Concert review - Journey in Birmingham with Foreigner & Styx

There will have been plenty of melodic rock fans pinching themselves at the LG Arena last to make sure they were not dreaming.

Journey, Foreigner & Styx

LG Arena, Birmingham

Concert review and photos by Ian Harvey

There will have been plenty of melodic rock fans pinching themselves at the LG Arena last to make sure they were not dreaming.

Could this really be three giants of the American AOR scene on stage in front of them, three bands that pretty much define the very meaning of melodic rock?

Click on the image top right to start our concert photo gallery

Well, yes it could. And it was a night that proved that if you, ahem, don't stop believing, dreams really can come true.

First off were Styx, with Tommy Shaw and James JY Young leading proceedings as they powered their way through a criminally short set which still packed a mighty punch.

Miss America, Come Sail Away and Renegade were stand-out moments, with the absence of their sickly sweet ballad Babe the only thing thing that might have had all but the die-hards scratching their heads. In truth it hasn't been a part of Styx's set for some time and was not missed.

Foreigner singer Kelly Hansen took total command of the LG Arena as he bounced on to the stage. He is truly an inspired replacement for original singer Lou Gramm, possessing a mighty set of pipes as well as an utterly infectious stage presence, the perfect foil for the group's uber cool leader and guitarist, the English-born Mick Jones. Hansen even found time for a walkabout into the crowd.

As well as the rapturously-received ballads I Want To Know What Love Is and Waiting For A Girl Like You, Foreigner proved they could rock out too, with Feels Like The First Time, Hot Blooded and Juke Box Hero hitting the mark.

Talking of heroes, Journey have a new one. Their Phillipines-born singer Arnel Pineda has clearly grown into his role over the past four years and was on a mission to win hearts and minds as he led the band through possibly the greatest back-catalogue in melodic rock.

While lead guitarist Neal Schon is the beating heart of the band, Pineda brings along a youthful vitality and enthusiasm, a non-stop energy and a voice that is as near as is humanly possible a perfect replacement for Journey's much-missed singer Steve Perry.

Kicking things off with Jonathan Cain's keyboard intro to Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), Journey raised the roof with both singles and fan favourites, from the ballads Open Arms and Faithfully, to Stone In Love, Lights and Wheel In The Sky. Drummer Deen Castronovo impressed as ever when he took over on lead vocals for a spine tingling Mother, Father.

Three tracks from the band's new album Eclipse, were aired, with the single City Of Hope - dedicated to Pineda's hometown of Manilla - showing that Journey have not lost the knack of crafting a perfect and uplifting, melodic rock gem.

Of course, while the night was about more than just one song, when that song did arrive it almost lifted the roof of the arena out of sight. It's easy to forget that the chorus of Don't Stop Believin' only appears at the very end of the song after a mighty long tease. Post Glee it was time for Journey - and their fans - to reclaim melodic rock's greatest classic, and both did so in magnificent style.

After the last song of the main set, Anyway You Want It, Journey returned for their traditional encore, Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin', and a chance for the fans to sing themselves hoarse one last time.

Hopefully any fans who think last night's concert was just a dream have this review to prove that it really did happen. And then some.

Music photography by Ian Harvey/RocktasticPix

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Comments for: "Concert review - Journey in Birmingham with Foreigner & Styx"

Al

Incredible night for the entire audience. Arnel won me over big style. I still hankering for a bit of Perry but I have to admit my vote goes to the energetic Arnel. What a set of pipes. Great review and top images. Cheers.

Monday Morning Blues

Actually, I felt a little disappointed. The sound was awful, particularly for Journey. Their sound mixer needs to get a new job - way TOO loud, most of it was just white noise, everything lost in the mix, drowing out the vocals. Foreigner & Styx faired slightly better, the latter being the best of the 3 in my opinion. A pleasant surprise.

Richard Adams

I must agree. I thought Styx and Foreigner were out of this world but the sound mixing for Journey was really poor. I am all for loud music but this was just a bad mix and it seemed to lose the crowd a little because of it. You can do loud without the lack of quality. But the guitar was too loud and the incredible voice was lost on many songs. Having said that it was the one minor issue in what must be one of the best rock gigs I've ever been to and reading back this comment makes me sound old!

