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Journey: The Star Theatre, Singapore

20th February 2017

mark taylor
Words and pictures: Mark Taylor


AOR legends Journey came to Singapore for only their second ever concert in this tantalising city of skyscrapers and scorching heat.

The Star Theatre is a mammoth imposing building built for the New Creation Church and it's so high it almost touches Heaven itself, although the casual tourist could be forgiven for thinking it has just been left behind from a Star Wars movie set.

There are four plush floors of shops and restaurants and the music venue itself is on the fifth floor, a massive 5,000-capacity purpose built seating venue.


Despite only being in the band for a decade now, Filipino born vocalist Arnel Pineda is a star himself in South East Asia and has fitted into the glove of the American superstars with ease. He can effortlessly sing these melodic rock anthems made famous by the soulful voice of Steve Perry, in fact it's easy to forget that Pineda is actually the third singer Journey have had since Perry semi-retired with his predecessors Steve Augeri and Jeff Scott Soto now almost eradicated from Journey's history.

The pint size singer with the big voice bounces away like a kid on a trampoline making the most of the large stage as Journey storm into opener 'Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)'.


In fact Pineda has the most challenging job in Journey now that drummer Steve Smith has made a welcome return to the band meaning that four-fifths of the classic line-up that made 81's 'Escape' and 'Frontiers' from two years later are reunited.

It's no surprise that the bulk of the set is made up from those two albums, and sadly the two albums that Arnel Pineda has made with Journey, namely 'Revelation' from 2008 and the more recent 'Eclipse' from 2011 both shamefully get overlooked, but with such a golden catalogue of absolute treasures it's no surprise that the majority of the crowd want to hear the hits.


Guitarist Neal Schon is on stunning form all evening melting out solos like his life depends on it and slipping into a variant of 'Stone In Love' before going into this glorious number in its proper manner.

Phones are high aloft with LED screens shining in the air for a marvellous version of 'Lights' while Jonathan Cain teases with 'Send Her My Love' during his piano solo and spends half the show with a guitar himself. His piano solo leads beautifully into the power ballads 'Open Arms' and the smooth 'Who's Crying Now'.


One surprise came when Arnel Pineda had a rest allowing sixth touring member Travis Thibodaux to come out from under the darkness behind his keyboard to sing his lungs out on a jaw dropping version of 'After The Fall'.

More power ballads came with the soaring 'Faithfully' and the inevitable glee of 'Don't Stop Believin'' which had everyone out of their seats and for the encore Neal Schon choses a connoisseur cut, 'La Raza del Sol', a b-side from the 'Escape' sessions where the band spontaneously jam in their unique jazz fusion style incorporated from Schon's time and again more recently with Santana where Journey prove what virtuoso musicians they are.


Riding out with an arm waving 'Lovin', Touchin',Squeezin', Journey could have played all night without any complaints.

The pinnacle melodic rock band expressed their worth to the Singaporeans with majestic ease.


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Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
Be Good To Yourself
Only The Young
Neal Schon Guitar Solo
Stone In Love
Any Way You Want It
Jonathan Cain Piano Solo
Open Arms
Who's Crying Now
After The Fall
Chain Reaction
La Do Da
Steve Smith Drum Solo
Wheel In The Sky
Don't Stop Believin'

La Raza del Sol
Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'




Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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