Journey 2023 Freedom Tour

Story posted March 6, 2023 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by McKenna Wall

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — There were no disappointments with Journey’s live performance, but there was a surprise.

Happy Valley was hopping on Friday, March 3, as drenched patrons packed the Bryce Jordan Center for Journey’s 2023 Freedom Tour with TOTO.

Arnel Pineda, who has been with Journey for 15 years, brought the energy. He was running, jumping, spinning and kicking on every square inch of the stage, leaving him (and the audience) breathless at times.

Pineda’s vocals during “Lights” were just plain spectacular. It was easy to pretend Steve Perry, Journey’s popular lead vocalist from 1977-1987, was the one singing.

The surprise came early in their performance. “Don’t Stop Believin’’” was third on the set list, and many spectators appeared to be happily caught off guard.

It seemed like an unconventional decision to play a huge hit at a random time. However, as the concert continued, each song was hit after hit.

Journey has accumulated enough popular songs that it did not matter the order they were played in. It was unlike a lot of concerts, which are stacked from least to most popular songs.

Neal Schon played with power, delivering guitar solos that were enchanting and chaotic. Schon played a Gibson Les Paul, and shredded an “Amazing Grace” cover in the middle of his second solo.

Schon filled the arena during songs like “Stone in Love” and “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” with a crisp sound.

Jonathan Cain on piano, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2017, had electricity in his fingertips.

Cain performed an outstanding solo halfway through the show that left spectators with their jaws on the floor. Each note carried the crowd into a state of awe.

The glossy, red piano he was playing became more than an instrument; it was an extension of Cain himself.

His solo led to “Open Arms” and “Faithfully” performances back-to-back

Cain said that “Faithfully” was written on a late-night bus ride. He said it is a song to honor those we miss.

“We pay a price for the road life we have lived,” Cain said.

Although the tour’s title says “very special guest TOTO,” the concert was not a collaboration. TOTO played for an hour to get the evening started, similar to an opening act.

TOTO’s performance was stellar. Steve Lukather, who rocked a Doc Brown hairstyle, was jamming like it was 1985.

Joseph Williams, lead vocalist, said that Lukather is the greatest in AI technology because his guitar skills are not human.

Aside from the musical performances, the production of the concert added to the fan experience. In particular, the lighting design was breathtaking and on cue with every major moment, leaving viewers wide-eyed in glee.

McKenna Wall is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email