Angie

We noticed that there was a glitch in the sound a few songs into Journey's performance, like everything stopped for a split second, and after that it sounded worse. Yes, I too thought it was way too loud and totally spoiled it for me.

SalisburyDan

Yes you are spot on, the same at Wembley the night before, the sound mixer for Journey should be sacked it was terrible and far too loud, foreigner was a little better and Styx were pretty good for sound !

PM

I agree with the last comment. Journey's vocals were drowned out by the guitars, which was a shame, because I really wanted to hear Arnel sing. He proved he had the pipes when he sang a capella on the slow songs. Foreigner stole the show. They had everyone moving from the first song to the last. Styx was a bit of a let down, but I think the crowd wasn't into it yet, which may have made things a little boring. If Styx and Foreigner would have switched spots, things may have been a little different. All in all, it was still a great time.

Ang Lichfield

Totally agree with the last few comments,

Arnel voice was drowned by the backing music, we too would have liked to hear more of his voice, agree Foreigner stole the show for us as well, but it was still a great night.

Paul

Totally agree with most comments, Foreigner stole the show, they were excellent, Styx were great too, too short a set for me. Journey`s sound really spoiled their act. We were in block B, about 25 rows from the front, centre of the stage, and the sound was dire, too loud, Arnel`s voice WAS drowned out by the Guitar work of Schon and the band, pity, he seems to have a fantastic voice. My Brother actually spoke to the sound mixer at the end of the concert about the quality of the sound where we were, mixer man said that he thought it was OK everywhere else. Seems not from the other comments.

Ian Harvey

It's interesting to read the comments about the sound quality, for Journey in particular.

My own experience last night was that the sound was superb throughout. After taking photos I watched Styx from the side of the stage and was amazed at how good the sound was even there.

In fact my one gripe would be that during Journey's set Neal Schon's guitar should have been turned UP . . . especially during the solos.

From my own experience and others' it does seem that the whole sound quality experience at the LG Arena depends entirely where you are sat (or standing!).

Last night I was lucky to be (most definitely) standing near the front in Block B. I was further back than that for Rush a couple of weeks ago and still it sounded fine to me although others complained about a terrible sound mix.

The "white noise" issue interests me. I get none of that and I'm beginning to wonder if 33 years of gig-going has finally put paid to the higher register. A friend in his 20s said "white noise" was a real issue at Rush.

I fear it's the nature of these big arenas that there are going to be hot and cold spots regarding sound quality, especially up in the rafters.

I'd be interested to learn a little about the science of that. Is it a problem with arenas in general or the LG Arena in particular? Any sound engineers out there?

As for Foreigner, anyone who has seen them before knows what to expect - for first timers they are a revelation live. Kelly Hansen is up there with the GREAT front men . . . and I speak as someone who saw Freddie Mercury in his prime!

Andy L

Before taking the stage someone from Planet Rock stated that Styx and Foreigner (who were both outstanding) were going to be a hard act to follow, and i thought this proved the case.

Whilst i thorougly enjoyed the Journey set, at times they did appear to lose the audience whether it was due to the sound issue or due to the fact that quite alot of the crowd didnt seem that familer with all their work.

Also I was amazed at the number of people who were leaving early some upto 40 minutes before the end, we were in block A and with 20 mins to go the three rows around us were virtually empty.

I thought there were more than 3 songs played off the new album, which i expect them to plug,but having only being released for a week, it maybe that is why there may have been many in the crowd who hadnt heard it.

(must admit i had purchased the album as i dont like to attend a gig without having heard the new material)

All in all though a great night for American Rock Fans

Simon T

Not sure I agree with the Journey sound-knocking - as one of the latter respondents says, it probably depends on where you are sitting/standing.

For me, Styx made a cracking start and they were every bit as polished as I remember way back when they toured The Grand Illusion at The Birmingham Hippodrome in the late 70's.

I love Foreigners' dad-rock and with a back catalogue like theirs, the audience response was probably predictable; 40 and 50 - something mums and dads squeezing into innapropriate clothes, leaving the kids at home (well, they're probably in their twenties and wouldn't want to go) and enjoying a blast of nostalgia.

