Reviews & Spotlights
Neal Schon: Journey Through Time
No doubt there's been a lot of talk about the present and future of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Journey in 2023 as they wrap up the current leg of their 50th anniversary tour. The click-centric media today seems more interested in discussing their legal woes and ongoing court filings than the impressively packed arenas and world class performances emanating from the stages on their latest outing. If only we had a way to go to back to slightly simpler times before the decades took their toll on this certifiable classic rock band. Well - thanks to Journey's founder and guitarist side project called "Journey Through Time" due out on May 19, 2023 via Frontiers Records - there is.
Step into the time machine and our first destination is 2018 when on February 9 a unique group gathered at The Independent in San Francisco, California as Schon debuted Journey Through Time along with two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and former Journey and Santana bandmate, Gregg Rolie. Joining Schon and Rolie were current Journey member Deen Castronovo on vocals and drums, Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake) on bass, and John Varn on keyboards and vocals. Performing to a sold out crowd for a benefit show to raise money for victims of the fires that had ravaged the North Bay area of the San Francisco region in October 2017.
Next, set the controls way back to 1975 when the first of three records by the progressive and jam-oriented Journey are released. These albums feature some great tracks but in all honesty they are the mostly unloved bastard-orphans overlooked and outshone in the bright light that monstrous commercial success would bring when singer Steve Perry joined the fold a little later in the decade. But, these tracks have their followers and the loudest and most audible gasps from the crowd were saved for the moments when songs like "Kohoutek" and "Of A Lifetime" got underway. This is significant proof that the crowd on hand could not believe what they were witnessing especially since the modern version of the band never strays that far back into its recorded history in a live setting.
Speaking of the modern version of the group - they are fairly represented here as well as their drummer Deen Castronovo handles the vocals confidently and competently in a way that makes you wonder why they ever had to look to YouTube to find a new singer in the first place. When teaming up with original frontman Greg Rolie on the duets and fan favorites "Feelin' That Way" and "Anytime" the results are as good as it gets. Rolie also gives a nod to his and Schon's first job together in Santana by closing out the nearly three hour long exploration with the hits "Black Magic Woman" and "Oye Como Va".
This first album from the collective known as JTT is a timeless, exhilarating set by masterful musicians and one that's been worth the wait. What comes next for Journey or Journey Through Time is anyone's guess. We don't have a way to look into the future but if the past is any example you can bet the dial will be set to make more quality tracks for inclusion in their time capsule worthy catalogue of content. As the saying goes, time heals all wounds. So there's still time left to get this whole thing sorted before the clock runs out.
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Review by Rockin' Rich Lynch |
Neal Schon's Journey Through Time