Concert Reviews

Journey with Neal Schon at First Ontario Centre

The opening band for Journey was an instrumental act with Neal “Vortex” Schon (guitarist for Journey) along with Journey’s drummer Omar Hakim, they are doing double duty on this tour to promote Neal’s new solo album Vortex. 

If you are into guitar wailing instrumental acts, this is the band for you.

Took a quick little Journey down the QEW on Saturday to the First Ontario Centre to see the band Journey.  I have to say I was quite excited to see them perform ever since Arnel Pineda took over fronting the band.  I have watched their documentary on Netflix “Don’t Stop Believing: Everyman’s Journey” (which follows Journey on the road for a year) because I am fascinated with the fact that the Journey band members found Arnel on YouTube, it just goes to show you that  you never know who is watching.  Spending two years of his life on the streets at age 13 in the Philippines now, to fronting one of the most historic bands of all times all I have to say is, life may surprise you sometimes, go for it! 

Journey’s songs have been covered by many artists and sports teams over the years and of course “Don’t Stop Believing” is the song that many people use as their theme song.  It is most definitely and anthem for the ages.  

Arnel Pineda had some big shoes to fill, Steve Perry (former singer of Journey) has a spectacular voice and I am pleased to tell you that Arnel most certainly did that and exceeded my expectations.

Journey of course played all their top hits like “Faithfully”, “Who’s Crying Now” and “Wheel In The Sky” and you may actually be surprised to learn with the amount of notable songs Journey has, they have never held the number one spot on the billboard charts. Arnel jumped around the stage like a pinball,  from one side to the other, never missing a note which amazes me. The energy he gave off was infectious.  At one point in the show guitar player Neal played “O Canada” and the whole arena stood up and cheered, at the end of the song, on the LED screens that covered the back wall a canadian flag lit up the place in red.  I am giving them huge props for that, the crowd loved this cheering them on with their screams. 

It turned into a sing along during “Who’s Crying Now”, which I love hearing at concerts, and I am sure the band does too.  Hearing an arena full of people sing your songs back to you in unison has got to be such a satisfying feeling.  I loved seeing Arnel blow kisses to their fans in the front row and reaching as far as he could to touch their hands without falling off the stage.

I found myself more than once getting lost in the performance and forgetting that I was there to write a review.  Being an 80’s child myself, this concert brought me back to a simpler, happy time in my life. I thought I loved Arnel before seeing him live and in colour but, after seeing him, it just reiterate the fact even more.  It almost seems that this has breathed new life into a somewhat older generation band. I absolutely loved the fact that I saw 40/50 something’s with their children under the age of 10 at this show, introducing amazing music to a younger generation. 

Once again I have to give props to the crew at the First Ontario Centre because without them there is no show! 

Arnel, not so sure about the hair cut, long hair suits you.


Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’

And if you want to know the rest you will just have to go check out a show.

About author

Concert Photographer at Live In Limbo. Started concert photography due to the fact that I love music but do not have a musical note in my body, so this is the next best thing as far as I am concerned. I love the energy rush you get coming off the stage from the performers. I am a hardcore animal fanatic and will go out of my way to help them. My nickname is Miniwheats which was given to me years ago and most people do not know my real name. Twitter @minismemories