I thought Journey just took the night on points and a sizeable portion of the audience (who stood throughout) seemed to agree - there were notable groups of people who started to leave before the end of the set (particularly after THAT song) but Journey heven't toured extensively in the UK and have not enjoyed the single success or radio play.

Some folks who came to the gig with me thought that Foreigner were the best last night, but I suspect that their familiarity with their material may have been a major factor.

All in all, a great night!

Jon

I agree with many comments posted.

I went to the gig looking forward to hearing all 3 bands and really enjoyed Styx (one of the best live bands around and amazing harmony vocals) and Foreigner who certainly delivered with class. For me, Journey were a bit of an anti-climax. Sound mix was very poor. Neal Schon likes the sound of his own guitar too much and must have had his amp on 11. Why the need for extended guitar solos in every song? Most of the solos sounded the same and there were a few times when the band looked a bit lost and awkward.

My perfect night? Every band had 1 hour set times- giving more stage time to the brilliant and underrated Styx and a more condensed and polished set from Journey.

Jon

Oh, before I forget. Why no Who's crying now? by Journey. Surely their 2nd most well known UK hit?????

Ian Harvey

They quite often don't play Who's Crying Now. Although it's considered by many to be Neal Schon's "signature" guitar solo, they have said in the past that they feel tied down by having to play it.

Keith Reeves

Yes I noticed the absence of Who's Crying Now which was a shame. As for some of the criticism, I don't think there were too many songs from Eclipse, after all it is the Eclipse tour, the sound was not an issue for me, Block 13 Row YE the sound was OK. It is as some have alluded to very much a case of where you are in the LG Arena. I did wonder though whether concerts on consecutive days gives them enough time to get it right at a strange venue. Either way I had a great time.

Rich J

Great overall show, thought Styx and Foerigner were fantastic and Journey in my view were hard pressed to compete. Styx just as good as when I first saw them over 30 years ago, they should have had longer.

Foreigner stole the show, Kelly Hansen was great, they were fantastic at last year's high voltage and this show maintained that standard and more. Shame they are not touring alone.

Once these two had finished we felt that Journey had a lot to live up to. Must admit not a big Journey fan and to preferring Styx and Foreginer. Journey were not helped by the volume being ramped up for them, which distorted the sound and we were near the front of block 16. We both left very early in their set, probably reflecting that in our view the best acts had already played.

All in all a great night.

Steve

Following on from my brother's post above, what I don't understand is why we got great sound quality for Styx and Foreigner but it all then went wrong for the Journey set. So, I don't think it can be down to the location within the LG Arena entirely because we didn't move between sets.

I totally agree that Journey lost the audience at points and I too spotted the early departure of lots of people before the end.

Overall it was still a good event but I do think something was awry with the Journey sound. The sound wasn't that great either at the NIA in 2007 but it was perfect at the Civic the following year.

Helen

I was going to make the same point, Steve - we've seen Journey several times, including the O2 in Dublin, and the Civic where we were row 2 ... so I know how good they can be! Sound quality was awful for Journey, Neal Schon's guitar sounded out of key, and we found it incredibly screechy.

I don't mind them playing their latest single, or even another one from their album, but I think most bands recognise that people come to gigs to hear the big anthems and well known ballads, and will not be familiar with things that haven't been released too long.

Arnel failed to engage the crowd because you couldn't understand what he was saying - whether this was an accent problem or a sound problem is debateable.

Julie Davis

Went to see concert at Wembley on Sat4th. Was very disappointed. Was expecting Styx to sing Babe, my all time favourite song, but they didnt. Foreigner were the best of the night, but I dont remember them being as "heavy" as they were. Couldnt wait for Journey, what a let down. Recognised 1 song out of the first 5 or 6, and decided we'd heard enough.Left arena with lots of others. Expected all the old classics. Too loud, sound terrible.Our whole block had stopped clapping and cheering. Dont think you can relace Steve Perry. Came home and listened to Journeys Greatest Hits, perfect!!I think a lot of people enjoyed it, but alot were disappointed.

Setta

Babe is one of the songs Styx have left behind with the exit of Dennis De Young. There was always tension in the band because of De Young's softer, balladic style as opposed to the hard rock preference of Shaw and Young, so they don't do it anymore.

Andy L

Unfortunately you will never hear this current styx line up play Babe.

