Of all the ’80s rock bands touring without their original lead singers, none has been more consistently successful than Journey. Sure, Boston can lure a couple thousand people out for a summer show. Yes, Foreigner can pack the grandstands at the Western Idaho Fair. We’ll see how AC/DC works out with Axl Rose — although I must admit Rose has been shining as a pudgier version of Brian Johnson and Bon Scott.
Still, with its proven track record, Journey tops the list of missing-vocalist has-beens who miraculously still are. The band, which will return to Boise on Monday, March 20, for a concert at Taco Bell Arena, has two crucial advantages over its peers: The songs, and the singer.
If you buy tickets — on sale at noon Friday at Ticketmaster for $29.50 to $95 (presale at 10 a.m. Wednesday with password “DONTSTOP”) — you’re guaranteed a full night of FM radio hits: “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Wheel in the Sky,” “Faithfully,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’,” “Open Arms.”
You’re also guaranteed quality vocals. In a perfect world, arena-rock god Steve Perry still would be in the band. He’s not. Filipino singer Arnel Pineda is. And that’s fine. The vocal gymnastics required by Journey’s catalog would be a potential trainwreck for 68-year-old vocal cords. Pineda crushes these songs at a comparatively youthful 49 years old, which is amazing in its own right.
That said, give credit to the Journey concert’s opening act, Asia. That group, known for its 1982 hit “Heat of the Moment,” still has its classic lineup sans guitarist Steve Howe. (Don’t be fooled by Howe’s presence in the video below.) Original vocalist-bassist John Wetton stretches for most of those high notes each night, and it obviously ain’t easy.
Testament to headline thrash bill
In other Boise concert news, a heavy metal show was announced today. Thrash-era bands Testament, Sepultura and Prong are headed to the Revolution Center in Garden City on Friday, May 12.
Advance tickets are $25 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at Ticketfly. They’ll be $30 at the door. There’s also a VIP option (ages 21 and older only) for $55.