Neal Schon | Journey Through Time – Live Release Review


Given his pedigree, guitarist Neal Schon is surely a rock and roll force to be reckoned with. He joined Santana when he was a teenager. Later, he co-found Journey and did a couple albums with Bad English. Along with 10 solo albums, he’s lent his guitar work to the music of countless other artists. On the live Journey Through Time, the man proves his prowess and reiterates his place in rock’s history.

Schon and his makeshift band — former Santana and Journey vocalist and keyboardist Gregg Rolie, Journey drummer Deen Castronovo, bassist Marco Mendoza and keyboardist John Varn — came together for this 2018 benefit show to raise money for victims of the fires that had ravaged Northern California in October 2017.

Listening to this 30+ song set, one wonders how great it would have been to see Schon and this band take to the road. They play with a fervor and run through older, lesser-known Journey tunes. Stuff like the wailing “I’m Gonna Leave You” from Journey’s second album Look Into The Future.

Castronovo, who can manage vocals in the Steve Perry stratosphere, takes the lead  on Journey classics like “Still They Ride” and “Lights.” When he sings with Rolie, they nail the harmonies on “Feelin’ That Way” and “Anytime.” Every player on the stage makes this night special, allowing Schon to dip through Journey’s oeuvre as well as offer Santana’s “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va,” featuring Rolie on vocals.

The crowd erupts over what might be the deepest cut, the instrumental “Kohoutek,” a tour de force for Schon but also a great example of Journey at their most prog. Of course, we get the hits like “Separate Ways,” Any Way You Want It,” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Journey Through Time highlights just about every highlight in Neal Schon’s career, and definitely a fun trek across this iconic guitarist’s space and time.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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