It was written by the ex lead singer Dennis De Young as a personal tribute for his wife.

We still got to hear Lady instead!

Geoff

Styx and foreigner were great the sound was excellent,then journey come on and the sound was way way to loud,by the middle of the concert you could see lots leaving and I think thats why many left they lost the crowd as well and people around me lost intrest A real shame because if the sound was right I think journey would have stole the show I am afraid journey were big disapointment who ever decided to have it that loud should be shot.

Glenn

I love all 3 bands and saw all of them individualy several times during their heyday but I thought Styx were the best on the night, and that with a shorter set and virtually no stage effects. I'd love them now to do a theatre tour of their own

Foreigner we're also terrific, I've never seen Kelly Hanson before and he was excellent.

Journey, I enjoyed but frankly playing so many new songs, 5 I think, only a week after the new albums release was a misjudgment.

Few are familiar with them and frankly none are as good as the 'old stuff'.

And there were a few song choices I raised an eyebrow about as well, Deen Castronovo singing 'Mother, Father' instead of his fantastic version of 'Still They Ride' for one.

As a whole though, a fantastic night and great value.

Keith H

Regarding sound at last nights show.

I noticed STYX were using their own back line amplification...maybe with their gigging experience they knew better.

I was disappointed that STYX were treated like 2nd class citizens...45 min set (would have liked to seen more)...no 'back' screens...no cameras/projectors...limited lighting. It was difficult to see what was going on from the back of the arena...sound was good though.

Foreigner and Journey had all the gizmos...lazers...lighting...cameras...projectors...back screens......unfortunately useless sound quality.

BIGLEE

THIS IS THE 4TH TIME IVE SEEN JOURNEY SINCE 2006 AND I WAS REALLY DISSAPOINTED.

THEY WERE TOO LOUD WHICH REALLY SPOILED THE NIGHT.

AS FOR ARNEL WHAT A FANTASTIC SINGER BUT HE HAS BEEN PILING ON THE POUNDS SINCE MOVING TO AMERICA AND SWAPPING THE NOODLE FOR THE BURGER

Danny

I'm going to see the trio this Wednesday. Can't wait. But one thing i'm disappointed with is the fact Foreigner aren't playing Long, long way from home and Styx aren't playing Mr. Roboto.. Or so i've heard. Can anyone clarify this? Thanks

Welshy

I agree with a lot of the comments made here. Styx too short, Foreigner stole the show, Journey far, FAR TOO LOUD. And as for "mixer man said that he thought it was OK everywhere else" - he clearly wasn't sat by the exits at the end of Don't Stop Believin' - there were hundreds of people making for the cars. Such a shame that some people can't understand that loud music doesn't have to be deafening to be enjoyed.

Hartlee

Was looking forward to reading the reviews from Birmingham and was amazed at how accuratly these reviews covered the gig. Was unsure what to expect from Styx and Foreigner and only just made our seats for the start.

At block 16 half way up we had a great view of both stage and audience and i got the impression that Styx started to a great deal of apathy and curiosity. That was blown away within 5-10 minutes and you could almost feel and see the audience suddenly sit and wake up and realise what they were seeing and hearing, absolutley fantastic and in Sail Away and Lady two of the highlights of a incredible night.

Foreigner followed and again i was blown away by a set list which hit the audiece full in the face. It's been a long time since i saw the whole arena clapping and getting involved. Better than NEC the 4 tour ?, it really could have been.

The stage was set, the audiece ready, all it required was for Journey to lift the crown.

Whoops !!

Totally agree with the other reviews, way too loud with all the vocals having to be delivered at maximum volume just to have a chance of being heard, and that included the ballads, which was a waste because Arnel is a fantastic vocalist.

And surely Neal should take a lead from Mick Jones that less is more. It reall did feel like the Neal Schon Ego Show at times.

At no time did they grab the audience by the scruff of the neck like their compatriots, although i got the impression that the crowd were willing them to deliver what the wanted, which unfortunately never happened.

But even taking that into account, a night never to be forgotton.

