Journey in Rogers, AR

May 31, 2016 Rogers, AR

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Venue : The Walmart AMP
Address : 5079 W Northgate Rd, Rogers, AR 72758

Journey | The Doobie Brothers | Dave Mason fan presale: Nov. 30 10am on sale: Nov. 30 10am
AMEX presale: Dec. 2 10am – Dec. 4 10pm, venue, media sales: Dec. 3 10am – Dec. 4 10pm
Public on sale: Dec. 5 10am

All times local


    Concert Review: Journey, Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason at the Walmart AMP in Rogers, Arkansas
    — June 1, 2016

    Photos & Story by Scott A. Smith

    Don’t listen to the armchair haters. Journey rocks hard – really, really hard – in concert.

    Reunited with their classic-lineup drummer Steve “Machine Gun” Smith, Journey pounded the stage with a brilliant, sweaty set full of hits and gritty guitar-laced tracks for a capacity, very vocal audience May 31 at the Walmart AMP in Rogers, Arkansas. The strong gig was part of Journey’s new San Francisco Fest 2016 Tour, which also features the equally magnificent Doobie Brothers and solo artist and former Traffic member Dave Mason as opening artists.

    Taking the stage while the stage was partially shadowed, the members of Journey – Smith, guitarist Neal Schon, bassist Ross Valory, keyboardist Jonathan Cain and singer Arnel Pineda – hit full-throttle on the set-opener “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart),” letting Cain’s lead synthesizer line shine above the pumping rhythm and sounds of Schon, Valory and Smith. All five musicians looked and sounded like they wanted to be with each other on that stage and nowhere else. Smiles and laughs continually shot back and forth between the members, with Valory looking wide-eyed at Schon and Smith as they silently counted one arrangement’s shift in direction.

    The quintet’s sound was loud and the performances were rehearsed, but not overly rehearsed. The rust-free appearance never backslid into autopilot. Smith’s unique drumming took on a jazz flavor on the softer parts and moments of mid-level intensity, while Smith slipped up-gear for a more aggressive attack during the evening’s grittiest segments. “Be Good to Yourself,” a solid studio take from Journey’s 1986 LP, “Raised on Radio,” came to larger, better life inside the AMP, gaining an urgency and seeing Pineda frequently hurl through the air with Spider-Man-esque ability.

    Critics’ frequent target of comparisons to his predecessor, long-time vocalist Steve Perry, Pineda, like he did in 2009 at Tulsa’s BOK
    Center, made the night’s vocal lines his own. Possessing a voice similar in tone and power to Perry, Pineda would alter a melody line or change a spot of the vocal timing here and there, but these few side roads never detracted from Journey’s inspired wall of sound.

    Alongside such must-play numbers “Who’s Cryin’ Now,” “Faithfully,” “Wheel in the Sky,” “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Lights” came hungry takes of “La Do Da,” “Escape” and “Line of Fire,” proving that Journey could rock as hard and convincingly as any other non-heavy metal band. “Stone in Love” and “Only the Young” revealed Cain’s rhythm-guitar powers, while Schon tipped his denim ballcap to military veterans and current soldiers with a moving, six-string take of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

    Smith’s drum solo also took charge of everyone’s attention, showcasing the stick-holder’s fluid abilities and impeccable knack for
    creating and maintaining various rhythms. Smith’s sticks became white-colored blurs as they tapped and smashed into a bed of cymbals and tom heads. It was a rare moment when virtually everyone watched instead of seeking the concession stands.

    Also summoning emotions from the audience were The Doobie Brothers, who gave an equally muscular set. Opening their slot was a chugging take of “Jesus Is Just Alright,” which was followed by splendid readings of “Black Water,” “China Grove,” “The Doctor,” “Listen to the Music” and “Rollin’ Down the Highway.” The voices of guitarist Tommy Johnston, guitarist Patrick Simmons and bassist John Cowan were peerless, both as stand-alone voices and as harmony parts.

    For the always-outstanding “Takin’ It to the Streets,” Simmons and Cowan shared lead-vocal duties that were originally handled by departed Doobie member Michael McDonald. Cowan’s bass dug low in register for half of the song, while Cowan’s flexible fingers climbed high on his bass neck for higher notes usually reserved for guitar.

    Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason kicked off the cool, breezy evening with a lively version of “Only You Know and I Know.” Unlike some of his acoustic-based gigs back in 2011, Mason played a wealth of lead guitar in Rogers. He made his Fender Stratocaster holler and bark on “All Along the Watch Tower” (Mason played on Jimi Hendrix’s studio original), and Mason’s guitar hit countless melodic moments for “We Just Disagree” and a slightly funky incarnation of Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy.”

    Not surprisingly, the concert pulled in a multi-generational army of supporters whose uniforms were dark-colored tour shirts that stretched back to Journey’s 1979 tour. One young individual held up a large, white-colored sign near at the mid-point in Journey’s set. Reading “I’m 17 and I prefer Journey over Bieber,” the sign made Valory’s eyebrows raise and smile widen. Pineda, still singing in mid-verse, also smiled and pointed to the sign.

    For this writer, not only was the Rogers gig the best Journey, Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason looked and sounded in eons, but the triple bill runs the risk of being the best concert the Walmart AMP has hosted to date.


    Journey draws in monster crowd of classic rock believers for Arkansas Music Pavilion show
    By Kevin Kinder
    June 1, 2016

    We know the name of the theme of Tuesday night’s concert by Journey, the Doobie Brothers and Dave Mason at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers.

    We knew the name before the first note of the sold-out show was played. We knew what would happen, and we knew to save some of our vocal chords for the finale.

    We’re talking about “Don’t Stop Believin’,” the power ballad of all power ballads, the engine that motivates an entire legion of fans and perhaps the band itself.

    Because, what else better summarizes the Journey live experience, a relatively modest onstage production with outsized results? Any search for answers takes us right back to where we started – “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

    Few songs have enjoyed a second (or third or fourth) trip through the spotlight as strongly or pervasively as the band’s 1981 hit. It charted upon its release, then resurfaced on the charts in the last decade courtesy of prominent roles in several pop culture staples almost simultaneously. The song closed out the final episode of “The Sopranos,” found new, younger fans via the TV musical series “Glee” and also served as the finale for the Broadway-turned-big screen musical “Rock of
    Ages.” We’re not talking about a song here, we’re talking about a cultural phenomenon.

    For better or worse, the AMP has a decade-long history of bringing classic rock acts to Northwest Arkansas. But recent larger-scale productions from artists such as Chicago or the Steve Miller Band did not match the reaction to Journey. Those shows in particular were well attended. But they certainly weren’t sold out weeks in advance like Journey was. And they don’t often fill arenas, like Journey did a few nights ago in Kansas City, Missouri.

    “Don’t Stop Believin’” is also the tale of the band’s new frontman, Arnel Pineda. The pint-sized dynamo performed in a classic rock cover band in his native Philippines until members of Journey found a clip of him on YouTube and whisked him away for audition, then an international tour. That kind of rags to riches tale rarely happens, especially so swiftly, but it can if you keep believing. (Sorry for that one.)

    Pineda is the spark plug for Journey, whirling around on the stage, jumping in the air and changing costumes. The remaining members of Journey are surprisingly intact from their 1980s heyday. The current band is basically everyone you heard in 1981 minus vocalist Steve Perry. Pineda is a pretty good facsimile of Perry, vocally speaking. Of particular note from the band is Neal Schon, founding guitarist and songwriter. His guitar tone, generated primarily from a black Les Paul,
    has to be one of the cleanest and most pure sounds in rock ‘n’ roll.

    I could go through the setlist line by line, but that’s not what you came to this review to read. It’s not what the crowd came to the AMP to see, either. They came to hear the monster hits, particularly “Don’t Stop Believin.’” The difference between the reactions to lesser known songs and radio hits such as “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Lights” was tremendous. The crowd obliged during album cuts. They sang their heart out on the big hits.

  • PAT

    From youtube
    Provider: Sydney Alise

    Separate Ways

    • twinrockers

      I like his writing style. He’s also romantic and funny. On his fb: “Second, as an unfortunate event proved tonight, one that will haunt my soul for the rest of my life, no matter how sexy you may have once been, short skirts and Depends undergarments do not mix.”

  • Arkansas Music Pavilion Don’t Stop Believin! The Walmart AMP is taking us on a #Journey tonight!