Journey, Asia Pour On Hits At Blue Cross Arena

Concert Review


Blue Cross Arena
Rochester, NY
Wednesday June 21, 2017
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto

During the summer of 1982 you could not turn the radio on without hearing Journey or Asia blasting through your boombox speakers. Journey’s Escape was still riding high on the charts with six singles constantly receiving airplay. Asia, the recently formed supergroup had just released their debut album featuring gems “Heat Of The Moment” and “Only Time Will Tell.” Wednesday evening both bands put on performances that took one back to those times. Sure, the band members may have changed but it goes to show you how with good songwriting the music stands the test of time.

Today’s Journey lineup features the whole Escape era band minus only singer Steve Perry. Current vocalist Arnel Pineda, who has been at the helm now since 2007, sang the songs to perfection almost effortlessly. Drummer Steve Smith who had left the band in 1998, rejoined in 2015 and was the last piece of the puzzle. With Smith firmly back behind the skins, the band is as potent as ever in concert.

The band came out of the gate hitting hard and fast with “Separate Ways” and “Be Good To Yourself” promptly followed by a sweltering “Ask The Lonely”. The crowd finally began to settle in during the first Neal Schon guitar solo of the evening. The first notes of “Any Way You Want It” brought the majority of the crowd to their feet once again.

As the band has done every show to date on this tour, “Lights” was dedicated to John Wetton, Asia’s bassist and singer who passed away in January.

For the Journey fans who miss some of the ballads the band doesn’t get to play much anymore, keyboardist Jonathan Cain did a medley of gems such as “Send Her My Love”, “I’ll Be Alright Without You” and “After All These Years”.

As the Hall of Famers announced the deep cut “Edge Of The Blade”, many in the crowd took a restroom break, leaving the diehards to enjoy the rare track from Frontiers. The band ended as hard and fast as they began with rockin’ versions of “Wheel In The Sky” and “Faithfully”. The band ended with what has become their biggest song in “Don’t Stop Believin’”.

The band encored with “Escape” and a long drawn out “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’” the latter featuring a lengthy intro that took away from the song. It would have been nice to see the band end with all guns blazing instead.
With so many albums to choose from the band could have easily played a three-hour show. Journey was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this spring. It was an accolade truly deserving and long overdue.

Opening the evening was Asia. The band still features original members keyboardist Geoffrey Downes and drummer Carl Palmer. Joining them were guitarist Sam Coulson and the newest member bassist and singer Billy Sherwood. As Palmer introduced Sherwood he noted that Wetton chose Sherwood as his successor without hesitation. Wetton had been hoping to resume touring at some point but sadly it was not to be. Sherwood did an admirable job doing most of the songs justice. Sherwood also replaced Chris Squire as Yes bassist as well.

Asia’s brief 40-minute set featured all the obligatory songs including “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” and “Sole Survivor” leading the way. The band played a solid set comprising mostly of the band’s debut. “Heat Of The Moment” closed out the show with an audience sing a long.

It’s hard to say what the future holds for these two bands going forward. Journey is rumored to be going on a hiatus after this tour and with other commitments for Asia band members, there really are no guarantees when these bands may be able to record or tour again. At least for one more night the fans were able to enjoy these two bands doing what they do best as they took the fans back in time to relive the memories of simpler times.

Journey Set
Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
Be Good to Yourself
Ask the Lonely
Neal Schon Guitar Solo #1
Stone in Love
Any Way You Want It
Neal Schon Guitar Solo #2
Jonathan Cain Piano Solo
Open Arms
Who’s Crying Now
Edge of the Blade
La Do Da
Steve Smith Drum Solo
Neal Schon Guitar Solo #3
Wheel in the Sky
Don’t Stop Believin’

Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’

Asia Set
Wildest Dreams
Sole Survivor
Time Again
Don’t Cry
Drum Solo
Keyboard Solo
The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
Only Time Will Tell
Heat Of The Moment

About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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