Must go, it's been five minutes i feel another Neal solo coming on.

jim

Interesting comment. I had the fortune of seeing Kansas/Foreigner/Styx and separately Journey in Phoenix last year, and my comments were consistent with what has been stated here. Kansas was solid, Foreigner was incredible, and Styx was just ok... in fact, it felt like Foreigner rocked the aged crowd so much that everyone was worn out for bed by Styx. The Journey show was similar, Schon's guitar was WAY too loud, and it almost seemed like their PA was red-lined because the sound was not really clear, and this was outdoors. Its great to see all of these classic bands still rocking!

christine :D

absolutley amazing night .....Journey stole the show ...my fave band ever...Arnel is amazing !!! Even better than Steve Perry ... foreigner a big bonus :D THE BEST NIGHT EVER !!

pete

i agree with the above comments about the sound issue with journey. it seemed as if the vocalist was fighting a losing battle to make himself heard. as for foreigner they were amazing & should have had the longer slot. styx were very good too.

Dave Norman

I have to agree with most of the comments above regarding the sound quality for Journey's set. We were dead centre, block B, row X, about 22 rows from the front - exactly half way between stage and mix position. It SHOULD have been near perfect - but wasn't. Neal Schon's guitar level was WAY too loud - the rhythm level was about where you'd expect his solos to be, and the solo level was physically distorting my ears. I can still feel a dull compression 24 hours later. I have the advantage of being at the London Wembley gig the night before as a comparison, in a very similar position. It definitely wasn't the NEC, the sound balancing issues were the same at that venue. I am a major Journey fan, having seen them 8 times in the last 5 years, and at no other gigs was this a problem. I hate to say it, but one has to ask if Mr Schon in his position as elder statesman of the band has engineerded (excuse the pun !) this situation. The other knock on effects, apart from Arnel struggling to push over the top of the wall of High Frequency sound (and if they're not careful, in 3 - 5 years time they'll be looking for ANOTHER lead singer ... ), was that, again, both nights Ross Vallory's bass playing was virtually inaudible, plus the fact that on certain songs (Only the Young the most obvious) the pre recorded chorus backing vocals were pushed so far forward that they drowned out the on stage harmonies - I'm not making this up, a Computer screen loaded with Pro Tools, the industry standard Digital Audio Workstation was clearly visible at the mix position, and if you know what to look for, more times than can be explained by co-incidence, Ross and Jon had moved away from the mic before the BV,s had ended. Not knocking them, it is standard practice these days, and those are DAMN hard songs to sing .... especially on an 80 date tour !!! I agree that Styx and Foreigner stole the show last night, but it won't stop me being down the front on the next Journey tour. I just hope someone close to the Journey tour organisation picks this up and has a word with the engineer .....

Dave

What a refreshing change to read a review by somebody who appears to know what they're talking about :)

I agree with the majority here, as did the other 3 guys who went to this gig with me. We were sat on the tier to the left side of the stage and thought that Styx and Foreigner's sound was really good. But Journey's mix had too much treble and too much guitar - and I say that even though I am a guitarist myself - Schon did too much instead of keeping it simple. He was louder than anybody else in the band too.

I have seen Styx before when they gigged with Deep Purple about 4 years ago and they were fantastic then and were still value for money last night.

For me, Foreigner stole the show. Their lead singer has such an amazing voice and presence on stage.

Journey were good but were not helped by the distorted and thin sound and the extended guitar lead breaks. Arnel was amazing but was constantly competing with Schon's loud guitar.

All in all, a fantastic gig with a line up of 3 acts which is common in the States, but very rare over here.

Phil

Foreigner were for me the best part of the show.

Styx were comical. Twizzling Organ and guitarist, funny old rockers couldn't stop laughing never seen them before and havn't seen Spinal Tap, which came first? But still better than the music I came to hear.

Journey were awful way to loud distorted, painful and unenjoyable. Saw them in 2007 really enjoyed that night. There was no stage presence from the lead singer afraid to bump into Schon and he shied away from the big notes tried numerous times to get the crowd clapping with not much success. Totally unimpressed.

Every band went mad on crescendos half the concert must of been taken up by crescendos.

If you want to see American rock at it's best go see Alterbridge now Miles can sing.

Tim

I was only there for Foreigner & Journey but a brilliant gig nonetheless. Arnel's vocals were rather submerged I thought, which was surprising considering Foreigner sounded so clear.

