Despite the tropical downpour that raged outside Stadium Malawati, it did little to dampen the spirits of the fans that flooded into the stadium that night. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees drew a crowd composed of music lovers that came together to revel in their dynamic, exuberant, and infectious performance style.

The show opened with an explosive rendition of “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” as the crowd whooped and cheered. Steve Smith’s pounding drum beats supported that recognizable lead riff led by Jonathan Cain on the keys. Together with Ross Valory’s bass notes, Neal Schon’s striking power chords, the song was brought to life with Arnel Pineda’s powerful vocal work.


Pineda’s strength as an emotional vocalist was brought to the forefront during “Only the Young,” a song with a striking story behind it. The band had brought an early recoding to a young fan fighting a battle against cystic fibrosis – the fan would later pass away. As Pineda crooned to the enraptured audience, they sang along, filling the stadium with the beautiful song of that loss.


Neal Schon took the audience all the way to Journey’s home city of San Francisco with the song “Lights.” He told of how he wrote it alongside past Journey frontman, Steve Perry, in the city. Schon also took this opportunity to welcome His Majesty, Duli Yang Amat Mulia Raja Di-Hilir Perak, Raja Iskandar Dzulkarnain Ibni Almarhum Sultan Idris A’fifullah Shah, to the show.



Throughout the concert, Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory, and Steve Smith all got the chance to perform guitar, piano, bass, and drum solos respectively, evoking thunderous applause from their fans. Johnathan Cain even took a turn on the guitar during the crowd favourite “Anyway You Want It” and “Chain Reaction.” While Journey is considered primarily as a band (and rightfully so), these solos proved, beyond a doubt, the virtuosic skill of each of the band’s individual members.

When Cain performed the piano solo leading into “Open Arms,” there was almost pindrop silence across the audience. Fans watched, absolutely captivated, as he tickled the keys, demonstrating a respectful mastery of his craft. The same can be said for Steve Smith who effortlessly performed a stunning drum solo between “La Do Da” and “Wheel in the Sky,” inviting screams of appreciation from the crowd.

The band was joined on stage for this tour by Travis Thibodaux, a New Orleans native who – along with Ross Valory – led “After the Fall,” a song with a strong driving force from the band’s Frontiers album. Thibodaux’s punchy vocals carried the song well, keeping the high energy set by Pineda going strong.

Journey closed their set with Don’t Stop Believin’, an inspiring power ballad that remains possibly their greatest song of all time. The unmistakable opening bars of the song, played by Cain, drew an eruptive response from the audience, a response that only grew louder as Pineda’s soaring vocals belted out the song flush with themes of hope and perseverance. A stunning explosion of confetti was fired into the air at the close of the song, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

The crowd weren’t ready to let the band go after that triumphant number and demanded them back with chants of “we want more” to an encore. The band obliged happily, performing a celebratory rendition of “La Raza Del Sol,” a latin inspired number, followed by “Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’’ a cheeky nod to Journey’s younger days. To the crowd’s delight, Pineda descended from the stage during the last moments of the song to greet fans personally.

Journey’s 44-year-reign as the masters of the stadium rock genre shows no signs of stopping, if the turnout of both the young and the old, the veteran and the novice, the 80s fanatics and the modern music lovers—was anything to go by. The message of their songs, those of love and strength in tough times, remain just as relevant decades after they were written, inviting fans to come together and sing anthems of hope.

Read also: JOURNEY LIVE IN MALAYSIA | Feb 11, 2017 at Stadium Malawati, Shah Alam