By RUBEN MOSQUEDA // ‘Live In Manila’ is a fantastic set that features all the hits and then some.
Chances are if you’re a AOR or classic rock fan that you’ve caught Journey ‘Live In Manila’ at some point on TV on [the now defunct] VH-1 Classic or [the also defunct] Padilla or perhaps you own it. Originally issued as a two DVD set was being sold exclusively at Wal-Mart in North America. The 2009 performance marked Arnel Pineda’s return to The Philippines fronting Journey.
A quick back story on Pineda; he fronted a Journey tribute band and was discovered online when the band was looking for a replacement for [their second singer] Steve Augeri. Pineda’s story is a cross between ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Rockstar;’ you can’t help but feel happy for the guy about landing the prestigious gig. Pinda has a closer register to classic Steve Perry than Steve Augeri or than [transition singer] Jeff Scott Soto had.
Though clearly the band had been together as a collective unit for a short time; there’s an incredible amount of chemistry amongst the band and singer. Journey had released their first record with Pinda in 2008 titled ‘Revelation.’ Bassist Ross Valroy and [now former] drummer Deen Castronovo are one of the best rhythm sections in the genre, and compliment keyboardist Jonathan Cain and guitarist Neal Schon’s work. I can’t emphasize to you enough how magnificent of a guitarist Schon is. Watch this and you’ll agree.
‘Live In Manila’ is a fantastic set that features all the hits and then some. The show is a bit longer than the typical Journey set, but it’s Pineda’s return home. You’d expect the band to extend the show a little bit. If you missed ‘Live In Manila’ the first time around pick up the Blu Ray or the DVD with two audio discs. This time they did it right.