Another 30mins from Journey would've sealed the night, maybe with some less obvious choices on the setlist - stuff from Revelation (as it's fresh) would've been nice.

Brad

Agree with most of the comments already made. Styx were always going to be my favorite but Kelly Hansen wins the prize for best front man on the night. I was 11 rows from the front and the sound quality was scary at times especially during Foreigner's "I want to know what love is". In the past 5 years I've rarely being to a show with such mixed sound quality. Anyway still loved the gig and three class acts.

John

We were about 20ft away from the mixer and the sound was dire for Journey, as an ex roadie this was probably the worst sound I have ever heard at any gig (and believe me I have been to many)the guy even turned the whole sound system off for a split second what was that all about!! They need to get someone else in fast for the remaining gigs or there will be many more disapointed people. As said above Foreigners sound and performance was the best of the night and not just due to the familiarity of the tracks and Styx were great too. As for Journey from what I could hear they might have been hitting the notes but with everything competing with the guitar it was very difficult to judge.

Rick

As a sound engineer for an English band in the 70s for whom Journey were the prefered support act, Sunday's performance was, for me, an interesting journey into the past. In those days most venues were smaller , giving rise to a tighter more immediate sound. Sunday's performance was dominated by a resonating bass, so much so that at times even the drums lacked drive and distinction. Many of the songs required the dynamics of light and shade to bring out the contrasting emotions of both words and music. However, despite the poor sound, the tremendous energy coming from the stage was proof that Journey are still a great band . Next time I would like to hear them in the Symphony Hall!

George The-JackEfs

One of the biggest disappointments ever! The sound really disrespected three of the greatest bands ever. A night that I will surely forget very soon.....Sorry to say. We travelled all the way from Greece to see our favourite bands being humiliated! That's at least what I got. If this was a night to remember for some of you, then maybe we live in a parallel universe...

Grace Dombraki

@ George The Jack-EFs! :) Thought I was the only Greek travelling for the concert! Journey is my all time favorite band, I knew there was something going wrong with the sound, but couldn't put my finger on it..exactly...when the sound was too loud I thought maybe I'm just getting old, then I just thought something was "uneven" or not balanced right (if one can understand what I mean) but Foreginers music came out much more clear, then I thought maybe I'm just missing Steve...after the first few songs, I just said I travelled all this way to hear my all time favorite band sing my all time favorite songs..live..in an arena..something that I have been wanting since the Frontiers tour...and perhaps I should enjoy the show...I did, of course...and I'm happy I went, and liked the set list...I do like Arnel and believe he is a great addition to the band...and has bought them back into the limelight which I love...I also love the new songs as well...but it just seems like I had to struggle to hear him....towards the middle of the show, things seemed to get better...but I thought all these thoughts were just me....:) I see others were there thinking the same thing, which makes me feel better a bit....all in all, I'm still happy I went...

The Bilston Villan

Ian Harvey, you surprise me! That was sitting on the fence and you must have got splinters in your behind for that review! Never mind the 'was the sound ok, depending on where you sat' thing! Face facts mate, both Styx and Foreigner blew Journey away last night. It had nothing to do with sound quality. The fact Styx's set was taken from their first and best album The Grand Illusion said volumes as did Foreigners set from 4. Both bands wanted to impress and did! Journey concentrated on the Eclipse album and didn't.

The audience reaction said it all. Foreigner edged Styx just, but had Styx had the extra 15 minutes Foreigner had, who knows? Journey came on and had almost no reaction from the front. The fact was, so many people were already standing from 7.00pm when Styx came on and not many more stood when Journey came on.

I, like you, saw Styx at the Odeon in the 70's on the Grand Illusion tour and they were majestic. Foreigner, I saw at Donnigton from 200 yards and sounded great but I was too far away. Journey, was a present for the missus because of Don't Stop Believing! They were OK, but nothing more! Like a previous post said, the so-called lead guitarist swarmed all over all of the vocalists attempts to woo the crowd.

1. Styx 2. Foreigner Last. Journey

The Bilston Villan

Steve 12. You hit the nail on the head mate. In USA, Journey are a stadium/arena band. Here, they need to do the Wolves Civic, as do Foreigner and Styx! At the Civic, they would sell out and the accoustics would be perfect!

