, and they threw them right at me and the other fan club members around me. I got six: three with Cain logos, one with a Valory logo, one with a website logo, and one which had actually been used (Jim Dunlop / USA Nylon, 1 mm). After the encore, a techie came out and tossed several sheets of paper at us. I got one, and found that they were the Hartford playlist. Added it all to the collection.
If you have fan club seats for any upcoming shows, or even if your tickets are for seats way in the back, you're in for a treat. If you don't have tickets, you have absolutely got to go and get some! Go to the Official Journey website to see when the band will be in your town. You will not be disappinted.
|Neal Schon's Voice
Originally published on this page, 01 September, 2001
"Easy Listening" is a relative term. Metalheads tend to think it easy to listen to the music of Metallica, Quiet Riot, Slayer, and the like, and may experience difficulty with lighter fare. And while there are probably those who might have a problem listening to then music of Journey, I have always found Journey to be easy listening--that is, I have found it easy to listen to the music of Journey.
Where Voice departs from this concept is in the fact that all ten of the tunes found on the album would be acceptable to what has become known as the "Easy Listening" market. They are pleasant but not particularly rousing; romantic but not particularly stimulating; toe-tapping but not particularly head-banging. Neal Schon takes ten well-known modern favorites originally sung by the likes of Celine Dion and Bryan Adams and plays the vocal line with his guitar, interpreting the music in what is usually a rather straightforward manner but occasionally playing combinations of notes which would be extremely difficult for the human voice to mimic.
Perhaps the most important thing this album demonstrates about Neal Schon is his very human complexity. After his stint with Santana and the early years of Journey, there could be no doubt in anyone's mind that Neal wanted to rock. His role in the post-fusion Journey has, if nothing else, sharpened that image. Musically, it has appeared that Neal (along with Ross Valory) has always been what we might call a "loud" influence in the evolution of Journey--not loud as in influential, necessarily, but loud as in "hard rock". From HSAS, Schon and Hammer, and Bad English to the Journey reunion of 1996 and beyond, Neal has continued to demonstrate this aspect of his musical desires. Unlike longtime Journey drummer Steve Smith, whose passion has always been for Jazz, or Steve Perry, who was influenced primarily by the Motown sound of the 1960s, Schon has always appeared to thrive in exactly the same musical style that made him famous: loud hard rock. This was certainly evident in his first solo album, Late Nite (1989). In interviews including those he sat for last year for VH1, Schon has further indicated this to be his truest passion, describing (for instance) an incident in which he mocked Perry and Journey pianist Jonathan Cain during the recording of "Open Arms" back in 1980 for what he might have termed that song's "wimpy-ness". What Voice shows us is not that we were wrong about Schon's musical tastes or influences, but truly how versatile a musician he is, how versatile his music can be, even how varied his daily musical preferences might be.
Every tune on Voice is a pleasure to listen to. When I first heard the concept for the album, I was afraid that it would sound like Neal playing guitar next to a karaoke machine. Fortunately, I was proved wrong. The accompaniment as well as Schon's own stylistics are fresh and executed with zeal and gusto. The guitar especially is crisp and clean. And while this is not the Neal Schon most Journey fans are used to, it is important to remember that we, too have grown older. Sometimes we're in the mood for Escape, and sometimes we're in the mood for Bad English's Backlash. Since receiving my copy, sometimes I'm in the mood for Neal Schon's Voice.
Purchase your copy of Voice through CDNow Today!
|After the Tragedy
York, PA September 12, 2001
Originally published on this page, 13 September, 2001.
I was born and raised in lower Manhattan, New York City. I attended elementary school at what is now called P.S. 234, The Independence School, at Independence Plaza, in the shadow of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. My earliest memory of the towers is from that ill-fated school-bus which would later fail to pick up Etan Patz one cold morning. We were early for school one day--perhaps traffic was unnaturally light. The bus driver asked us kids if we wanted "to see the twins". The towers were less than five years old at the time, and we kids were less than ten. Amidst cries of "hooray" and more muted pre-pubescent forms of anticipation, the driver took us the four extra blocks under the old elevated west-side highway (since torn down) to give us the ground-floor view of the north tower, with the south tower in the background.
