LIVE: Journey and Toto @ MVP Arena, 03/08/2022
Journey brought their “Freedom 2022 Tour” to Albany’s MVP Arena on Tuesday night. The music of Journey has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. I recall listening to my parent’s vinyl copies of Escape and Frontiers. I have always believed that replacement singers just aren’t as good as original singers. Lead singer Arnel Pineda has been with the band for fifteen years. For fifteen years I have avoided seeing this band live because I figured that nobody could replace the incomparable Steve Perry. Boy was I wrong. Pineda not only has the vocal range, he is a high energy, charismatic front man. I honestly can’t think of a lead singer that I have seen in recent years that was anywhere close to Pineda in terms of pure entertainment. He covered every inch of the stage, reaching out and bumping fists with fans. The sheer joy that this man exudes in contagious. It is nearly impossible to watch his performance and not smile yourself. He practically levitates as he bounces from one place to the next.
Journey has been releasing music for nearly fifty years although their biggest commercial successes came in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Tuesday night’s setlist reflected this. All but one of the seventeen songs they performed were released between 1978 and 1986. New song “The Way We Used To Be” was the only exception.
They wasted no time getting to some of their biggest hits. Kicking their set off with “Only the Young” off of 1983’s Frontiers, it was apparent that the band wanted to give the audience a show to remember. “Stone in Love” followed with founding guitarist Neil Schon showing off his impressive chops. It was an incredible surprise to hear them perform “Don’t Stop Believing” third in the setlist. The track, off of the 1981 LP Escape is arguably their most popular song. The arena lit up with cell phones held aloft during a stirring rendition of the monster power ballad “Faithfully.” Couples slow danced in the aisles and the fans sang this one on the top of their lungs.
Pineda took a couple of breaks during the set, turning lead vocal duties over to drummer Deen Castronovo on the Escape deep cut “Mother, Father.” Castronovo sounded strikingly similar to Steve Perry. “Suzanne” from 1986’s Raised on Radio was sung by keyboard player Jason Derlatka.
They served up anthem after anthem and the fans ate it up. They closed the show with “Any Way You Want It” from 1980’s Departure. There was no encore.
Fellow 1980’s rock veterans Toto opened the night with a ten song set highlighted by guitarist Steve Lukather’s prolific playing. He was particularly stellar on “I’ll Be Over You,” serving up a beautifully melodic solo. Lukather also provided vocals on the track. Lead singer Joseph Williams was pitch perfect as well. The vocals sounded like the studio versions. Toto held their two biggest hits until the end of their set. They closed with extended versions of both “Rosanna” and “Africa.”
Toto Setlist – Orphan – Hold The Line – I’ll Be Over You – White Sister – Georgie Porgy – I Won’t Hold You Back – Waiting For Your Love – Home of the Brave – Rosanna – Africa
Journey Setlist – Only the Young – Stone In Love – Don’t Stop Believing – Faithfully – Chain Reaction – Ask The Lonely – Who’s Crying Now? – Mother, Father – Lights – The Way We Used To Be – Loving Touching Squeezing – Open Arms – Suzanne – Wheel in the Sky – Seperate Ways (Worlds Apart) – Be Good To Yourself – Any Way You Want It