Jayne from Atherstone

Have to agree with the majority of the comments above. Styx were by far the best group of the night and I wish the running order had been switched. Foreigner were also great with their front man working the crowd well. I found it difficult to sit through Journey as all I could hear was the high pitched guitars and very little of the vocals. A young family sitting next to us had to sit with their hands over their childrens ears as it was hurting them. I wasnt familiar with many of their tracks and found myself clock watching for it all to end. Many people left during Journeys slot. Overall a brilliant night that would have been a lot better with just the first two groups.

Cheryl

I agree with virtually all the comments. We were at Wembley on Saturday 4th June and the sound was terrible there too.

Styx were by far my favourites of the evening, have seen them a couple of times now and they always put on a fantastic show...as it has been said their set was no where near long enough.

Foreigner came a very close second, really worked the crowd .....fantastic ! Brilliant lead singer.

But Journey !!! what a HUGE dissapointment. I was so excited to be seeing them again but what a let down. It's the first time i've seen them without Steve Perry and I'm sorry Arnel just doesn't cut it. He couldn't reach half the notes and he immediatley lost the crowd that Foreigner had primed for them. Loads of people started walking out (including us)

Journey has always been my favourite band and still is but only the old stuff. Steve Perry IS Journey and it obviously will never be the same without him.

choggydog

having been a fan of styx and foreigner for a long time it came as no surprise that they were both still in great form. both groups worked the crowd well and the sounds were fantastic,shame that styx didnt have video to enhance their set but hopefully they will look at coming back and touring again soon(maybe at slightly smaller venues)as they absolutly shone..the inclusion of ponnozo made the night even better.foreigners new frontman had a run round the crowd and all were amazed at his vocal power(dare i say that he was as good as the original frontman lou gramm)...their set had video coverage and this helped the atmosphere..

cant say that i had heard much of journeys catalogue with the exception of dont stop believin, but my opinion was that their music was too loud for the singers voice and maybe that would need to be looked at in the future.

saying that i did find the guitarist was very good, and the drummer was exceptional.

to finish off i must say that if STYX or FOREIGNER came within an hours drive of me again then i would definatley be looking at getting tickets..as for JOURNEY i would consider but they would have to work on getting their sound quality better..

Ian & Pam

we must agree with 99% of the reviews, we

came away from the show really disappointed with Journey's performance, having seen them twice at the Cardiff international arena twice in the last 5 years where they were superb, really had the crowd on their feet from start to finish, Sunday night the sound was awful, I dont think they chose the right songs on the night it seemed like a lot of people didnt know a lot of the songs, they were just there for dont stop believin & open arms.That said whatever they would have played would'nt have made any difference, as for the rest of the show it was brilliant, Styx really surprised me they boxed clever and played most of Grand Illusion and really pulled it off. We saw Foreigner about 4 years ago in cardiff with Kelly and they were brilliant, and Sunday night was no exception they were without doubt the best band on the night they chose the right songs that most people would have known (bit disappointed they didn't play anything off cant slow down released about 18 months ago which is a great album) but I think on the night Styx & Foreigner outshone Journey and will probaly get more benefit from the show, Journey's new album is a bit of a let down as well after the brilliant Revelation.

Steve Ridley

Well, just got back from Newcastle Arena and all I can say is Foreigner ROCKED! By and far the best band on the evening. Reminded me of the Vegas cd I have which I play often. They were superb!

Styx were good as well despite only recognising 2 of the songs. But they were enthusiastic and rocked out. There was an appearance from the original bass player which was a very nice touch.

On to Journey.. they were appalling, not sure what was wrong totally but they just failed to engage the audience, there was too many guitar solo's and there was tons of filler in overly long ends to the songs. Even Don't Stop failed to raise much more than a 10 second cheer and from then on the hall emptied rapidly. The place was half empty even before the encore.

The sound wasn't as good as the previous bands with sometimes the start to songs sounding like they were fading in.. very strange. The singer tried his heart out but bums were stuck to seats with arms folded.

They just didn't cut it.

Very disappointing indeed.