At the same time, on the other coast, Journey was recording Infinity and the thought of a New Yorker someday being a member of the San-Francisco-based band had probably never entered the minds of Aynsley Dunbar, Herbie Herbert, Steve Perry, Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon, or Ross Valory. But somewhere in Brooklyn, an incredible young man was on his way to his early-morning high school classes.
Twenty-three years later, on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, at approximately 8:45 a.m., the north tower of the World Trade Center was hit two-thirds of the way up by a hijacked commercial passenger jet scheduled for Los Angeles with a full tank of fuel. Only minutes later, a second jet collided with the south tower, slightly lower down. A third hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and a fourth crashed into the ground southeast of Pittsburgh, PA. By 11:00, both towers of the World Trade Center had collapsed into rubble, taking with them the lives of perhaps 10,000. Not since the Civil War had so many lives been lost to violence on American soil.
Naturally, my first reaction to the tragedy, as well as no doubt that of Steve Augeri and countless others with friends and family in New York or Washington, was of horror and fear. It took several hours for me to ascertain the safety of my loved ones, but at the time of this writing there are still two close friends, both involved in finance and employed in lower Manhattan, recently married, who remain unaccounted for.
It was in the midst of this grief and horror that I learned that Journey had not cancelled either of their county fair shows--the first, which took place on the night of the tragedy, was in Allegan County, Michigan, and the second, which took place the following night, was in York County, Pennsylvania. I had tickets for the latter, but never for a second contemplated not attending. If the show must go on, as they say, it needs an audience. By the end of the day of the tragedy I had already received several e-mails from fellow Journey fans for whom the music of Journey was a constant source of comfort during this terrible time. One stated that she could not have driven to work on the morning following the tragedy without the sound of Journey on her car stereo. Many of us in this nation turned to our local houses of worship for guidance, community strength, and hope. I, as well as thousands of others, turned to Journey. And, as always, they did not disappoint.
It was to the sight of hand-held flags, not lights, that Journey opened up with "Any Way You Want It" at exactly 8:00 p.m. in York, Pennsylvania. I had driven up from central Virginia, stopping in Washington en route to pick up my brother. We each wore tour T-shirts, he wearing my "Vacation's Over" T-shirt and I wearing my fan club T-shirt. The total drive time was five hours. But the sight of these flags in the audience let me know that we had made the right decision.
That feeling was confirmed when Neal launched into his solo, playing "Amazing Grace". He had played it throughout the tour, but this time, despite it's not having been written as a patriotic song for the United States (it was written by a reformed Scottish slave-ship captain during the eighteenth century), it's mood became one of patriotism and solidarity which we all, as Americans, feel. Then, during "Chain Reaction", an incredible thing happened. Jonathan strapped on his guitar, as usual, and he, Ross, Neal, and Steve came forward to the front of the stage to perform the number, as usual, but somehow it seemed different this time. The four of them seemed united, phalanx-like, symbolizing the unity which we must all now demonstrate at this, our nation's time of crisis.
My first concern after the tragedy was to establish contact with my loved ones. Within an hour I had accomplished this--with one notable exception. I could not reach my fiancee, Lana, and she had been traveling from New York to Washington to attend an event at the Russian Embassy that night. My concern was that she was stranded on an Amtrack train somewhere, perhaps under the river. At the same time, Steve Augeri was frantically trying to reach his wife, Lydia. Both Lana and Lydia are fine, but I knew, as our eyes met both when he came near to shake my hand from the stage and when we discussed it after the show, that we would forever share the bond forged by men with common fears. Steve in Michigan and Dave in central Virginia had feared for the safety of Lana and Lydia, who both reside in Brooklyn.
This was the last show for the "Arrival" tour. There would have been a different mood onstage (and off) than those earlier shows I saw regardless of the events of the previous day, but the tragedy only added to the finality with which the encore ended. Michelle "Augerifan" A., who was several rows back in the center, threw a towel at Steve with words on it which congratulated him on the tour. She had seen twenty-one shows this tour, following the band like a Deadhead in days of old. Steve attached a small-hand-held flag, which a fan had given him, to his microphone stand. It was a bittersweet ending. The band members smiled at us, of course, but the previous day's events were never far from anyone's mind.
