Journey – Escape & Frontiers – Live In Japan 2019

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Journey…Budokan…Escape…Frontiers! Let’s rephrase that a little bit, shall we? The most important AOR band of all time…the most prestigious (and holy) venue of the entire Asia…two monumental albums that have left a permanent mark on the musical landscape. I am pretty certain that nobody could argue otherwise in regards with those characterizations. For God’s sake, even the most fanatical “enemies” of the melodic rock sound are fully aware of Journey’s impact and I know for a fact that they wholeheartedly (and secretly) enjoy a couple of their tunes.

That being said, I don’t think that there is a even a shadow of a doubt whether or not someone should buy this album. The answer is an emphatic “yes”! Journey’s classic line-up –with the exception of their legendary frontman- is on the forefront, armed and ready with the sole aim of presenting back to back those classic records that were initially released more than 35 years ago (1981 and 1983 to be exact). Thse albums change the course of the American FM radio and the course of Journey’s career. The live performance is of course flawless…well, almost flawless as Steve Perry is really missing. Arnel Pineda is doing a hell of a job but the truth remains: only Steve Perry can uplift and really do justice to those immortal tunes. This is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth…so help me God (Steve Perry)! Naturally, Neal Schon is doing a phenomenal guitar work and delivers some of his most flamboyant solos (especially on “Who’s Crying Now”, “Keep on Runnin’” and “Separate Ways”) while Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory and Steve Smith are absolutely impeccable! After all such musicians don’t need special references.

For this editor “Raised On Radio” will always be his favorite Journey album (and favorite AOR album in general) but he would be a fool if he didn’t acknowledge the importance of “Escape” and “Frontiers”. These two albums will always be the essence of the AOR genre. Period.

Highlight: The two surprises in the encore included “La Raza Del Sol” and “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’”.