Martin K

Just got back from the Newcastle show and sound was again an issue for Journey, Thought Styx and Foreigner were excellent and did great sets. Journey kicked off eith a killer song in Seperate Ways but the sound was appalling - vocalist struggled to be heard as did Vallory. This carried on for 4 more songs til they appeared to get on top of it. We were in the second row right in front of Schon, and even he looked pissed off at one point. BUT the problem wasn't volume - I've been to many louder shows with excellent sound - it was the mix. Journey need to fire their sound guy and in my mind hire Def Leppard's - he seems to know how to do it. That said, I thought their choice of songs was strong, only the ommission of Who's Cryin' Now being a little curious. As for the extended solo's - so what? This is what makes live music so good. I saw the Cars in Boston in '87 and I may as well have stayed at home and listened to the record. Anyway - it's Schon's band and he can do what he likes!

rednwhite

Was at Newcastle last night and agree with the majority. Styx were superb and Foreigner were tremendous, they really rocked. But Journey! I've never really been a fan and I wanted to like them but they were just OK. They should have swapped with Styx and played the short first set.

Dave Evans

Just read all of the comments and i am not looking foward to tonights men arena gig.I have been a musician for the last 35 years and there is no need for stupid sound levels.

Distortion will make people walk out.(including me).One of the loudest bands i have seen is Motorhead and the sound was perfect.Just shows it can be done if you try.

Will let you know about tonights gig.

Paul

Felt it was worth commenting after watching this trio perform at Newcastle last night. I went to the gig for Journey. After 30 years of listening I would consider myself a hardened fan. The last time at the arena in 2008 was totally blown away. Arnel Pineda is a fantastic frontman with an amazing vocal range. Yes man sitting next to my wife. Steve Perry is no longer with the group. Get over it.

As for last nights gig Styx were fantastic although like most of the audience only familiar with a few of their songs which thankfully didn`t matter. Tommy Shaw was on fine form as was their keyboard player and other vocalist. The guitar tricks were entertaining and comedic as intended. Sound setup was very good.

Foreigner again were amazing. Kelly Hansen was on fine form stomping through the audience in the front rows and really energized the crowd. Urgent and Juke Box Hero were the highlights.

Journeys set has had a major overhaul since 2008 and with screens, lighting and lasers providing an excellent backdrop and cameras and two large screens focusing on the band the visuals were impressive. However, the sound quality I`m sad to say was astonishingly poor. I`m gobsmacked that this wasn`t corrected after the Birmingham gig. Arnel was struggling to be heard over the wall of noise which was far too loud and as a result sounded distorted. What on earth was the sound guy doing? The new album is great and Schons guitar work was amazing to watch but the rest of it. I`m baffled. Journey have missed an opportunity to capitalize on these gigs. The crowd need to hear the songs. I struggled to make out the intros to some of the songs and I`ve been listening to them for 30 years! Even the new songs which I happen to think have catchy melodies and riffs were lost in the noise.

Paul

By the way I was in block B not far from stage.

Karl

I wasn't there in Birmingham - I'm off to the MEN Arena in Manchester tonight. Interesting comments about the sound though, I saw Journey at the Apollo in Manchester about 3 or 4 years ago with Jeff Scott Soto on vocals. My overriding memory from that night is also how bad the sound was. The band were awesome, but the sound was the worst I'd ever heard in that venue and it's a pretty good place acoustically. As a sound engineer myself, I don't like to have a go at others, after all everyone's ears are different... and it might not even be the same guy on the board - strange coincidence though.

As for the business of Arnel having to work harder to make himself heard, well that doesn't apply to the out front mix as he won't be able to hear it from on stage, all he hears is the monitor mix from his own in-ear devices, for which each member of the band will have different settings.

Maybe I shall report back tomorrow!!!

Caboose1

New album is heavier, heavy music needs to be played loud. Get with the times embrace the the sound. Arnel could be heard perfectly with his voice its not hard. Appart from the earlier mentioned glitch the sound was fine, Styx's however... was not. Foreigner were BRILLIANT, Journey were MIND BLOWING and Styx, for me, were a let down.

John

Agree with all the comments about Journey's mix. It was all but unbearable at Newcastle yesterday - just emphasised the lack of variation and feel of Schon's playing. Just as big a problem for me was the stage design with more lights on the audience than the band. Sat stage left at the side of the arena I was blinded for most of the performance.