I was not a Journey fan until seeing the band’s May 10 show at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. I’d change the station when the band would come on the radio because I didn’t like hearing romantic anthems for the lonely when I myself was lonely. Every time I heard “Don’t Stop Believin,'” I’d cringe. At this show, the band transformed that resentment into joy.
Singer Arnel Pineda blew the crowd away with his spot-on vocals, sounding identical to original lead vocalist Steve Perry. Before joining the band, Pineda was in a Journey cover band in the Philippines until he was discovered by the real Journey on YouTube.
Pineda hyped up the crowd to sing along while he spun around the stage belting out ballads till he was red in the face. The rest of the band kept up with Pineda’s high energy, by shooting back with shredding guitars, epic harmonies and a gnarly drum solo, all while wearing tight jeans and leather with acid-trip visual projections surrounding them. Thirty-eight years after the release of their album Evolution (which was played top-to-bottom at the show), these dudes still got it.
Keyboardist Jonathan Cain dedicated “Faithfully” to the soldiers far from home missing their families. He shared the story of the night he wrote the track, back in 1982 on a bus ride to New York City. Now, here they are at the Hard Rock, cranking out the classics in a residency in Las Vegas.
Photography by Erik Kabik Photography
May 12–13, 17, 19–20, 7 p.m., $60–$180, The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, hardrockhotel.com