Journey Lets “Freedom” Ring At The Amway Center In Orlando Florida, 04/21/22

 

 

Journey’s Freedom Tour has kicked off in high gear and tonight’s stop was the Amway Center in Orlando Florida. This show held special meaning for me. I attended my very first concert on October 22,1981 and to my good fortune it was Journey on their Escape Tour. Years have passed and the lineup has changed but I was still looking forward to hearing the songs that got me hooked on concerts oh so long ago. A bonus was that I was going to see Toto too (ignore the bad Wizard of Oz pun). I grew up listening to both of these bands and they were a strong influence on my love for music. 

 

After navigating a labyrinth of traffic, road closures and a clogged parking garage, I finally made my way to the Amway Center. This was my first time covering a concert here and I was curious as to what the night would bring. I waited in a media room along with the other photographers until 10 minutes before the start of the show. At 7:30 we were ushered through the packed arena to the soundboard where we were told we would have to position ourselves in 2 single file lines. This was going to be a challenge.

 

 

Rock icons Toto have been thriving in the music industry for 45 years and have sold more than 40 million albums. The number of musical projects that the band’s members have been involved in is staggering. They have appeared on 5000 albums and have garnered 225 Grammy nominations. 

Toto made their appearance at exactly 7:40 and it was a sight to see. The band travels with 7 members that occupy the entire stage. The set started off with the 2015 hit “Orphan” which was followed up by the mega-hit “Hold The Line.” The band sounded great, and everyone looked like they were having a blast. Vocalist Joseph Williams and Guitarist Steve Lukather took turns swapping sides of the stage while the fans sang along to all their favorites. The band even played their cover of The Beatles’With A Little Help From My Friends” which they released in June of last year. “Pamela” and “Rosanna” also graced the setlist much to the delight of those in attendance. It’s no surprise that the guys closed things out with “Africa.” I don’t think I know anyone that hasn’t heard that song and it easily transcends years and even decades. Toto was the perfect choice to accompany Journey on this tour and there are plenty of dates yet to see them live.

 

Toto:

Steve Lukather: Guitars, Vocals, Bass, Piano

David Paich (Non-Touring): Keyboards, Synthesizers, Vocals

Joseph Williams: Lead Vocals

Warren Ham: Saxophone, Harmonica, Vocals

Dominique “Xavier” Taplin: Keyboards, Backing Vocals

John Pierce: Bass

Steve Maggiora: Keyboards, Vocals

Robert “Sput” Searight: Drums

 

 

 

 

At 9:05 the house lights went out and the stage emitted a blue glow as an aerial cityscape flashed across the large backdrop. Journey’s Founding member and guitarist Neal Schon led the band in an enchanting intro before vocalist Arnel Pineda sprinted onto the stage and went right into “Only The Young” which was featured in the 1985 movie Vision Quest. There was no break in the action as the hit parade was rolling on in full force. “Stone In Love” had the crowd rockin’ and just when you thought it couldn’t get louder the band charged ahead with the blockbuster anthem “Don’t Stop Believein‘. To see Schon and Jonathan Cain playing with the same passion and enthusiasm as they had when I saw them years ago was nothing short of amazing. 

 

 

Drummer Deen Castronovo has been with the band for nearly 20 years and was ferocious throughout the night. He also got the spotlight as he sang lead on “Mother, Father“, a powerful ballad from the ever-popular Escape album.  Jonathan Cain was a busy man, alternating between the guitar and the piano/keyboards. A few simple notes ventured right into “Faithfully” and the crowd erupted. Pineda took this opportunity to really shine. He has one of the most difficult jobs because he is constantly being compared to former vocalist Steve Perry. I’m a huge Steve Perry fan but Pineda is a fantastic vocalist who brings a ton of energy and charisma to this band. 

 

Both Schon and Cain had solos that really showcased their talents. The band ended the night with the fan favorite “Any Way You Want It” but I’m pretty sure no one wanted to leave.  The almost 2-hour, 19-song set was power-packed and evoked a range of emotions throughout the crowd. With the way the world is now I’m guessing that many of the fans were looking for an “Escape” (pun intended) back to an era where life seemed so simple and fun. Big thanks to Journey and Toto for taking us on that ride.

 

Journey:

Neal Schon: Guitars, Vocals

Jonathan Cain: Keyboards. Rhythm Guitar, Vocals

Deen Castronovo: Drums; Vocals

Arnel Pineda: Lead Vocals

Todd Jensen: Bass

Jason Derlatka: Keyboards, Vocals

 

 

 

Setlist:

1.Only The Young

2.Stone In Love

3.Don’t Stop Believin’

4.Lights

5.Send Her My Love

6.Escape

7.Dead Or Alive

8.Who’s Crying Now

9.Mother, Father

10.Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’

11.Jonathan Cain Piano Solo

12.Open Arms

13.Faithfully

14.Suzanna

15.Neal Schon Guitar Solo

16.Wheel In The Sky

17.Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)

18.Be Good To Yourself

19.Any Way You Want It

 

 

 

 

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I've had a love for photography since I was young. Whether it was a Polaroid or a Kodak 110, I was always the kid with the camera. My love of music goes back even further. Nothing beats being at a show when those lights go down and the crowd goes nuts.

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