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 8/28/2008 JOURNEY AT HERSHEY PARK STADIUM

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PostSubject: 8/28/2008 JOURNEY AT HERSHEY PARK STADIUM   Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:12 am

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2008/08/journey_performs_at_the_star_p.html

Journey performs at The Star Pavilion
by KIRA L. SCHLECHTER, Of The Patriot-News
Thursday August 28, 2008, 10:57 PM



Neal Schon of the band Journey performs the opening song "Never Walk Away" at The Star Pavilion at Hersheypark Stadium. Thursday.


Some things change, like the lineup of classic rockers Journey, who showed off yet another new singer -- Arnel Pineda, dubbed by keyboardist Jonathan Cain as "the thrilla from Manila" -- Thursday night at Hersheypark Stadium.

The Filipino singer, who played in a cover band in his native land that frequently did Journey songs, rather proved that moniker. In recent years, Journey has had singers who "sounded somewhat like" best-known frontman Steve Perry. Now they've got one who "sounds exactly like" Perry, to the point where it's eerie.

Even starting with a new track, "Never Walk Away," the resemblance was uncanny. By the time the band rolled through classics such as "Only The Young" and "Stone in Love" -- all made famous by Perry -- it got even creepier. Pineda is the dead-est of dead ringers.

Is that good? Is it bad? It's good if only because the band is continuing to do new music that establishes Pineda on his own, such as "After All These Years" and the rollicking "Change for the Better."

Is it bad? Well, when you can keep alive more trademark tracks -- such as 'Separate Ways," "Lights," "Open Arms" (the ballad of ¤'80s-era prom-goers everywhere), and "Don't Stop Believin'¤" -- the verdict is ultimately: no.

It's all good, if a little like seeing the world's best Journey cover band.

The band -- still including longtime members Cain, guitarist Neal Schon and bassist Ross Valory -- showcased Pineda on their other huge ballad, "Faithfully." He tended to do better on the slower songs; his phrasing and breath control on faster ones could improve a little, as well as "Escape," the swirling pair of tracks "Send Her My Love" and "Wheel in the Sky," and a boisterous "Any Way You Want It."

"Be Good To Yourself" and a nicely bluesy "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'¤" rounded things out.

Some things never change, such as openers Heart, who have remained the same at the core -- sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson -- throughout their long career. The girls were a tough act to follow, starting right off the bat with "Wild Child," a potent "Magic Man" and a toned-down "Never."

Singer Ann was in spectacular voice, her voice alternately caressing, ringing and cutting like a knife. A punchy "Straight On" led into guitarist Nancy's sweet turn on vocals (and mandolin) on "These Dreams" before Ann created major goose bumps with a haunting "Alone." She was only getting started.

She slayed a cover of The Who's "Love, Reign O'er Me" (Daltrey, look out) and tore through "Barracuda" before encoring with another wonderful cover, Led Zeppelin's "Going to California" (in which she hit every Robert Plant high note), and the band's own "Crazy On You," which featured Nancy on acoustic and Ann's spellbinding ad-libbing at the end.

Openers Cheap Trick have also had the same lineup for decades and also delivered a solid set of their own classics, terrifically played and tight.

The eclectic starter "Oh Claire" led into "That ¤'70s Song" and a soundly rocking "California Man." Singer Robin Zander was his usual full-throated self on "If You Want My Love," a lovely "Voices," and their eternal favorite, "I Want You To Want Me." And lively guitarist Rick Nielsen had his usual roster of a billion guitars, from the checkerboard five-neck to his trademark Gibsons.

"I Can't Take It" was suitably snide, "The Flame" suitably romantic (Zander hitting the money note near the song's end with ease), and "Surrender" suitably (and charmingly) nose-thumbing.

The mock ending "Goodnight Now" served to introduce "Dream Police," given a great sound boost by Journey's Cain on keyboards. So it was a night of the old-old and the old-new -- or is that the new-old?

Either way, it was a night of the best classic rock.
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