Several of us hung around at the foot of the stage following the traditional guitar-pick hunt. Unlike at the other venues I attended, no security came out to force us to leave, and we were allowed to watch the roadies tear down the stage unmolested. We discussed the previous day's events, earlier concerts, and the recent Herbie Herbert interview. We made new friends. I noticed that Journey, or Nightmare, has become much more equal-opportunity since filming the "Frontiers and Beyond" video--about one roadie in four was a woman.
After a while we were told that the band was behind the stage talking with fans and signing autographs. We all ran around the building that housed the stage and there they were, all five of them, doing just that. I finally, after all these years, got to meet the members of Journey and shake their hands. They all signed my JRNYDV vanity license plate, and my brother got Steve, Deen, and Jon to sign my "Vacation's Over" T-shirt. Jon was smoking a cigar, and I asked him how he can sing if he smokes cigars. He replied that it was a treat he allowed himself after each show for a job well done. I have to say that, having now met him, what I said about him in my last concert review has been proved false. Jon is indeed warm and affable with fans. Ross explained to me that the southern accent I detected in his voice was just something he picked up from touring (of course, he's from San Francisco). Neal thanked me for the work that I'm doing promoting his latest album, Voice. I joked with Deen, asking him what it was like playing drums for Journey and Van Halen at the same time. But then, in all seriousness, I thanked him for the work he was doing with Journey. And then, Steve. He was wearing a "Brooklyn Cyclones" baseball shirt. I shook his hand, enquired about his loved ones, and thanked him for "saving Journey for us". Then they had to go. As they walked back inside to get ready to get on the bus, we all yelled "Safe home, Journey!" and watched them disappear.
The drive home was shorter than the drive up to the show, as it was the middle of the night and traffic was virtually nonexistent. What had been five hours in the afternoon became three and a half at night. After dropping off Richard in Washington, the two remaining hours to central Virginia were a time of reflection and quiet comtemplation. We, as a nation and as individuals, have suffered a terrible tragedy. We have been hit with a blow from which it will be difficult to recover. But I have no doubt that we will indeed recover from this. We are a nation where we cherish liberty and freedom, manifested in many ways. One way this manifests itself is in our freedom to choose what type of music we enjoy, and in our liberty to seek out the creators of this music and come together with them for a celebration of life and love.
A message comes down...it's a warning
It's not your time, but it's coming
Now what makes us think we're here forever
When life is gone before you know it's over
A church in the rain...a sad congregation
An old friend I knew
When I look at the end...I understand now
I've got livin' to do...There's still livin' to do
With every breath comes deeper meaning
I don't wanna' waste one single minute
Tears fall from the sky...angels are cryin'
They cry for those who don't know that they're dyin'
I wait for the sun...a chance at a new day
There's no time to lose
When I look at the end...I understand now
I've got livin' to do...There's still livin' to do
Livin' to Do ©2001 Fingers of Joy Music, So Much Music, Encore Entertainment LLC d/b/a Scott and Soda Music, BeechTree Publishing administered by Encore Entertainment LLC (ASCAP).
Playlist from the York show (courtesy Captain013):
1)Anyway You Want It
2)Only the Young
3)Neal's solo/Amazing Grace
4)Stone in Love
5)World Gone Wild
6)Send Her My Love
9)Feelin' that Way
11)Message of Love
14)Don't Stop Believin'
15)Ask the Lonely
17)Livin' to Do
19)Wheel in the Sky
20)Be Good to Yourself
21)Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
22)Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'
|The Storm: Eye of the Storm
By "Anthony from sun city, AZ"
Originally published at Amazon.Com, 29 November, 2001
Re-published at Jrnydv.Com, 17 August, 2003
this album is awesome from start to finish. i think this album is way better than the new Journey- Arival record. awesome vocals and guitars galore. i havent heard anything this good in many years. though this is some years old, it cant be any better. Hopefully this will become in print again with all the [...] and angry music out today.
