[LIVE REVIEW] JOURNEY & WHITESNAKE, ARENA, MANCHESTER

journeyDate: 23 May 2013
Venue: Manchester Arena

With two huge names from Rock & Roll’s past on tour together, they have no struggle in selling huge amounts of tickets and filling venues around the UK. Journey‘s biggest song Don’t Stop Believin’ having a resurgence in recent years, due to the Glee effect (that is the ‘technical’ name for it). With an older band, you get a older crowd and the arena is full of mainly older rockers trying to relive their heyday; but why not? The 80s scene is the definition of fun and 35 years after Whitesnake started their Journey, fans will be looking for some more of that fun they gave them in the past!

In true Whitesnake style, the stage is packed with Marshall amps and as they appear on stage to Give Me All Your Love, the crowd clap and sing along, even if it is a little lackluster! They push things on with Ready and Willing as David Coverdale swings his mic stand around like he is still 20! They play a set that boasts classics such as Don’t Break My Heart Again and Is This Love, the latter of which shows the vocal weaknesses as the song is a little more stripped back than some of their other riff heavy tracks. This doesn’t stop the ladies in the crowd getting excited though! Through all of the classics, there is the notable absence of Love Ain’t No Stranger, which is disappointing to say the least. The atmosphere in the arena is non-existent through the majority of the set, perhaps because the whole venue being seated for tonight. An option that a majority of the crowd choose to take, which just seems strange! Mid set all the members get introduced and get to take centre stage with their instruments for a short time. This works well for the highly talented musicians but this gets boring fast and make feel you have heard it all before. Drummer Tommy Aldridge throws his sticks in to the crowd mid solo, only to continue with his hands, interesting idea, but this proves that drums sound better with sticks! Here I Go Again gets their biggest sing along, which is no surprise, but something seems missing from the song and it doesn’t come off as well as you would hope.

The stage show is stepped up for Journey, with more screens and lights added to the stage. The lights go out a few minutes before Journey appear and there is little anticipation around the huge room. They pop up from nowhere and many people didn’t seem to notice them at first as the sound was very low! They were there though and they were playing Separate Ways, a great song, it is a shame it couldn’t have had more of an impact! They follow this up with three more classics, Any Way You Want It, Ask The Lonely and Only The Young. Arnel Pineda‘s vocals are quality and as the youngest member of the band by some way, he brings the most energy to the stage! He tries to get the crowd involved with some clapping, but this seems to fall on deaf ears as only small pockets of people do as they are told! Deen Castronovo on drums takes over singing duty for a track and has a top-notch voice, but with no frontman on stage, once again this separate the fans from the band, the last thing Journey needed in this set! As their set pushes on, there are a growing number of fans walking out of the arena, never a good sign but some people just seem a little fed up! This feeling is no surprise, there is hardly any crowd interaction and the whole experience is a little passive. Journey slow the set down with Faithfully, there is marked improvement in the volume by this time and this provides the highlight of the set with an emotion filled vocal! No prize for guessing what song they close their set with… Don’t Stop Believin’ should be a huge, anthemic sing along. Tonight that is not the case, people are singing but it doesn’t begin to reach the potential of such an amazing song! Confetti cannons explode as the song ends, but who really cares?

2/5 – Whitesnake give a riff laden set but lack enthusiasm through most of their time on stage! Everything seems a little routine and after a decent start, slip in to a mid set lull that even Here I Go Again struggles to break! Journey seem like victims of their own success, they can still fill venues, even when charging a fairly steep price, with tickets coming in around £50! However, just as Whitesnake before them it seems like they have a plan and they stick to it strictly night after night, which makes the set seem stale. Their overall lack of enthusiasm, energy and interaction with the fans means they fail to engage the crowd and get a muted response to even their biggest hits! There is no doubting that Journey can play well and Arnel Pineda vocals are at times incredible but even that isn’t enough to carry their performance. Quite frankly it is dull.

1 comment

  1. Mark Castle

    I mainly went for Thunder and Whitesnake. I do like Journey but I am not a huge fan as I am with the others. Saying this however, I felt that Journey or at least Arnel, really impressed me. Arnel made the effort to look at his audience, as did Coverdale. I was sat right at the top to to the left hand of the stage, and both Arnel and Coverdale acknowledged everyone in every seat when singing.

    Thunder and Whitesnake were phenomenal. Thunders sound mixing was spot on. All the gigs I have been too, usually the drums are far too high in the mix, or something else is drowning out something else, however Thunder got this spot on. Danny really got the audience going, and the whole set was fantastic.

    The mixing for Whitesnake wasn’t 100% as some of Coverdales vocals were drowned out, however knowing all the songs, i had no worries knowing what he was singing.

    This has been the best gig I have ever been too, I hope Whitesnake continue writing and touring , and that Thunder return for good.

    If Journey had more soul , then I would also see them live again, however only Arnel made me take notice.

Leave a Reply