Journey/Danny Vaughn Live @ CIA, Cardiff (UK) - 9th March 2007

Have you ever been to a gig and really not wanted to be there?

Well, I bought the ticket for this show about six months ago, on a whim almost. Suddenly realising at about 5 o'clock the day of the gig that it would be a SEATED show, the seeds of doubt really started to rack up within me. The CIA can be best described as a cavernous hellhole, but what would it be like for a SEATED show with "Journey". Jees, what had I let myself in for?

I guess at this point in the review it's my confession time Glitziners, as "Journey" are my guilty pleasure. Yes it will probably surprise you that alongside my "Joan Jett", "Junkyard" and "Johnny Crash" albums sits my ummmm "Journey" collection. So really "Journey's" first ever show in Wales in their 30 odd year career (and what now seems like 30 odd singers) was always going to be a must attend for me, even with my mind still full of doubt.

Arriving at the venue fashionably late hoping to miss New Jersey rocker "Danny Vaughn" I still managed to catch 3 or 4 songs of his acoustic interlude. Damn, best plans etc. I must explain that Danny and myself have previous; in so much as he ruined my then favourite band back in the mid 80's (that being Pete Ways sleazy rockers "Waysted"). So I can NEVER forgive him for that. But of the songs (largely "Tyketto" numbers) I watched, he still sings extremely well and has a great rapport with the largely already seated and seemingly pissed crowd.

The equipment changeover for "Journey" is done within ten minutes. So before you know it, Neal Schon is standing four feet from me playing the Welsh National Anthem, which segues straight into a caustic "Rubicon" and suddenly all my niggling doubts are gone, oh and by the way I'm "on the fucking barrier". Classic after classic is rolled out with the heavier side of things like "Edge of The Blade" and "Stone In Love" at the front end of the set. "Jeff Scott Soto" is up front at the microphone and he sings the "Steve "the duck" Perry's" vocal lines effortlessly yet albeit in his own style and you really can't help but laugh with him when again he slips in a snippet of his "Rock Star" movie tune "Stand Up and Shout" during the set.

The real surprise for me though is that mid set drummer "Deen Castronovo" takes over on lead vocals for "Who's Crying Now", and if you closed your eyes "Steve Perry" was in the room. "Deen" is not only seemingly a fantastic hard hitting drummer, but a vocal clone of the bands second singer. "Deen" also takes the mic for "Faithfully" and "Open Arms" reinforcing what a talented bunch of musicians these guys really are, and also much to the delight of the "Journey" hardcore who whoop out his name after every song he sings.

Talking of the "Journey" hardcore, they get songs as far reaching as "Mystery Mountain" from the bands 70's debut (sung by "Jonathan Cain"), and as classic as "Send Her My Love" from my favourite album "Frontiers". But no one could have predicted that "Remember Me " from the soundtrack to action flick "Armageddon" would have been included or come to think of it "I'm Not That Way" from "Arrival", but the quality of these later tunes just show what a deeply talented writer the band had in the sadly recently departed "Steve Augeri".

Things round off with an AOR sucker punch of "Don't Stop Believin'", and "Any Way You Want It" before they ultimately return for the seminal Bogiez Rock Club Anthem that was/is "Separate Ways".

So for a gig I didn't want to be at, this really did turn out to be one full of musical twists and turns, not unlike the twists the blokes arm next to me went through when he got it caught in the security barrier rushing for a plectrum…. and the turns that his arm did before making the loud snapping noise that followed.

God who said AOR was boring? Not me!

by Johnny H.