Gregg Rolie Band
December 5, 2001
Reviewer: Fred Mulgrew
When the lights went down in the city last night, it was a native ‘son’ that was shining on the bay. In the midst of a northern California tour, the Gregg Rolie Band returned to it’s ‘roots’ Friday night and put on a stellar show at Slims in San Francisco. Concertgoers, ranging from teens to middle aged fans were treated to a 14-song set transcending 5 decades of rock’s most popular music. As the lights dimmed, the sound of Latin rhythms rose from behind the darkened stage. Quietly, the percussion musicians emerged to take their stations including Adrian Areas (son of Chepito, original Santana band mate, who was in the audience) and well-traveled drummer/producer Ron Wikso. The rest of the band entered the stage to the infectious beat and were met with resounding applause as Gregg made his way to his signature keyboard station.
The Band then lunged into ‘Going Home’ a new tune featured on the new ROOTS CD. The crowd, on their feet, immediately identified with its similarity to the early work of Rolie / Santana as the song soared with exchanges of keyboard leads and extraordinary guitar work by Dave Amato (REO Speed wagon alumnus).
Moments later, the familiar Conga intro to ‘Jingo’ had the audience focused on Michael Carabello, another original Santana band mate and friend of Rolie’s for over 35 years. Again, explosive guitar leads and incredible percussion ala Areas’ timbales took the crowd back in time to the days of some famous Bay Area venues like the Fillmore Auditorium and Winterland. Thundering bass lines via Alphonso Johnson seemingly rumbled through the hall as the crowd felt the Latin groove. When it ended, it was obvious to all that this was going to be a good night!
Gregg greeted excited onlookers and expressed how good it felt to be back in the area. After introducing the Band, the show segued into another new song entitled ‘Love is Everything’ utilizing the backing vocals of the band coupled with an awesome keyboard solo followed with Amato’s complimenting guitar playing. As the show progressed, it was easy to see how the chemistry of this band was surfacing in that each member’s contribution motivated the other to reach for the next level.
Before the next tune was played, a word of introduction by Gregg that recognized Michael Carabello’s contribution in co-writing, led to a handshake of brotherhood by the two. Then the band promptly launched into a blistering version of another Santana era classic ‘No One To Depend On’.
‘Waiting’ from Santana’s first album followed ‘As The Years Go Passing By’. Again, the musicianship was top-notch throughout as Tom Gimbel’s supporting keyboards and horns were tastefully sprinkled in and out during the entire show. At times band members would look about the stage with mutual admiration at one another, as all had plenty of space to stretch out during various solos. It became increasingly apparent that this was by no means a ‘Cover Band’ but rather a body of performers fixed on one thing, quality by virtue of experience.
Next, a couple of acoustic guitar tunes also from the new ‘Roots’ CD (Con Todo Mi Corazon and Domingo) revealed the depth of musicality that this band is capable of. They can equally turn it down or turn it up with the same fervor and emotion
Then with almost no warning, the familiar opening piano intro of ‘Just The Same Way’ gave way to a rousing response from the audience. It was a great highlight as many in attendance were hoping to connect with the Journey legacy that is still so passionately associated with Gregg. None were disappointed, as guitarist Dave Amato sang the higher vocal range to complement Gregg’s familiar lead. ‘Give It To Me’ followed, a nice hook that also happens to be the first song on the new CD.
Then, it was Hall Of Fame time as ‘Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen’ was awakened with those menacing opening keyboard notes. A crowd pleaser, it was eerily reminiscent of the original that dominated the airwaves over 30 years ago with a vocal so familiar, yet not often heard live by the original voice. Santana fans welcomed the following ‘Oye Como Va’ with just as much excitement. The sing along with the audience on this concluding tune said much about how beloved this music is still embraced by rock music fans everywhere including home fans in SFO/Bay Area.
The encore song proved worthy of its title as the Band reemerged for one last song ‘Everybody’s Everything’. The percussion and jam that concluded this special night was one not soon to be forgotten by those who came to listen. In the end, it was an incredible evening of new and vintage rock that continues to find its audience of fans that appreciate well-crafted material. It should also be stated that the spirit of Gregg and the other performers was the same offstage as it was on. Following the show, band members took a short break and then came back out to meet admiring fans and mingle with friends and family. They graciously and patiently signed autographs and allowed photographs to be taken with fans from all over the area. For those who waited so long to hear the music Gregg is such a large part of, one would be hard pressed to find anyone disappointed. It was well worth the wait! As one fan in the front row remarked as the band left the stage: “there goes a class act”. I hope that when the GRB comes to your town you’ll feel ‘just the same way’!
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Originally Published at House of Shred, undated
Re-published at Jrnydv.Com July 18, 2003
I don't like the perception of change where no change exists. The other day in the market I saw a can of Beef-a-Roni®. The can said something to the effect of "Bigger, Heartier Noodles for Big Appetites!". The marketing people behind this innovation want you to think that by consuming the allegedly better product, that you will be fuller and more satisfied then if you consumed the old version with the smaller noodles. Umm... excuse me, but both cans hold 12 ounces of product. 12 ounces of noodles is just that, whether it be a hundred little noodles or a dozen big noodles, it still equates to the same thing.
Journey's release, Arrival, is my Beef-a-Roni® . Arrival was unleashed in the wake of a lot of media hype and high expectations. Sorry to disappoint you folks, but it's just more of the same old stuff. The "new" Journey sounds pretty much like the "old" Journey. You won't find anything new or innovative here. In fact, it made me miss the "old" Journey a lot.
The biggest change of late is the recruitment of new singer Steve Augeri. Augeri has a fine voice, unfortunately, it's Steve Perry's voice! This guy is practically a Perry clone. A casual listener would not know the difference if they didn't know about the personnel change. Let me qualify that, Augeri is almost a Perry clone. Perry has a better voice, far smoother and richer than Augeri's. However, Augeri does an incredible Perry imitation, so much so that the album comes off like a tribute band doing an excellent recreation of the Journey sound. Why they chose this path is a mystery, but I expect they figured complacency was a safer bet then innovation. I was eagerly anticipating this album, hoping that a new voice would breathe new life into the band after their last lackluster release. It appears the boys in Journey chose the path of least resistance (and least creativity). So much of this album sounds like retreads of older Journey songs. You can cruise through this disc and pick out dozens of little things that are ripped straight from their 80's catalog.
The high point of any Journey album is usually Neal Schon's masterful guitar work. Neal sounds OK on this disc, but with the exception of a beautiful solo in "World Gone Wild", his work doesn't stand out much overall. It's certainly not enough to lift the album up to the level that we all know these musicians are capable of. Part of the problem is the incessant syrupy love ballads. Too much, guys! I haven't been exposed to so much sweetness since my kids gave up watching the Care Bears! The same lovelorn themes keep rearing their melancholy tear-streaked faces to the point where it's like listening to musical Hallmark Cards. It's a shame because once upon a time, Journey set the standard for powerful ballads. During the 80's many a pair of panties was shed to the accompaniment of Steve Perry wailing through "Open Arms" and "Faithfully". Were those songs a little too sweet and sticky? Sure they were. But Perry sang them with so much soulful power that you really didn't care. And you could always count on some kick-ass rockers to round out the album. So much of Arrival sounds custom made for those middle of the road "lite rock" stations that cater to the growing herd of passive baby boomers who don't want to be challenged by their music.
There are a couple of very good songs on this disc that I liked, but they are buried in a lot of mediocre ones. The album starts off well with an upbeat rocker, "Higher Place," which is probably the best track on the album. Then, they follow it with the dorky, lovesick "All the Way", which sounds like it was ripped from the latest N'Sync disc. I kept waiting for them to kick-start this damn thing but never got the payoff. They come close a few times but then slide back to "What the hell was that?" mode pretty quickly, like the inane "Nothing Comes Close" where the guys put on their groove-thang and get down, but deliver what sounds like Robert Palmer. I wonder if they'll get those chicks with guitars for the video?
To top it off, it's a sonic mess. The whole thing sounds muddy and thick. No amount of tweaking the EQ was enough to get rid of the bottom-heavy sound on this disc. I don't get it — the core of Journey's sound is crisp, bright guitar and keys, and high falsetto vocals, so where did all this bass-heavy sludge come from?
To those of you pondering whether to plunk down your hard earned cash for this album, here's my advice: Pick up the re-mastered Infinity instead, and get a taste of musical prime rib, or buy Arrival if you prefer Beef-a-Roni®.